Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Transient Friends

This month we're talking friends--the good, the bad, the irresistible. One of the hardest parts of friendships, for me, is that not all are equal. Some will naturally fade even though I genuinely like the friend and vice-versa. In each phase of my life, I've been blessed with some wonderful transient friends.

It starts, well, how any friendship starts. Maybe we work at the same company, or our kids start playing together on the playground, or we sit next to each other at book club. We quickly hit it off and begin to spend time together. We might meet on our lunch break, or plan a playdate for the kids, or head to a coffee shop to talk about books.

Soon, we're sharing daily minutae, and everything's great.

But...she gets transferred. The kids no longer want to play together. The book club dissolves. Suddenly, it's more difficult to get together. We still call once in a while, but we have less to say. Then we're swapping Christmas cards once a year and that's that.

I used to feel guilty that I couldn't make every friendship last, but I was missing the point. We will always have people entering and exiting our lives. We change. They change. But we can hold on to our memories of a sweet interlude together.

If I happen to answer the phone one day and it's my old pal from book club, I settle into my most comfy chair, get a huge smile on my face, and pick up where we left off.

Have you had transient friends? Does it bother you when a friendship naturally fades?

Join me on Friday when we talk about problem friendships.


  1. This is a quote I've calligraphed a time or two: “Some people come into our lives and quickly go. Some stay for awhile and leave footprints on our hearts. And we are never, ever the same.”

  2. Good morning!

    CJ: I love that quote. I'm writing it down. The message speaks to me--no matter how long a friendship lasts, it makes a difference in our lives. Thank you for sharing it.

    Thanks so much for stopping by!

  3. I guess I don't have the time to keep every friendship going so I am able to let those ones go easier. My BFF's aren't going anywhere. :O)

  4. It used to bother me more than it does now. I've learned to accept it. We've moved around so much so I've learned all about friends for a season.

    But it does make me sad sometimes.

    I also need to do a better job of not spreading myself so thin to my local friends.
    ~ Wendy

  5. Diane: It's amazing how time changes us. The seasonal friendships fade easier, while the main friendships grow stronger.

    Wendy: Same here. Moving forces many changes, and leaving good friends behind is one of them.

    Thanks so much for stopping by!

  6. I still best friends with my best friend from high school, but the friendship morphed over the years. We're lucky if we get together once every few months for coffee and before, we used to talk everyday. I'm just thankful we're still friends.
    There are such things as bridge people, who are there at a certain time in your life and then when circumstances change, so does the friendship

  7. I used to live in the same area with so many close friends. Then I moved and life changed. I think we need the common threads to keep us together but like you, if an old friend called me up, I'd be so happy to see them and catch up!

  8. It did used to bother me that some friendships fade out.

    I had someone tell me once that there are three types of friendships:

    1. those that are lifelong and will never fade

    2. those that are for a time, but due to circumstances, distance, divergence of common interests fade out over time

    3. those friendships that are formed because the people have a need of each other for a time...committee members, project volunteers, etc.

    Sadly, it didn't occur to me until later that what I thought fell under category number 1 with this lady was to her a category 3. She was using me hoping to forward her writing career, and when she decided that I couldn't help her get where she wanted to go, she dropped me like a hot rock.

    :( hurt for awhile, but it was sure a good lesson for me.

  9. A few of my really close friends moved away recently and it was hard. Being a stay-at-home mom with younger kiddos also made it harder to meet people (unless, like you said, I met them at the park or something). But after awhile I learned to really appreciate those long-distance friendships and embrace the idea of new friends, which came with new opportunities and new kinds of support.

  10. How weird! I was just thinking about this this morning. Yes, I've had transient friends and it does make me sad because I know those friendships, in the right circumstances, could be amazing.
    But its the circumstance which seem to make the friendship transient, and there's not much we can do about that.

    It's hard to find a lifelong friend.

    Erica's story is sad. I hope I never meet up with someone like that. *shudder*

  11. Hi Jill, I used to do a lot of seasonal work where I'd meet amazing people. We'd work hard together on projects that mattered to us like teaching kids about the environment, then we'd go our separate ways. Some people I'd stay in touch with and some I wouldn't but they were all special people who enriched my life and changed me.

  12. I've had some fading friendships and I've regretted not putting more effort into it. But I do have one friend in particular who, though we may not talk for months, when we DO talk, it's as though no time has passed. :-)

  13. I definitely have transient friends:) But I am so thankful that even when we are away from one another we are still thinking and praying for each other.

  14. I was going to say what Erica said, but she said it so well, already. :)

    I recently had a friend drop back into my life after a 10 year abscence. She was a type one friend. My best friend, my maid of honor, my daughter's God Mother and then something terrible happened. I mourned the loss of her probably for the whole ten years that she was "gone." Three weeks ago, she started emailing me on facebook. It will take a while to get back to a level one, if that trust can ever redevelop. I am so glad that (with caution) she is back in my life...

    Thanks for letting me spill my guts, Jill....I needed to say this outloud.

  15. I'm not very good at keeping in touch. I have a lot of old friends where we don't talk a whole lot, but when we do, it's just like you said at the end of your post. Like nothing's changed.

  16. Oh, yes, I have friends that have come and gone. Like you said, though, when I do hear from them, we can usually pick up right where we left off.

  17. Em: My thoughts exactly!

    Terri: We've moved many times so I know what you mean. The upside is that I get to make new friends wherever I go.

    Erica: How awful. It's so painful when we lose a friendship or realize we've been betrayed. I've been devastated by having that same expectation--I thought we were level one, but I was wrong. I can only speak for myself, but hurts like that take a long, long time to recover from. My heart goes out to you.

    Cindy: It's not always easy to make new friends when we move. I understand.

    Jessica: You're right. It is hard to make a lifelong friend. *sigh*

    Paul: Yes, I hear you. It's wonderful to get plucked into a group of people and get to know them. What a blessing!

    Melissa: It's hard! It's just hard to keep up with every person we become friends with!

    Tamika: Oh yes! It's not like in grade school where if you don't talk at recess, your friendship is questioned. Thank goodness for maturity!

    Sharon: Unfortunately, I can relate to this too. In my case, I was the one who "dropped out." It's a tough one. I'm so glad you two could reconnect. I hope it all works out.

    Katie: Busy, busy life--I get it. It's hard to put dinner on the table, let alone make time for friends.

    Susan: Don't you love that? I have several friends like that--precious!

    Thanks so much for stopping by!

  18. I was just thinking of this very thing! It's happened to me SO many times. It feels disappointing. But I am grateful for the new people the Lord keeps bringing in. I like the way He provides. =)

  19. Hi Jill -

    Friends connected to work or school seem to fade more than friends with deeper personal relationships.

    When I moved to another state, my best friend and I made it our business to keep in touch via phone and email. We see each other at least 3-4 times per year.

    Susan :)

  20. I have a few friends that I do not see for months, even years, but consider them still close friends. Life right now may not allow us to see each other often but as time passes, kids get older, even retirement hits, I see us seeing each other much more often. We keep our friendship fed with words and thoughts for each other, enough nutrients to keep it alive!

  21. T.Anne: I know. It's hard not to miss the good times I've had with each friend, but you're right. The Lord provides.

    Susan JR: You made me smile. I'm so glad you've been able to continue your closest friendships.

    Lynn: Even small gestures cultivate our friendships. Great reminder.

    Thanks so much for stopping by!

  22. I was reading a memoir where was trying frank honesty. Him and his wife bumped into an old collage friend and at the end of the conversation she said they should get together. And he said that he didn't think so because he was already finding it hard to nuture the friendships he already had. Quite funny, but sometimes true.

  23. Good post, Jill! Like you, I'm thankful for the friends God puts in my path for that season of life. Sometimes I let go of a friendship too quickly though. Some friendships are worth making the extra effort to maintain that bond. Definitely agree that even when time and distance cause friendships to drift, I can always pick up the phone and pick up right where we left off! Ah, the beauty of friendship! God bless!

  24. I've struggled with this many times, but I'm beginning to realize that all my friendships are a gift. Some I rely every day and others I put away on a shelf and they get dusted off only every once and awhile:)

  25. I'm saddest when I remember friends from college that I've lost touch with. But I know if we were to run into each other or talk, we would catch up like no time had passed.

    Facebook has made this a little easier.

  26. Yes, there are friends that are in my life for a short while, and friends that stay close, and friends that seem to come closer, and fade, and then come closer again. It bothers me sometimes, but I know that God has good plans for all of us, and hopefully we'll have all of eternity to hang out with each other.

  27. Patti: Funny story, and isn't it true? :)

    Maria: You bring up a good point about letting go too early. It's hard to always do the right thing.

    Kara: I like the way you put that--dust them off!

    Heather: I have many funny memories of friends from those days, and we've been able to connect on Facebook. What a blessing!

    Tyrean: This sounds familiar--I've had similar experiences. God does have plans for us all. :)

    Thanks so much for stopping by!

  28. I read your post a few days ago and I've thought about it since. I have many friends who have moved on for one reason or another - or I moved on. We just don't have much in common anymore, and it's very sad. I suffer from a lot of mixed emotions because of it. Some of these friendships I feel like they need to be resolved, somehow, but I'm not quite sure how to go about it.


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