Being from New Orleans, you always have a connection to people. Friendships here go way back. I met four of my closest friends in the 4th grade. My husband’s three best friends went to kindergarten with him. We have “aunts and uncles” who aren’t blood relatives. Relationships run deep. Having been raised in a culture where the length of a relationship is taken seriously, how do I know when to cut off a friendship that just isn’t working out?
I have always made friends easily and have had different groups of friends. Sometimes they last 10 years; other times they fizzle out. Situations change. We may not work at the same company anymore. People move. With a husband that travels and raising two young boys, it is hard to see all of my friends all of the time. There is a good amount of effort that goes into seeing people … trying to touch base via text, the rare phone call that most probably will be interrupted by my 3 year old, scheduling play dates or dinners. With our family obligations and kids’ activities, it is hard to plan other things.
Now in my early 30s, I am having to really look at the friendships in my life and evaluate each one. My husbands and my kids need to get the most of me. In a good way, though, not complaining at all. My immediate family needs to get what is then leftover from them. Then my friends get what is leftover from my immediate family. I need my friends. However, I need friends that feed my soul. It has to be a reciprocal relationship.
How do you feed my soul? It has to be a two way street. If I am going to watch your kids, you need to watch mine too. We help each other out in a bind. If I am really happy or really sad, I need you to share in that with me. I need to be able to bounce ideas off my friends and get sound advice or criticism. At this stage in my life, I am too old for jealousy, competition, and cattiness. I need someone to vent to who I know won’t judge me. We need to laugh together and cry together. Some days when I am at my wit’s end, a funny story from a friend that makes me almost pee myself (thanks big babies) is the best.
I am lucky to have lots of friendships that feed my soul where I feed their soul too. I am still trying to accept that maybe some friendships need to be over. Maybe it is time to stop pushing and give up. If I am the only person that reaches out, then maybe I need to stop. If we are only doing things that the other person wants to do when we get together, maybe we need to stop getting together.
At some point, we have to realize it’s quality over quantity.