Today I received a response to a comment I made to a new blog I am reading. The writer emailed me and told me how she lost a friend because of some articles she wrote on her blog. It reminded me, and I responded back to her, about the friends I have let go over the years.
Friendships are as susceptible to death as humans. Because they happen for a variety of reasons, they can die away once the need disappears. When the shared situation is no longer shared, there is a chance the friendship dies.
I am fortunate. I have lived all over the country and have many wonderful people in my live, and most of my friends have stuck around for years, 25, 20, 15, 10 years and surprisingly, some of the ones I treasure and value the most are not the ones I am in the closest contact.
I always call my girl friend Ronda my oldest friend. Ronda worked for me briefly twenty-two years ago and once she was leaving my employment we got close and we have remained close in our own way although we haven't lived in the same part of the country for twenty-one of those years. We haven't seen each other in three years and don't often talk on the phone anymore - the advent of the internet helps us communicate and we remain connected.
Fettit recently tried to correct me when I referred to Ronda as my oldest friend, perhaps feeling slighted. He told me he was my oldest friend and in the strictest sense he is right. I just don't look at him as a friend.
Fettit and I have lived together off-and-on for close to 25 years. It may sound strange but after having been in an intimate relationship with him for five years and everything we've done, together and separate the subsequent 20, its hard to call him a friend.
Our lives today are not much different that they were 25 years ago. In 1984 we stayed home on the weekends taking care of the twins. Today we do the same thing with my (our) granddaughter. We have spent over half our lives sharing the same multi-leveled, intimate experiences - we are more than friends.
When I left Kalamazoo and moved to Phoenix in 1987 I left some friends. A couple of those friends followed us to Arizona within a year and we remained close for many years, sharing holiday dinners and a couple tragic losses. Ten years later I realized that the life support sustaining the friendship was one sided and when I relocated to California I flipped the switch and let the friendship fade.
I have never second guessed my decision and ironically one of these former friends lives a few houses away. We pass each other on the street and are pleasant. I remember the good times but feel no need to pick up where we left off.
When a friendship has run it's course it's fine to let it die. As we grow, our relationships either grow with us or need to be reconsidered. Call it relationship spring cleaning.