There once was a time when friendships had the space to grow apart then close again as the river of life flowed and ebbed. Those days are gone. Well, I hope they haven’t vanished altogether but there is an insidious presence that is like a virtual skin overlaid on our interactions that causes us to feel closer and more entitled than we perhaps are.
Of course I am referring to social media. In all of it’s wonderful expressions, the soapboxes it gives us access to, the humanitarian causes it deposits right in our hearts, the news and nonsense it barrages us with daily. Among the noise we observe each others lives.
We feel intimately close at the birth of your child, we celebrate your birthday from afar, we experience the highs and the lows, the rages and the celebrations. Without any interaction required. Then we forget that we need to reach out…
We may feel so close to someone that we feel hurt and confused because we weren’t invited to a celebration; we may be offended by how passionately, violently, extremely someone expressed their views; we may even just have seen enough of the copious amounts of any particular thing someone is sharing… and we can delete them. The future present moments that might have been shared, sacrificed for a moment of self righteousness misplaced.
It is a savage and brutal state of play that we find ourselves in when we can literally check out of someones life when we have had enough. Once upon a time, we could drift in and out as life or patience and tolerance allowed knowing that the friendship itself would remain in tact. Part of the joy then was to catch up on all that life had brought during a long intermission.
Now however, it seems like those pauses are suitable only for the special few. The special few who remember what friendships were like. What life is like. Those who can appreciate that there is in fact distance despite the seemingly constant but artificial connection. Those who care enough to be open to the meeting that will inevitably come down that track. Those who might even pick up the phone and say “hey, it’s been a while, what’s news?”. Through it all appreciating that you will reunite with joy and be grateful to have much to share.
When it is us who are cast aside we’ll notice, we’ll wonder and we may even feel sad for a time. But then the world will pull us forward, on to the next pressing thing and sadly, that exit will pass by without fanfare. Life is busy and the people in it are precious. Don’t be too quick to slam the door. Perhaps get to know the “hide” button before jumping on “unfriend”.
“The best rule of friendship is to keep your heart a little softer than your head.” ~Author Unknown