Why do we change friends?

ghost ranch 2011 036 Ghost Ranch

Why do we change friends? Because you’re not that person any more. My son always has a lot of friends everywhere he goes and my daughter had good friends in high school, again at UCSB and then in San Francisco, she has a lot of good friends. I did too at her age, and I certainly have friends now but my qualifications for friendship have changed.

First of all, if you live in a big city without any decent public transportation, you have to be very deliberate in making plans to meet your friends. They don’t just turn up on your doorstep. You have to make plans, often months in advance. I have three friends who I manage to see on a monthly basis, but this requires careful planning.

Most of us have personal friends who are people we simply like to hang out with, people who gladden our lives. In my case, many of these people are friends who know our family, know our kids, and who we can simply relax with, your core people. People who are in the inner circle.

But we have some friends with Red Hen too, friends who we discuss the press with, and who give us ideas on an ongoing basis for sustaining it. Friends who care about Red Hen mean a lot to us.

The thing with changing friendships isn’t at all what you think when you’re younger. I thought then that I would be friends with people who then turned out to be bad guys or at least not great people. That isn’t the case. What happens is that you change your priorities. I like people who are generous because I think generosity and kindness are wonderful traits. I like people who want to make the world a better place.

I find people whose biggest priority is going out to eat not sustaining enough for a lifelong friendship, but that doesn’t make me bad, it just means I’ve changed from being a social animal to being a creative person with a few good friends.

The fact is that we change our minds. There was a time when I was more interested in restaurants, clothing, fashion, shoes. Now, I can only rouse myself to become vaguely interested in these things.

When I find a friendship slipping away, I always feel a sense of guilt. Friendships ebb and flow. It’s okay to let them go. It’s okay to say we have gone in different directions here. It’s okay to let go.

I used to be okay with friends who wanted stuff from me or who mostly wanted to be entertained. Now that doesn’t hold a lot much weight.

Lifelong friendships matter. Love matters. Keeping your head above water matters. It’s important to remember who you absolutely love and who helps you keep your head above water. That’s what I ask myself.

I am leaving for New Mexico on Monday, flying with Red Hen authors Kim Dower and Nicelle Davis who is also a dear friend. She helps makes the Red Hen wheels turn. She helps me keep my head above water.

Published in: on August 9, 2013 at 8:24 pm  Comments (1)  

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  1. This topic is a good one for us to consider. As we know, change is a natural part of life. We don’t notice the subtle shifts in our personal growth because we are busy living and moving forward. When I think about friendship I’m always a little mystified about the “glue.” What is it that makes some friendships last for years and others last a short time? Could it be that some friendships fulfill the need of both people for a short time and that the drift is an indicator that those needs were satisfied and one or both learned or simply moved in another direction? Or did the force of change move them? When I explore this idea I come up with several things. I will be attending AWP in WA this coming Feb. and I plan to see a friend that I’ve known since grade K who lives near Seattle. She’s the only friend that I am in contact with from that period of my life. Linda and I were close through our schools years until she moved away just before high school. There have been gaps of years when we weren’t in touch but the fact remains, we never lost touch. And now with the Internet it is easier for us to be a part of each others lives. She is the same person I knew when we were children, just as fun and her laugh is charming. I honor the path she took being a homemaker, homeschooling several of her grandchildren and creating a close family for herself in contrast to the torn one of her own childhood. When we are together we share secrets that we never told when we were kids. Though Linda and I have had very different lives, we are compassionate and appreciate the characteristics of strength and survival that we share. We knew each others parents, and it’s fun to compare memories. She feels like extended family. Then there are more recent friends. They have helped me through difficult times or I have helped them. That’s glue! The friends that I spend the most time with are those who share the same interests: Poetry and the Arts. I don’t need to fill my life with a crowd of people and things. I feel the need to scale down and live with less stuff. I don’t need constant entertainment, and too much talk and noise scrambles my brain. I’m attached to people who are centered, peaceful and enjoy life. They are creative,involved, and happy and don’t feel the need to complain about things. They are focused and experimental. They love to read. The Zen of things attracts me but I don’t subscribe to any one religious or spiritual practice. Since last summer I’ve been exploring the simple, yet complex study and writing of haiku. I enjoyable the gentility and intelligence of my new haiku friends. I look forward to more travel and meeting friends of all ages for the rest of my life. And now I’ll share my theory: Each new experience makes a slight shift in a creative person and that informs their art. And travel makes larger shifts. When I travel I come home feeling like I am a fuller person than when I left.

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