“ABOUT FRIENDSHIP: Through Time, Changes, and Social Media”

When was the last time you really spent some quality time with your old friends?
 
We all know that through time, changes, and social media, some friendships stay the same while others change – either for the better or worse. These things happen and are unavoidable. My mother calls them parts of ‘a natural selection’.
 
I don’t need to mention the difference between friendships in our teens, 20s, 30s, and so forth. I haven’t even gone to the eras yet and don’t even need to.
 
Whether we like it or not, social media is a part of our lives nowadays. You can choose to have an account or more, or even none at all. But thanks to internet and social media, we get to be friends with many people – not only around us. We get to know strangers abroad – or at least we “think we do”. The possibility is endless.
 
In fact, we all can create our alter-ego(s) and make them “come to life”, although digitally. We can be whomever we want to, fabricating our lives as interesting as possible. Be social engineers.
 
In other words, lie to please ourselves (although temporary) and impress others.
 
Taken for Granted or Just Overly-Dramatic?
 
“You have no time for me/us anymore.”
 
Not just from a family member feeling neglected or a partner, you get to hear this from friends too.
 
You may feel that…oh, yes. They’re right. You’ve been so busy that you forget to spend some quality time with them. However, what’s with that brash accusation? If they really want to catch up, why don’t they initiate the idea first?
 
Why are they too proud to let you know that they actually miss you? The right, more direct approach will get a more positive response too.
 
Some friends are also not into that kind of drama. The older we get, the more we need to minimise conflict. No, that doesn’t mean we’re afraid. We just feel that our energy is better spent on something much more constructive. It’s much healthier that way.
 
Sure, we do miss our friends so much, but let’s face reality. They have their own lives and so do we. We meet whenever we can, especially if spare time is rare. 
 
Forget the meme that says, “If you’re really that important to them, they’ll make time for you.” Why do you need to make people feel guilty that way? 
 
There are other priorities and it’s not always personal. If you’re mature and confident enough, then it shouldn’t be.
 
You may get all worked-up and snarky by bringing up “quality over quantity” in friendship, but what’s the point? There’s nothing wrong in wanting to make more new friends, no matter how old we are. It’s human nature. We always strive to learn something new.
 
So, what makes a friendship last these days, through time, changes, and – yep – social media?
 
1. Reach out first.
 
Perhaps more people would like to spend time with you if you don’t always insist on other to “put you first”. Instead of accusing them of “not wanting to hang out anymore”, why not greet them first? It’s even just a click or a phone call away. Tell them you miss them and want to catch up. It’s that simple.
 
2. Don’t take it personally if they’re often unavailable.
 
Time flies. Perhaps you’re still single and they’re not. Different priorities, different topics to talk about. You can’t expect them to be just like they were before.
 
If they often have to cancel their plans with you, don’t take it personally. Either it’s their sick child, family issues, work schedule, or them being busy at the moment, deal with it. There’s no point in getting all worked-up for nothing.
 
3. Assume nothing from their social media posts.
 
“Oh, you have time for them but never for me.”
 
Okay, so you see their photos abroad with other people, possibly a group of their new squad of friends. Perhaps there’s a familiar face or two that you recognise and…um, are not that fond of. Rivals from school or work?
 
Feeling betrayed? Please, stop treating your life like an endless soap opera. They get to be friends with anyone they want, just like you too.
 
I met one of my old college buddies on Monday night for a coffee and dinner. After almost over a decade of not staying in touch, we reconnected that night. The most comforting question he asked me was:
 
“So, tell me about your life. How have you been?”
 
R.

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