Thursday, March 14, 2013

Real Talk With Rachel: Teaching Old Friends New Tricks

by Rachel Kurzius

Dear Rachel,

We have close friends that are slipping away from us.  We were very close when we were next door neighbors and were bringing our kids up.  We had loads of fun together.

However, we now live several miles away and we see them less and less frequently.  We feel like they are getting more and more quirky and will only get together with us on their terms.

I am not convinced that they see it this way.  How can we bridge this gap and feel like we still have a meaningful friendship?

Keep the Old

Dear Keep the Old,

“A meaningful friendship.” What a loaded phrase. I have no idea what a meaningful friendship means to you, Keeping the Old. Is it a meaningful friendship if you always drive the several miles to their house? What about if they always cancel on you at the last minute or otherwise inconvenience you? It depends entirely upon you and your expectations. My go-to question is “Does it bring you up more than it brings you down?”

There are ups and downs in friendships. When you trust and care about people, things are liable to get messy. Kind of makes it miraculous that we have friends at all -- people who who bring out new parts of you, and with whom you weather the strange and hilarious.

But sometimes friendship stops feeling like that. Good memories are great, they’re not an obligation to keep trying to create more when there’s no longer a spark. The toughest part is knowing when a friendship starts bringing you down more than up. And that’s something you’ll just know in the pit of your stomach.

It doesn’t have to be a permanent choice you make. You can call them one day or not another, just as they can say yes or no as they please. Don’t take it personally if they say no. Some people are homebodies more than others.

And you’ll never see them as much as you did when you were neighbors. Convenience matters in terms of seeing friends with frequency. Several miles away means you can’t just pop by anymore (or you could, technically, but it wouldn’t really be “popping by”).

Relationships change as we change. And we’re always changing. Try and find places to meet with these friends, on both of your terms. If you find that there’s no way to satisfy both of your terms, then perhaps you have the answer -- this friendship is bringing you down more than it’s bringing you up.

All my best,

Rachel Kurzius revels in giving advice, and has provided counsel both as a columnist and a friend. She lives in Washington DC, where she works as a news producer. Real Talk with Rachel is published on All Life is Local and the Cleveland Park Listserv,, on Wednesdays. Need advice? You can write to Rachel via or advice @

No comments:

Post a Comment