Friday, July 14, 2017

Friendship and Life Changes

As I've mentioned before, friendships are very important to your well-being.  They comfort you, laugh with you, defend you, and provide companionship.  

But what if you make a major change in your life?  Will they still be there?  Will they know how to handle the new you?

Some changes that could affect friendships are:

  • Weight loss:  Your friends may be jealous of your ability to lose weight.
  • Eating healthy:  You're new eating habits don't fit in with their beer and pizza mentality.
  • Stopping smoking/drinking/abusing drugs: Sometimes the only thing you have in common is a bad habit.  When that's gone, the friendship is gone too.
  • Values:  If you have been friends with people who steal, lie, cheat, are disrespectful to others, and change your ways, you may find out that they no longer want to hang out with you.  They aren't willing to change with you.
  • Political affiliation:  This has been a hot one in recent years.  Your friends don't understand how you could possibly buy into a party they feel no affinity towards.  You've been friends for years, but suddenly you are dirt.  The tension is too intense and they dump you.  Over politics.  Bye!
  • Job--financial status:  You may lose touch with friends from work who you no longer see on a regular basis.  You may not have anything but work in common with them, so you drift apart.  You also may lose friends if you suddenly find yourself in a lower or higher tax bracket.  They can't seem to relate to you anymore.
  • Marriage:  Your single friends may drift away after the hoopla of the wedding and reception.  You have new responsibilities and priorities that don't necessarily fit into their single lifestyle.
  • Having children:  When you start a family, your single friends, again, may not be keen on this new you.  You aren't the footloose and fancy-free friend you used to be, so they back away.
  • Sexual orientation:  When you "come out," some friends may totally freak out and abandon you.  The same can be true if you decide to go through gender reassignment surgery.    
  • Divorce:  Your friends may feel torn between you and your former spouse.  They care about both of you, but they feel like they are being forced to take sides.  It could become too much of a strain for them, so they walk away from the friendship.
  • A move:  Even though friends can keep in touch with you via Skype, phone, email, texting, and visits once you leave, for some it just isn't the same as day to day in-person contact.  You're each experiencing new things that you can't necessarily explain or share intimately from a great distance, so they eventually fade away. 
  • Illness:  Of course, your closest friends will most likely understand when you're sick. But others may get tired of waiting for you to feel well enough to go out shopping, hiking, to the theater or a favorite restaurant when you used to be ready and willing to go on the fly.  You're just no fun anymore.
  • Death:  Again, you're closest friends will generally stick by you after you've suffered a personal loss.  But others may not know how to respond or what to do, so they back away.
  • Betrayal:  If you betray a friend's trust, you have a good chance of losing her.  Without trust, everything else you had with that person is gone, done, over.

Friendship is a tricky thing.  Some friendships last decades while others only last a weekend.  The important thing is that you stay true to yourself.  Do what feels right in your gut.  Make the changes you need to make in order to live your best life, and your true friends will be right there beside you, supporting you every step of the way.  

Have you lost friends due to changes you have made in your life?  

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