Keeping Up with Significant Friendships - Any Tips

I struggle a lot with keeping up with my friends. The problem is, I feel like every friend I have matters. Even former friends but I'll leave that for another post.

I'd say I connect with 1 of my friends quite regularly. We we're in political activism together, and we're both into audio. But the other four, I struggle with. Two are a long-term friends from high school, one is a childhood friend, and the other is from my church community. I just had a nice chat with the one from my church community. And I'm going to talk to one of my the long-term high school friends on Monday.

How do you all keep up with friendships in your lives. I miss when I was a kid. Back then I could just call up any of my friends after-school and they'd answer and we could talk for hours. These friendships from high school/childhood now feel so different now that we're all adults.
 
All friendships are different. I have a couple long time friends and we have gone more than a year between talks at times and we pick up right where we left off. Thats why sometimes we are on the phone a couple hours. One lives quite far away so cant see her often either. They are both in my heart. The one that is local, we try to get together with a group every couple of months, but sometimes one of us cant make it. With both of these friends, we have different political views and avoid that topic out of respect. Now and then it comes up, but is always respectful. These days politics have been hot topic.

I have another friend that I connect with and we go to lunch every week or two and do some shopping or errands together. I try hard to maintain this because it is good for me to get out and socialize a little as well as pick needed stuff up. Other friends I really care about, we just dont connect regularly. Its really not a problem. I am comfortable calling them anytime, I just dont. I guess its where I am in life....but all is good with this. I think as we get older, we dont spend as much time with friends and if it feels ok, then it is ok.
 
I moved every 6mo-2year as a kid.

An extremely small handful of those dozens/hundreds of friends do I still keep in contact with.

As an adult? I moved as often as every few weeks, and would “disappear” for years at a time. A rather LARGE handful of those hundreds/thousands of people do I still keep in contact with. Or not. For years at a time.

For ME?
- Having someone “in my life” means I live/work with them.
- Keeping Up With? Simply means that after 2 weeks or 20 years. I can -or they can- drop in or ring me up.

Connection. It means different things, to different people.
 
I get what both of you are saying. I guess I have a high need for connection due to medical trauma as an infant. I feel like I could open up about that to one of my high school friends. Although the thought still feels scary. It's less to do with him, and more to do with the fact that the trauma still feels really tender.

I feel this friend and I have grown apart. Because I'm autistic, I haven't asked him how he feels about our friendship. Apart from my autism, I'm scared to ask. What if he asks why I'm asking. I know all I have to say is I feel we've grown apart. Ever since he's moved away I feel this whole in my life. We were amazing friends in high school. We're both musicians, and computer nerds. We both feel passionately about education. Although this tends to bring up areas of disagreement. I'm a youth liberation he's not. So I just avoid the topic with him. At most we talk once a month.
 
I get what both of you are saying. I guess I have a high need for connection due to medical trauma as an infant. I feel like I could open up about that to one of my high school friends. Although the thought still feels scary. It's less to do with him, and more to do with the fact that the trauma still feels really tender.

I feel this friend and I have grown apart. Because I'm autistic, I haven't asked him how he feels about our friendship. Apart from my autism, I'm scared to ask. What if he asks why I'm asking. I know all I have to say is I feel we've grown apart. Ever since he's moved away I feel this whole in my life. We were amazing friends in high school. We're both musicians, and computer nerds. We both feel passionately about education. Although this tends to bring up areas of disagreement. I'm a youth liberation he's not. So I just avoid the topic with him. At most we talk once a month.
Cha.

((I’m about to do the ADHD talking to HFA thing (Where “that’s just what happens” thing neurotypical people do doesn’t parse, and one needs to understand HOW & WHAT & WHO & EXCEPTIONS & PATTERNS …IE the basic framework of expectations in play… in order to kinda-sorta interact WITH that framework). If you already know all the lifespan psych cohort groups in transition patterning & what that looks like? Just skip & scroll to the bold! 😎))

There are these major milestones/watersheds in “normal” adult lives (that most people swear they’ll never do, and then find out why “everyone” does them when they get there, and end up doing what “everyone” does).

“Normal” is in quotes, because there’s no such thing.

“Everyone” is in quotes, because it’s arguably not even the majority of people, just the most visible segment of society…. BUT …is still being used, because even in outlier populations & subcultures, major life transitions = losing most or all of the friends one had before that transition, more often than not.

“Every generality is wrong!” 😉 steaming ahead? 🚂 🚢 These are the most common lifespan transitions (in the west) where most people lose most or all of the friends they had during the previous chapter(s) of their lives.

- High school &/or Childhood friends
- University (all the friends you have -or lose- by going to uni)
- Graduation &/or Work (all the friends you have -or lose- by choosing a field to be employed by & everything that goes along with it, including homemakers)
- Single (all the friends -both single & married- before YOU get married)
- Married (all the friends you have -or lose- when you marry)
- Parent (all the friends you have -or lose- after having kids)
- Retirement (all the friends you have -or lose- after you retire)
- Assisted Living (all the friends you have -or lose- when you join a community (step away from the life you lived outside of that community) in order remain as independent as possible.

^^^ These are the major life stages (in the west) that “most” people go through. Clearly, there will be wide swaths of people who don’t go to university, or who enlist in the military, or who spend years in/out of hospital with major illness, or join/leave a community (church/circus/career) etc. that “skip” or “add” a stage/cohort group; as well as people who do things in different orders

AKA YOU ARE NOT WRONG that your high school friendships are -at best- changing, as your lives go in different directions… or, more probably… ending, in the gradual way that people who truly do like/love/respect each other try and hold onto each other amidst lives changing.

The only way I know of to keep friends post-transition, aside from dumb-luck (which does happen)… is to NOT try and keep the friendship as it was (which results in a gradual distancing of daily to weekly, weekly to monthly, monthly to a few times a year, until it’s EITHER just Xmas cards or social media likes OR fond memories of someone you used to be friends with?

CHANGE the friendship.

Trying to keep things as they were (like calling and talking for hours) results in a slow death.

CHANGING, like meeting up at a conference, or joining a committee, or becoming members of a board or club, starting a foundation or business, going on an annual habitat for humanity or other multi-week trip, taking up the same sport & meeting for competitions/regattas/exhibitions, following a particular artist/band/symphony/whatever & going together when they’re in town… pretty much ANYTHING… that both of you do as adults, singly, that brings you together under “new” auspices. So you’ll both be getting together in person AND have “reason” to be communicating in the interim about the “thing”, on both a necessary & JFF basis.
 
He would probably responded with understanding. I've even told him about some really taboo stuff that I was experiencing at one time in my life, and he was empathetic and didn't jump to any conclusions. So part of me is like "Why am I so scared to tell him I simply miss him. For all I know, he may miss me as well. I think it's because whenever I was vulnerable with dad I got yelled or would have my feelings dismissed. So there's this old program running in my nervous system. It's outdated and needs to be thrown out. It's totally irrelevant to my friendships.
 
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