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The ties that bond
August 27, 2012 - Carrie Olson
Relationships are hard. Maintaining them is even harder. I can go on my Facebook and say “423 friends,” wow, I have a lot. But that’s not completely true. Although we are technically in a relationship of some sort, only a small fraction are those that I keep in constant contact with. That includes my family and some of the friends I have met at various stages. Within that percentage, a circle exists of people who know accurate information that pertains to my life. It gets ever smaller, as the knowledge grows deeper. Finally, there exists a handful — my immediate family, my significant other and a few very close friends. A club, if you will, that really know me.
Moving to a different part of the country hasn’t been easy. When I lived within walking distance of these people, it was easy to keep them in the loop on my ongoings and vice versa. Now, it’s a constant effort through Skype and other modes of communication to keep that up. We might miss out on small items throughout the day that are discussed in person, but otherwise, it has worked well. And while I’m not worried about falling out of touch with those I care deeply about, I know that some relationships will be sidelined and grow distant. It’s a fact of life. They are too busy, I am too busy, and right now, it won’t work. It’s sad. Perhaps someday in the future, if we are in the same place, it could be different. And while I watch those bonds wax and wane, others will grow.
What I find fascinating are the friendships and bonds that have gone through periods of silence, sometimes long, and still manage to survive.
That is what I have come to recently realize. I went out to dinner with a couple of friends this weekend, and while I haven’t seen or talked to them in months, nothing had changed. Well our lives had changed — new jobs, relationships or residences. But that candor, the ability to share with one another and our humor had not. There was no downtime, as we excitedly talked about events we could attend together, and the future in general. I came back from that experience enlivened by these rekindled friendships. Many times, after such downtime, it is hard to get back in the groove of things. Too much time has passed, interests are not the same and you are just at different stages in life. It becomes awkward and apparent, to at least one, that this is just not going to work again.
Sometimes though, you get lucky. Like with these friends, I know that the time passed hasn’t changed the way we feel about one another.
Being away from my everyday life in Iowa, I have also realized relationships that I neglected and have desperately needed. One of my best friends lives far away, and farther still since my move. And we have begun to share parts of our lives with one another again, and I am ever so glad.
This transition hasn’t been easy, but it has helped me realize what is most important in my life: Relationships, real ones. Not just Facebook friends or people that I casually know, but having a group of people that I can count on. It’s nice to know they can count on me, too.
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