Take a look at your current circle of friends. There’s a good chance that a year from now, maybe two, the complexion of your circle of friends will be different. People whom you shared intimate secrets with one day drift (or storm) out of your life. People fight. Misunderstandings occur. Trust is betrayed. People move, switch social circles, life, circumstances, what have you – you wake up one day and realize that some folks aren’t as close to you or aren’t as much a part of your world as they used to be. There is a natural ebb and flow to relationships.

Friends flounce.

Many times it’s not intentional. Life is a constant series of re-prioritizing. Friendships take time, an investment of energy and emotional resources. There is no such thing as instant intimacy. It’s relatively easy to make and maintain relationships when you’re young and single – time is your ally. As you get older, time seems to disappear on you and life speeds up and shortens. Friends get married. Friends have kids. Cocooning becomes a lifestyle choice. Life becomes a precarious balancing act: spending time to get to know the person you’re dating vs. spending time with your friends; spending quality time with your spouse vs. keeping up with your friends; finding time to spend with your kids (especially as more keep popping up), much less your spouse, vs. finding time to hang out with your friends.

My wife and I work(ed) a lot with the singles in our church and we knew the singles’ lament of their friends dating or marrying and then dropping off the face of the Earth. So when my wife and I were talking about getting married, we made a pact to always carve out time for our friends. What happened? Some single friends pre-emptively dropped us anyway. They figured it was only a matter of time til the relationship shoe fell. It took a long time to convince folks that we weren’t going any where.

Hang out time is important. I’d drive my wife nuts if I was the only person she hung out with. I’m pestful. Outside relationships, outside interests, are healthy and keep us sane. I can’t meet all of her needs, social or otherwise. They act as release valves on our relationship and we value community.

Luckily, friendships renew themselves. Old friends become new again, either recognizing the need for balance in their lives or circumstances having freed up their time. New people drift into your life, as you travel in different social circles and if you are open to making new friends. So look around. Cherish the friends in your life right now. Call up the ones you haven’t seen in a minute.

They may not be there tomorrow.

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I don’t have time to always check the comments all the places where this rant is posted. If you want to make sure that I see it or just want to stop by and say hi, do so on my message board. I apologize in advance for some of my regulars.