Picture this: It’s 2001 and I’m in my first year of High School. My friends and I are always on the phone with each other because texting was still too expensive. When we weren’t on the phone, we were talking online. When we weren’t doing either, it was probably because we were together. My friends and I were always in contact one way or another. We’d take buses and trains to no where. We’d walk around the mall aimlessly. We’d talk on the phone or online for hours about things I can’t even remember now. And I thought that’s how my friendships would always be.
They were always available and I was always there–just a call or message away. If your BFF called you at 2AM because her boyfriend was being a jerk, you picked up. Friendship is at the center of your life when you’re younger and you always think it will be that way. I mean why not? I never would have guessed that I’d appreciate low maintenance friendships, but they have been a life saver.
Low maintenance friendships are friendships where friends don’t talk every day or see each other often. But they have the ability to pick up where they left off when they do get to talk or hang out with each other with out any hard feelings. They can navigate their busy lives without worrying about losing a friendship simply because they are busy.
I wasn’t prepared for the reality of adult friendships. In fact, a lot of my friendships ended because I didn’t know how to navigate all the responsibilities and changes that came along with adulthood and how it would effect my friendships. Here I am at 34, and low maintenance friendships have become my norm. In fact, I think low maintenance friendships are so necessary. If I had to maintain friendships the way I did back in the day, I would be drained and probably a terrible friend simply because I wouldn’t be able to keep up.
Although I’m grateful for low maintenance friendships now, it wasn’t an easy transition for me. For so long, I assumed a sign of a healthy friendship meant we were always in contact or saw each other often. I was conditioned to believe that good friendships meant we had to talk every day and hang out as often as we did in High School. In fact, when things got busy in my twenties, friendships ended because we thought not seeing each other often meant we were growing apart.
But I’m here to tell you that it’s actually a part of life no one prepares you for. In my twenties, my friends and I had different schedules because of college classes and work. We had relationships and dating to consider. And if I’m honest, I didn’t navigate it all as well as I wish I did. It took me a long time to open up to the idea that friendships are just different when you are an adult. And now in my thirties, I’m a wife, mom, and business owner among other things. My life is extremely busy.
In order to have a conversation with someone, I basically have to set up an appointment with them. Often times, even with effort on both ends, those conversations have to be rescheduled or reduced to a few text messages. It sounds horrible, but it’s actually what I need. With that said, these friendships still require work and commitment. There are birthdays to remember, regular check-ins, and special moments you have to make time for. But for many, it works.
Low maintenance friendships are believed to be healthier especially in adulthood because they are less likely to be filled with drama and these friendships are more intentional. It’s so important that we are open to changes in our lives especially the dynamic of friendships as they shift over time. A healthy relationship of any kind, changes over time and may look different as it continues to develop.
So, I don’t get to see my friends often, but the conversations we have are priceless. We support each other from afar mostly. Friendships are still an important part of my life although it may look different than I expected.
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