Are some relationships just time bombs waiting to blow up? Explosives and a clock wired to detonate at a certain time?
Or are they just balloon fantasies we have blown up that will eventually float away, or lose air and flatten on the ground?
It takes a while to get to know people and sometimes we hate to admit we’ve invested too much time in someone who is too fundamentally different and so we keep going …
… until one day a minor disagreement, light shining brightly, sets off the tick, tick …
… the fadeout … the flyaway …
Would it have made any difference earlier to re-wire, to point out the obvious?
Hard to say. What it comes down to is this. If the relationship is a bomb, you are damned if you do speak up and damned if you don’t. It will blow – sooner or later.
If it’s a balloon fantasy, thoughts hanging in your imagination, the first sharp poking or wind blowing will flatten and send all hopes flying.
Lately I’ve seen a lot of articles on friendships. What are the types of friendships? How many friends do most people have? Are we losing the ability and desire to cultivate friendships? More than one article points out that we are connecting less. Families are shrinking but houses are getting bigger. Many people have replaced conversation with compulsive phone checking and texting. I see this myself every time I eat out or attend a gathering.
The articles I read on friendship don’t help me, not really. I’ve had so many friendships come and go, partly because I’ve moved often and had at least 25 jobs. Many friendships are circumstantial. They don’t take hold and last beyond living or working near each other or belonging to some group. I’m more diligent about maintaining connections than most people are. I’ve learned to lower my expectations, to be more realistic about what people can offer, or choose to offer. And to truly enjoy the friends who are in my life now, even if I don’t see them often.
Some articles categorize friendships, generalize about how many we need. I question their accuracy. After all, each of us is different, not to mention at different stages of life or living in different parts of the country or world. Introverts like me prefer fewer, but deeper friendships. Extroverts can never have too many friends. With all kinds of variations in between. People who live in one town all their lives might have more life-long friendships than those who live in transient neighborhoods. Married or living-together couples rely on each other for friendship; students and workers have built-in friendships.
It’s not until we live alone, children gone, retired or working at home, that we realize more fully how fortunate we are to have friends. We should not take them for granted. Nor should we close the door on new friendships. Cultivating friendships – new and old – is an art and a commitment.