Monday, December 19, 2011

Now and Then

nowandthen
2002 and 2011

The other day I was reading back in my Livejournal and I came across an entry from 2008. I scrolled down through the comments and noticed that my best friend Sarah and I had had a little conversation right there about "fixing" our friendship.  It struck me as notable, because this was the summer after I had gotten married. I remember pretty vividly not being in each other's lives very much during that time, but reading through our exchange there on that old website brought back all of the details I had somehow forgotten.

Sarah and I had gone to the same high school but didn't actually know each other over those four years. It wasn't until my sophomore year in college that we met via a mutual friend, who just so happened to be her then-boyfriend. He invited me over to hang out with their group of friends one night, and I still remember meeting Sarah for the very first time. She was this tiny little thing- part ballerina, part huge light-up-the-room smile, and her positive energy and excitement for life was contagious. We had an instant "oh my god I love you!" friendship connection. We spent hours and hours talking, and from that moment on we were inseparable. We did everything together- sleepovers, shopping, long nights out dancing, saw each other through tears and heartache, and later when she broke up with that boyfriend, we dated two new boys that happened to be friends too.

But then things changed and somehow we drifted apart. There were never hard feelings, but she got into a serious relationship at the same time I moved in with another group of friends, and we fell out of our norm. It would have been impossible to keep our friendship going at the same intensity- as life changes relationships change too. And although we understood this, we let what could have been a shift turn into a total end. Maybe it was the excitement of the new loves in our lives, maybe it was simple laziness, but soon enough our girly sleepovers were replaced with overnights with our significant others and our all night chat fests were interrupted by date nights. And even though we both got this shift- we each were so happy in these new lives- we didn't put the effort in with each other, we assumed we'd always be there, and consequently our friendship failed.

For years we didn't talk much. I thought about reaching out all of the time, and later I found out that she did too. It hurt a lot, losing someone I considered to be one of my closest friends, but I was never angry. I fully understood, but it was still sad. Time went by, and soon I was engaged to Hank. Sarah and her now-husband Andy came to the wedding and I still remember them being some of the last people there to see us off at the end of the night. I missed her so badly, and I still remember feeling sad she wasn't up there with me as a bridesmaid.

Over those next few months though we started talking more. We got back in touch, and we made plans to meet for lunch at Pita Jungle one summer day. I remember sitting in my car beforehand feeling so anxious- I felt as if so much had changed. What if we were totally different people? What if we didn't get along anymore? What if lunch was terribly awkward? What if, what if? But lunch came and went, and it was absolutely wonderful. It felt as if no time had passed- we laughed, we cried, then we laughed some more. She was still the same friend I'd always known. Yes, everything was different, we were different, but at our cores we were the same silly, fun-loving girls we'd always been. Our friendship had just taken a little break.

That fall we got back to being close. We spent weekends together, having sleepovers and crazy nights out. And for the next three years we continually put in the effort. It's weird though, to think back to that time we weren't in each others' lives. And even weirder was to stumble upon that aforementioned Livejournal comment, where Sarah talks about how sad it is that we aren't friends but that if it mattered, it was up to us to make the effort. "You take people for granted when you think they'll always be there and then POOF! one day they aren't and they've moved on..." It's remarkable to me to be able to see the turning point in our friendship- to see the moment when we both decide to move forward and start anew. I feel so grateful that we did decide to put forth effort, and at the same time it's horrible to think about us not doing that. I can't imagine my life without her.

I feel lucky to call quite a few amazing women my friends. Many of my closest friends don't live near by- one is off at college, another lives two hours south- but in each of these relationships, effort is so important. I might not talk to them everyday, and some not every week, but at the root of it, we know that we are there for each other. We keep it going. I am incredibly guilty of getting so wrapped up in my own life that I fail at holding up my end of the the friendship, but I consciously work at it and as I've gotten older I've gotten a little better at it. It can be hard, but what it comes down to is this: a connection is a connection, and in this life we meet so few people we genuinely click with that it would be a shame to not to put forth the effort to have that person in your life.

I thought of this as I stood up at Sarah's wedding this fall, as her Matron of Honor. I thought about how far we had come, abut how we almost lost such an important part of our lives. It's a true lesson in the power of action and just following through with the things that are in your heart. So often we think things like "I miss this person," or "I wish they were still in my life." Friendships and people can at times come and go as life changes, but I wonder if any of you have someone that you miss too. An old friend you fell our of touch with, a disagreement over something silly that you can't even remember now. Maybe you didn't put in effort, felt guilty, then avoided the situation. I've been there. Cheesy as it sounds, if any of this resonated with you, I encourage you to just make a call, send an email, and let that friend know you're thinking of them. I think about Sarah and how were went from years of not talking to spending a night like we did tonight, sitting on my old bed at my parents', giggling and tearing up while watching her wedding video. It's hard to move forward sometimes, but in the end I feel that if you have the desire to make the effort then you truly have nothing to lose. Because honestly, why not?

Thanks for reading. I hope you have the best night. :)
xo

20 comments:

  1. This is funny to read this here. I just messaged my best friend who I have not spoken to in over two years for the first time Tuesday night. It has been really quite surreal to have the hope of having my best friend back. I never thought we would ever talk again.

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  2. i loved reading this because i know the feeling of losing, and then re-gaining, a best friend all too well. this post makes me so thankful for the girlfriends in my life.

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  3. You are wonderful, I love what you wrote so much!

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  4. I have my best friend from high school, we haven't see each other for two years after graduation,but when she came to my home this summer it was perfect, 3 days of fun and stories, hope we'll see each other soon again

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  5. I was just thinking today about how friendships just get away from us when we are busy or doing something else. I love those friendships that don't feel awkward when they pick back up where they left off.

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  6. Amazing story. Real friends drift. But they never drift too far.

    http://www.thegirlieblog.com

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  7. I'm lucky I guess, I have 4 best friends. It does mean I have to work 4 times as hard to keep them all close and in my life. I love having a team to support me, and I love being a part of a team supporting them.
    Great post Danielle. I'm off to call one of mine!

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  8. one of my best friends and I found ourselves in a huge argument over her boyfriend my senior year of high school. It took all year to finally get back to where we realized our friendship was worth WAY more than that dude and we've been close (in mind, not in distance) ever since. I don't know what I would do without her.

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  9. this hits home for me today. i am almost brought to tears due to the connection i have right now to this. i have a lunch date today with a close girlfriend, a lunch to talk about how we let the outside world and growth of becoming our own person change the course of our friendship. thank you sooo much for sharing this with me. i feel at ease.

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  10. this hits home for me, I've been there... My best friend and I were INSEPARABLE in HS, then right after graduation she got with a guy that was no good for her. He wouldn't allow us to be friends anymore (you already know the type of guy this is) so we drifted for years.... I never stopped reaching out, I made a CD of all our favorite songs one Christmas and called it the HS remix... When her and her now ex husband went through a bad time in 08, I was the 1st person she called... We hung for a bit, but when she took him back that ceases, by 2010 they were off again, and this time permanently, and ever since we have been a fixture in each others lives again. It's as if NOTHING has changed. <3

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  11. I think true deep friendship transcends time whether you are talking or not. I have found that I lost touch with many close friends from my early 20's and then have reconnected with them again in my 30's. It is amazing to me when 10 years can go by with out keeping in touch BUT the bond remains there and at some point your paths cross again and reconnect but this time with a long history and a whole new set of things in common! It also cool that petty differences you may have had in your younger years don't matter anymore. I love that you have written about how meaningful your friendships are! Girlfriends are so important. :)

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  12. I am so happy for people who have what you two ladies have. I have never been lucky in friendships. I think it is something I have always longed for, that soul-mate best friend. When I moved across the country I really found out who my real friends were and who didn't give a damn beyond the convenience of when I lived there.

    It is very hard to find people you genuinely click with. I am so thankful for the few lovely ladies who make the effort to be in my life, as make the effort to be in theirs. Even if I never have a soul-mate best friend I know that with each of these friends I have a little piece of that.

    Maybe I just got lucky and get to have multiple soul-mates that make up that one big place in my heart. Irregardless, I am thankful.

    xoxohannah
    a cup of subtle tea

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  13. This reminds me of some girls that are more like my sisters, we've been friends for over 20 years, through thick/thin, bad/good. Sometimes we'd go months without speaking, fighting as harsh as sisters.

    But one of them this past year told me that even though I was living far away, I was still her BEST friend. She told me that she finally realized that I was the one person that had been there for her through everything.

    That was the greatest feeling. I hope you and Sarah had that exact moment.

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  14. This is so so sweet and true. I've never really felt this close a connection with someone, and I think it's probably because I've always been worried about the same things "Well, what if we hang out and it's totally awkward?" Friendships like that are hard work, and they're a real blessing. I hope to get to the point some day where I can allow another girl to be that close a friend to me!

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  15. I absolutely love this post! Its so sweet! No matter what you will always have that one best friend that will stay in you life forever!

    Marja <3

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  16. Oof, woman. This one hit home. I have many friends that I have left in my past, that I still think I miss... but kinda different situations. They were just not good people for me to associate myself with. They brought nothing but drama and hurt in my life... yet I still miss them.

    Then there is my "best friend"... this quote describes our relationship to a T: "You take people for granted when you think they'll always be there and then POOF! one day they aren't and they've moved on..." I have recently stepped back from that relationship because of how I was feeling; mistreated; taken advantage of. And, of course, now she misses me... sheesh. Figures.

    You are truly an inspiration <3

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  17. this post is just what I needed. this weekend while in Portland celebrating my anniversary, we ran into my once best friend. she was the type of friend that I could spend all day with, and most of the time did. I could tell her anything and everything and she made me laugh like no one else. running into her while crossing the street was a huge surprise and the entire five minutes I had to speak with her, it felt uncomfortable. we have both grown and changed and live our lives completely different. it made me tear up thinking about how awkward our exchange was and how much I truly do miss her. thank you for posting this today as it shows me that true friends are true friends and we will get back to that point, some day. c:

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  18. Your openness and honesty is refreshing. I have many close ladies in my life that I cherish. Life of course has lead us in many different directions at times but nothing is more satisfying to me at this point in life than when we all get together. Some closer, and some relationships have a bit of distance but the essence is still there which to me always springs hope.

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  19. This was a nice story and I know it all too well. Thanks for sharing

    http://madnessanmusings.blogspot.com/2011/12/15-days-of-scarves-day-9-10-day-to.html

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  20. I'm happy I read this. I have a friend who I met when I was 13 and we were best friends until I moved away for college 19 and now were 22 and I keep putting off seeing her because I'm worried it'll be awkward and we won't "know" each other anymore. Thanks for the relief :)

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