Recently, I have been served a few helpings of humble pie. It has a bittersweet taste, a painful swallow, but a lasting fullness.
I am learning friendships aren’t always a picnic.
No, I haven’t been at the center of confrontations, and I’ve never even burned any bridges. But I have, in fact, been feeling a sense of inexperience within some of my closest friendships.
In 2015, a “friend” is something you request; “checking in with someone” is geotagged, and what should feel like an ensemble cast has come to feel like a stiff supporting role in everyone’s self-titled movie.
If this is 21st century friendship, we all need to change.
Sharing is not caring.
Thanks to the digital age and the opportunity to boast superficial proclamations, our platonic relationships are decaying into two-dimensional publicity stunts.
We have the energy to carefully construct a “Happy Birthday” photo collage for Instagram, but we can’t muster the same strength to pick up the phone and wish someone a happy birthday? Or let alone remember the date without the help of our trusty Facebook notifications?
We’ve allowed the click of a share button to replace quality time. We consider “liking” an underperforming selfie or sharing a published article as support.
I often question the frequency of communication or amount of connection our friendships would have if social media didn’t exist.
Support should come in the form of encouragement, selflessness and unwavering devotion.
Support is helping that same friend complete a project, not a caption. I’d rather have a true friend’s help with an article than just have him or her share it.
Treat friendships like (old) relationships.
Most young women can recite the “Maybe our girlfriends are our soul mates…” quote from “Sex and the City.”
Charlotte, the eternal optimist (also the epitome of #hairgoals and the only WASP I would ever be friends with) of the group, planted a very beautiful notion that has come to blossom with modern feminism and the progressive ideals of interpersonal relationships.
I couldn’t help but wonder, however, in some morbid, unbeknownst way, have we started to treat our friends too much like our romantic partners?
We all can admit to getting “comfortable” both with the people we’re sleeping with and the people we’re sleeping over with.
Likely, you and I both can recall a time in the last month we ditched plans with people.
It wasn’t because those people suck, or the plans suck. It was because they are actually so understanding, and we are horrible enough to suck them dry of their kindness.
I am guilty of doing it to friends, and friends are guilty of doing it to me.
Just as with a long-term relationship, we become complacent when the chase is over and the fun stops.
When did we become such flakey people? (Likely between the downfall of MySpace and rise of Instagram, but details.)
The first people we can count on for emotional or financial support are usually the first people we have little issue flaking on.
Let’s keep our interest long enough to keep our plans, even when something cooler comes up.
These foes ain’t loyal.
A simplistic epiphany I had years ago still echoes through my head today: Be good to the ones who are good to you.
Before you bend over backwards, keep plans, plan a girls’ trip, drop thousands of dollars on a wedding or invite the lukewarm friend to something, make sure you’re doing the same for the trusted, loyal friend.
The same friend who listened to you on the phone for three hours post-breakup should be the first friend you fly three hours to see when you have time off.
Perhaps, it’s small of me to introduce an idea of currency to friendships, but I have noticed a pattern of young women opting for convenience over quality, interesting over integrity.
We have become so self-absorbed, and our heads are so far up our own asses that we forget to nurture these friendships.
Give it quality time and undivided attention for it to grow. Instead, we’re weeding away any nuances and picking things at their ripest.
Let’s be good friends to the friends who are consistently good to us.
What friendship should look like…
Now, what should a friendship look like in 2015?
Bonding outside of bars, treating cherished friends more like family, keeping promises, remembering dates and (likely the one I struggle with most) disposing the foes and keeping the for-real friends.
Life’s too short to spend it with those who are undependable.