Friendships Take Effort – by both parties

I was at another site where this letter was published.

A few people actually opined at the other site that friendships do not take effort, because really great friendships are effortless, that if you are putting in effort, something is wrong.

What a bunch of crap that is.

I can see how that view might be true in the “honeymoon” phase of a new friendship, where you feel you’ve just met someone who really “gets” you, and they are a pleasure to be around, but sure enough, as time marches on, the euphoria of the newness of it all will wear off, and you will begin to notice flaws with your new friend. Your new friend may begin to do or say things that hurt or offend you.

Once a friendship (or marriage) begins to age, it will take SOME effort to maintain and keep going, especially if there are disagreements.

Here’s the letter and response:

Ask Amy: Keeping adult friendships alive takes effort

DEAR AMY: I had a huge fight with my best friend of 10 years. She called me phony, among other hurtful things. She says she doesn’t care to have a friend like me because I don’t reach out to her enough and that I make no effort to make plans with her. I agree we haven’t seen each other often enough. But Amy, she doesn’t ask me to make plans either, which is why I am so thrown off by this.

This is the third time we’ve had this argument and have stopped talking for weeks each time. I feel horrible because she accuses me of not being there for her without giving me any hint that she needs me. She now says she is done with me. She has hurt me, and I don’t know if I should contact her. Should I forgive her and try to repair this friendship, or let it die? — Sad Friend

DEAR SAD: I shared your question with Julie Klam, author of “Friendkeeping: A Field Guide to the People You Love, Hate, and Can’t Live Without” (2012, Riverhead).

Klam responded, “I think you owe it to yourself and your best friend of 10 years to have a conversation. If that’s too difficult, you should write a letter. She is accusing you of neglecting her and you are naturally feeling defensive.

“If for a moment you can drop your defensiveness and describe how you imagine she feels, you might be able to work things out rather than abandon each other.

“If she’s open to it, make a monthly plan that you can both stick to, so there is always a date on the books. As adults, our lives are so packed with family, work, life obligations that our friendships can tend to fall by the wayside, but you both need to make the effort together or it isn’t going to work. If she isn’t responsive, at least you’ll know you’ve tried.”
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Related post at this blog:

Friendships – Are You The One Always Making the Plans or Initiating the Phone Calls?

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Please be sure to read the most important post at this blog:
A Warning About The Friendship Blog – Toxic – Unfriendly Bullied Bullies Trolls Dr Irene S Levine

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