Women friends, amigas or amies. No matter what language you use a female and her friends is an important topic, an integral part of her life and the subject of many a movie, TV show and novel. But what about the friendships of the past, the ones that no longer function or have drifted away. What do we do about those? It always comes to my mind on New Year’s Eve and I debate, should old acquaintances be forgot?
I’ve been lucky to have had many female friends in my life. When I was younger the friendships came and went almost without notice. Someone’s dad got transferred, you and your closest friend weren’t assigned to the same class or a new girl moved in and the lines and allegiances shifted.
By Junior High and High School friendships became more deliberate, less dependent on happenstance and more on choice. I was friends with girls I had known growing up, girls in my classes and girls who were in my clubs and activities. I settled on a “best friend” in 7th grade and she moved away in 8th. I still wish we were in touch. For real, I don’t take the role of friend lightly.
You see, I am pretty militant about keeping friends in my life, about sataying in touch and maintaining contact. By college, it had become a way of life for me. I called and snail mailed in the summer. I sent tapes and letters when I was in Spain for my Junior Year. If you became my friend you were my friend for life, like it or not. I am not sure why exactly but once I had experienced some significant losses in life I was hanging on to friends, by golly!
Does this mean the friendship road has been all smooth for me? No way, I have had disagreements, suffered disappointments or have grown apart from a handful of my buds. A few women have disappeared from my life but not too many. Those who did were mainly work friends who moved or changed jobs. If there had been social media then, I might still be in contact with them. I love social media.
In my first teaching position, I taught with a woman who dressed as Shirley to my Laverne. I was forlorn when she moved out East but ten or so years ago, she moved back. Add in email and we’ve never really lost touch since. We meet for lunch or dinner numerous times a year. I told you, I don’t give up on friendships or at least not without a mighty effort.
But no one has a perfect friendship record and try as I might, I don’t either. It makes me very sad but I have lost some friends along the way and a couple were good ones, really good ones, best friends. The loss of these women has been harder for me to accept than my divorce. These were women to whom I revealed my heart and soul, my inner most thoughts and fears. How can intimacy like that disappear, shouldn’t I try to keep those relationships alive?
After some largely unsuccessful attempts at maintaining or reviving the former closeness, I have decided maybe not, maybe some friendships just wear out. This flies in the face of everything I used to believe. I thought if I just tried hard enough, I would never lose a friend even when it was pretty clear that I had. Women generally don’t break up with one another, the band aid isn’t ripped off. It’s slower. More subtle. And really painful.
So when I hear these words New Year’s Eve night:
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
The answer might just be yes, sometimes the tearful answer is yes.
And to all the women who are still my friends, Cheers! You make me sew happy!
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