Recently I wrote this blog post about investing in friendships: https://wordpress.com/read/blogs/129815114/posts/6284
Today I’m reflecting upon the blessings of the different dynamics among some of my friendships, but am particularly grateful at the moment for friendships with people at similar stages and situations of life as me, especially as they are fewer and farther between these days as people’s situations change and move on.
The dynamic of diversity:
Although most people would see me as quiet and shy, and perhaps a bit of a ‘loner’ in certain situations, I do in fact have a wide range of very close friends that have come into my life over the past so many years. I don’t easily let ‘just anyone’ close to me, as there needs to be a firm foundation of trust, but when I do, these friendships usually become, close, committed and longstanding.
Having many connections, it is inevitable that there will be a diversity in the life situations between my friends and I. I have friends young, old, middle aged. Some are married, some single, some separated or going through divorce. Some have grown up children, some have just had their first baby. Some have a lot of similar interests, whereas with others there are maybe one or two key similarities while we have our own interests, outlooks and pursuits in life that differ from each other.
All in all this adds to a more colourful and vibrant life experience, and in a way friends become somewhat of an ‘extended family’ which is a lovely thing to have especially when I don’t have any extended family members living in the same country as me.
However, there can be a downside to this diversity. We all have our different struggles and joys in life. And sometimes when friends who are experiencing the blessings of things only hoped for in my life it is an honour to be that friend who cheers them along, celebrates their joys, and encourages them. But at the same time there can be that sense of ‘disconnect’ where there may at times be a lack of sensitivity from those who are in their own ‘joyful bubble’ or who may just take for granted the things that they talk about. In other ways you may just find that you both have different interests and so although you can share and appreciate each others differences, you’re not always on the same page. I think this will be true of any and all friendships and relationships in some respect, and this is what makes the variety of life so fascinating, interesting and challenging, helping us to see new ways of approaching life and perhaps opening up avenues of opportunity that we would never have otherwise considered.
The sweetness of similarity:
At times in our lives, however, it is just nice to find those people, even if turns out to be just for a season, where you can feel that you ‘belong’ and are in synch with where your lives are at. I had a lovely time like that this weekend with catching up with a couple of my female friends. And it was nice, comforting, reassuring and a lot of fun. We are all of a similar age, all living and working in the city full time, all share the same Faith, all unmarried, without children, all like to travel, each have our own apartments and with friends who have moved on into different stages of life than us, while we while seeking to enjoy and make the most of the time we are in now also have an uncertainty as to what is next for us.
We had a great time catching up over coffee, and have started to plan a girls’ night in together for Valentines Day ( or ‘Gallentines Day’ 🙂 ). We can bond together and have fun together in our similarities, whereas there might be somewhat of a disconnect within other groups when our friends might want to talk about their celebrations that we might feel ‘on the sidelines’ of in our own lives. Having friends in similar life stages can be hugely life affirming, comforting and empowering to see the positive and look for the joys and blessings and as I said, comfort, of those who can walk together at a similar pace. I never really had that in secondary school or university due to some unique and challenging circumstances, so I’m all the more appreciative of it now 🙂
The richness of both diversity and similarity:
It is important to have a balance of connections with people who are similar to and different from us. We gain from both the comfort of similarity and the challenges of difference. We become more well-rounded individuals when we are able to relate closely to people of all different walks of life and experience than ourselves, while being able to see more fully the blessings of our current stage of life when we have those similar to us to share it with.
Being a good friend:
Finally, whether we have at any stage of our lives many friends or none, there is still so much to learn and grow and develop in ourselves from the interactions available to us. We can nurture our connections and we can nurture ourselves to help us to be better, kinder, more patient, considerate, loving individuals, taking the time to appreciate and understand other people and ourselves, ultimately helping us to be better friends ourselves.
What do you appreciate about your friendships today? x