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To think it's sad but normal that many friendships drift

(56 Posts)
Vintagejazz Thu 12-May-22 15:51:28

A friend was telling me this morning that her daughter is upset that her group of mum friends don't see each other much anymore. They met when they all had new babies about 6 years ago and were very close, but some of the women have returned to work and one has moved away. Apparently she's feeling a bit abandoned.

I sympathise but AIBU to think that some friendships are just of their time, and once you are no longer bound together by school, work, living on the same road etc many friends just grow apart, or life gets in the way and the friendship drifts.

Lifelong friends are the valuable exception really.

Lark123 Thu 12-May-22 16:03:56

I agree Vintagejazz, re your assessment of some friendships.

Unfortunately, unless you really click with someone, the friends you meet at school, work, etc...don't typically last.

There's actually a name for these types of friendships: 'situational' friendships; bound, as you said, by seeing one another only in certain situations.

Typically most people only have, or feel the need for just a few true and close friends.

You can be friendly with many, but real friends with only a few, especially hard on the young, and the elderly, in these days of mobility and change.

Kate1949 Thu 12-May-22 16:09:29

I'm an odd bod. I don't feel the need for friends. Maybe it's because I'm close to my sisters. They are the same. Of course we have friends, but it wouldn't bother me if I didn't have mine. Sounds awful I know.

MerylStreep Thu 12-May-22 16:15:30

So where would we be if we kept in touch with every friend we’d ever had ?
Can’t be done.

Audi10 Thu 12-May-22 16:20:10

I agree that sometimes the people that you work with although you think of each other as friends when you leave the workplace you then find after a few years those “friends” were nothing more than work colleagues! I have a small circle of what I term as real close friends whom I’ve had in my life for over 25 years

Cabbie21 Thu 12-May-22 17:04:57

I think you just have to move on, make new friends.

I have a number of “ situational friends” over the years, three from school days, though we have not been in touch since Covid. I had no reply when I tried to make contact.
I have a group of friends from university and we have kept in touch, met up occasionally. We just pick up where we left off.

Nowadays I have acquaintances I know through choirs or church.

biglouis Thu 12-May-22 17:17:17

I agree with the above posters. I have been deeply upset with one friend when she made it clear she no longer wished to see me. We had been work colleagues and continued the friendship after she left and went to university. Then there came a time when I too went back into education and moved to another city. Looking back I can now accept that both of us had changed and our life paths had diverged.

I now love my own company but have one or two very close friendships which have stood the test of time for 20 plus years. We have many differences in taste and temperament but have learned to accept the differences and not try to change them.

For example one of my friends smokes. I wish he didnt and I fear for the effect it may have on his health. But its not for me to tell him what to do.

Judy54 Thu 12-May-22 17:54:10

Friends come in to our lives for a reason, a season or a lifetime. We have to accept that some friendships endure and others don't. Life changes often make it difficult to retain the association we once had with people from school, university, work etc. It is lovely to have long friendships but also exciting to meet new people too. We just have to be open to meeting different people some of whom will stay in our lives for a short time and others for a life time.

GagaJo Thu 12-May-22 18:01:26

I've made an active choice to move away from friends, in the past. Anytime the friendship is anything other than caring or enjoyment in the presence of another, I am not really interested.

I've known some nice people that wanted to be my friend, but I didn't reciprocate. Selfish maybe.

Visgir1 Thu 12-May-22 18:07:14

I was told by an older lady years ago, true friends you can count on one hand. I think she was right.

However, 3 of my old girl friends from when we were "young, free and single" are all back together again after a very long gap,it was just Christmas cards for ages .
All our children are now grown up, time hasn't made any difference.

Also I have a group of friends which include my sister we meet up for meals a few times a year plus a weekend away.

But I have never, sadly kept in contact of my old School friends,
my true long time chums I can count on one hand.

cc Sat 14-May-22 11:46:48


I'm an odd bod. I don't feel the need for friends. Maybe it's because I'm close to my sisters. They are the same. Of course we have friends, but it wouldn't bother me if I didn't have mine. Sounds awful I know.

I'm similar to you but I am closest to my adult children. I do have two long term friends from when my children were small, and many acquaintances - that seems to suit me best.

henetha Sat 14-May-22 12:00:08

My little gang of friends here broke up when covid happened and we haven't got back together again. I miss our outings but there were a couple of irritating things about the group and I don't seem to have any enthusiasm to get back with them.
Most of my old friends elsewhere have died or developed Alzheimer's.
I don't really have close friends now but am friendly with a couple of neighbours, one in particular whom I have lunch out or coffee chats with .

tanith Sat 14-May-22 12:04:40

I'm not good at making friends i have a few i see now and then or for a regular coffee but 4 of my long term friends and i include my hubby in that all passed away in the last 4 yrs so i now only 2 people who've been in my life for many years but circumstances mean we only have phone or online contact. So at present my 2 daughters are my 'friends' but i miss a good gossip about stuff we shared with my now deceased friends.

Aepgirl Sat 14-May-22 12:11:40

A group of young mums is a ‘support’ group, but once our babies have grown we tend to move on to different lives. Sad but true.

paddyann54 Sat 14-May-22 12:12:16

I think its quite normal that people move in different directions and friendships end.
We lost many good friends quite early on in our marriage because we were self employed and couldn't go out or socialise on the same evenings as others.
Then when we were the only ones to have a child ,once she had passed the being taken with us in her pram stage we dropped out of a lot of things.
Recently GC were the cause.As quite young GP who helped a lot with the wee ones we had one friend who refused to even have dinner at our house because we had a baby who stayed half the week with us and she'd have to cut back on her loud singing etc.
Wasn't much of a loss .
I cut off a couple over lockdown who we've known for 40 years as I just felt irritated with some of their views ...a bit too right wing for me .I have no problem if my OH still sees them but they are too much like hard work for me .I'm too grown up now to listed to folk spout nonsense and keep schtuum.Life I must say is much pleasanter without them

Sara1954 Sat 14-May-22 12:16:57

I’ve been part of friendship groups which have seemed very close at the time, but have fallen apart almost instantly when the situation changed.
I’ve been part of school mum groups, and for many years part of a group of parents travelling around the country supporting their children in their sport. Some people I considered close friends, but the friendships never survived.
I had one very close friend since college, I thought of her more as a sister, we were there for each other through everything, about ten years ago she started to withdraw from me, and eventually I gave up trying, of course I miss her, but she obviously wanted to move on.

InTheCove Sat 14-May-22 12:17:41

I guess I am the oddball. Including me, we are a group of 6 who have been close friends since around age 13. We vacation 1-2 times a year together and for those living nearby, we get together every few months. We vacation together with all of our families once a year. I also have one other close friend who I met 42 years ago at work.

grandtanteJE65 Sat 14-May-22 12:22:54

I feel very strongly that the concept of friendship has changed greatly in my lifetime.

My grandparents' generation, and to a slightly lesser extent, my parents' generation had basically made friends with a set of people during the early years of their married lives and retained these friendships into old age. They also had friends they had made at school, and put a great deal of time and effort into keeping up with family - both their own generation, the elder one, and our generation.

However, most of them lived their entire lives, or their entire life until retirement in the same place.

A great many people of our generation have not done the same. We chose to drop the relatives we only saw or wrote to "because they are family" and concentrated on the people we knew who shared our interests.

Naturally, some friends faded out of the picture, as the interest that had originally bound as together (young children, a place of work) changed.

My generation also experienced that those of us who married late, were automatically excluded from the lives of our contemporaries who had married and had children. No-one apparently wanted a single female, or a childless woman in their circle of newly married, nest-building happiness.

Are not nearly all friendships situational these days?

I have two school-friends left out of two school classes of 24 girls, two sisters who have known me since I was born, no friends from my college and university years ( death has been busy there, and others have moved to other countries or cities) and only one former colleague who has felt the desire to keep up with someone who had retired and left town.

I am not being self-pitying , just describing what seems to be the common experience here.

DC64 Sat 14-May-22 12:24:02

It is sad but as said before it’s a fact of life for the majority of us - we are fortunate to meet lots of different people on our journey through life, enjoy them whilst you are in that relationship as they is always a reason for it at that particular time … but acknowledge as you get older your true friend circle gets smaller and those are the ones that are meant to stay in your life forever whether they are near or far.
It is a loss when friendships end/fizzle out … so she shouldn’t be hard on herself for feeling a bit lost. These days people can stay in touch by Facebook, WhatsApp etc so it’s not a total end unless you want it to be.

Junesun Sat 14-May-22 12:30:21

I am happy to share that I have 3 friends I met when I was 11 years old ( we were neighbours on the same block) and we don't meet much as 2 of them moved to the south west of England, and 2 of us still in south London. But this summer we are meeting up for a party as it will be the 50th anniversary of the friendships. On the other hand it is very true that some friendships fizzle out like when they leave your place of work .

SparklyGrandma Sat 14-May-22 12:32:57

I think the OP is right. There’s a flow of friendship, with long term friends, there might be differences of opinion, but by standing back for while keeps the friendship going.

Has anyone else found even as we age, we choose people from a similar career route?

Weekly I am in phone contact with 2-3 long term friends, who I have known for 55 years, 50 years, and 53 years respectively.

HannahLoisLuke Sat 14-May-22 12:39:35

I have one good friend from my time at work, another more casual friend from the same office has recently come back into my life. Others live further away so we only meet every three months although covid has put a halt to that. The driving force of that group sadly died before covid struck and we miss her very much.
Both my daughter and son are still in very close friendships with friends they’ve had since infant school. It’s lovely to see. I don’t have any friends from school sadly.

Daisend1 Sat 14-May-22 13:06:02

I made more long term friends when I left school and started work.We went to each others weddings and it was only when we moved to different areas of the country I moved too far to make it personal did we keep in touch by letter
I would dearly like to know where the friend ,who was to become my bridesmaid is, and have researched using her married name and the area where I last had contact
.So far the post code and address I have researched has only come up with the name of my friends husband.
I am reluctant to go further and that I should let the past stay in the past.

F1Grandma2 Sat 14-May-22 13:30:04

It takes work to maintain friendships at various stages in our life when we are all busy, but it can be done. I heft my home area because of my husband’s work but on returning 16 years later had kept my closest friends. I used to travel back 2-3 times a year and we had meals together and I met them individually for coffee. We chatted on the phone, were FB friends and exchanged messages and photo’s on WhatsApp. Christmas, Easter, Birthday and Wedding Anniversary cards(where appropriate!) were also exchanged. As I said, it takes work but if the friendship is for keeping it works. Some people do only come into our lives at certain times but others stay. I now exchange visits with 2 friends that I made while I lived away.

Gwenisgreat1 Sat 14-May-22 13:36:03

My Bestie from school are still very much in touch, some school friends are only in touch thanks to Facebook. As are a lot of people I have worked with in the past. At lot from places I have lived are in touch via Xmas cards, some I don't expect to see again. When my DH managed to hide my Xmas Card Book I did loose touch with quite a few people. Others I have lost via natural happenings. I am 78 and could be next? I hope not, I've got too much to do!!