Grey Friends

I’ve surprised myself by recent ponderings that all relationships are black and white: they’re not. For someone so ‘there are many greys in life’ to think that friendship was only defined by one, or the other, as discussed in my post Which Group? I realise that I didn’t think of the matter too clearly when I put fingers to keypad. I acted on rash impulse, or in response to a coffee burst, I don’t know.

I’ve written about life, death, marriage, and having a baby as being one of those major life-determining factors that tell you which of your family and friends REALLY care, and which don’t give a shit.

But, I think I was too quick to judge, and I was wrong. Before having my own child, did I really enthuse that much with parents-to-be about their own happiness? Before experiencing death within our family unit, did I really understand the earth-shattering changes and life-questions that instantly arrive at your doorstep?

No, to both. But what’s surprising is I’m not ashamed to admit it. A bit guilty, yes. But not ashamed. And that’s because, I didn’t know.

I can’t blame myself for not knowing back then, so therefore I can’t blame others for not knowing, just because I do now. Yes, there is a general moral decency out there, an expectance that people act in certain ways in response to certain events. But, it’s just not the same, until you know.

And you know what, that’s fine. It’s good to keep things in check, to not sweat the small stuff and let the trivialities of life overwhelm you. But if that’s someone’s life, and they’re complaining their boss is giving them a hard time at work, while their friend is worried about a family member’s illness, well, let them complain. We don’t all have to be worried about the serious stuff. If you’re fortunate enough to not have that many serious problems, embrace it. The day will come, for them, for you, for everyone. It’s a fairly pessimistic view I know, and one I don’t like getting too deep into, but it’s thoughts like this that keep me grateful, and grounded. Everyone has their own problems, and they shouldn’t have to feel guilty that their issues are not as important as another person’s. It’s their life, after all.

But it’s more than that. There are many relationships I’ve had, where people have gone out of my life, or become fairly non-existent in it, to suddenly making a surprise comeback and arriving back with a vengeance. Just because someone wasn’t around before, doesn’t mean they won’t reappear later. And just because someone is, now, likewise it doesn’t guarantee they’ll be right at your side forever.

I think we need to stay open to possibilities, fluid to change. Friendships change, relationships change, and I have to say some of my most meaningful relationships, have undergone a lot of change. Change is actually good for us, and we want our relationships to be evolving to our different life purposes and ever-changing needs.

Keep an open mind. Don’t write old friends off. Like you would a job you want to move on from, at the very least leave things on a good note. You never know when you may want to revisit.

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