There are a lot of things that are high maintenance chez moi, but my friendships are not one of them. In fact, I have a really hard time with friendships that are.
One of the things that has been the most fun about this trip out to California and my time in Arizona is getting to connect with old friends. And one of the things I’ve realized is how much I appreciate the low level of maintenance required to continue these friendships.
Last week I went to “coffee” with one of my high school friends and it was so much fun. I got to see her darling apartment in the city and her beautiful baby girl and we just chatted and caught up. Truthfully, it had been a little over a year since I last saw her (and almost that long since we’ve spoken) and we probably won’t talk again for a year and I’m the one who’ll get in touch with her because I’m the one who comes to town, which makes perfect sense to me. It’s a great arrangement.
I am an extremely social person. I love having things to do and people with whom I can do them, and I love knowing people, but I hate feeling obligated; it’s that feeling of dread that comes when certain friends call because you know that if you don’t have time to talk, they’ll be offended. Or that realization, after not talking to a friend for a month, or two, that said friend is going to be pissed. Or knowing that a friend who always remembers your birthday is going to be angry because you didn’t remember hers even though you live on opposite sides of the country and you never see each other and rarely talk. Or when life circumstances change thus changing the nature of your friendship, and your friend can’t handle it (like when someone gets married, or starts graduate school, or moves).
Not only do I appreciate low maintenance friends, but I try very hard to be a low maintenance friend. I think low maintenance friendships are representative of good friendships; friendships where insecurities have ceased to exist, where true understanding of each other and our natures has been reached. If I call up a friend to do something and she says, “You know, I’m just not in the mood tonight,” I’m not offended or angry, or even hurt, I just consider it a sign of a healthy friendship. Who wants to be friends with someone who a) can’t be herself around you and/or b) does things out of some weird sense of obligation. It’s like they have this “manual on friendship” and want everyone to follow it and play by the same rules.
I know there are people out there who are not like me in this way. And I’m not saying the way I am is the best way to be. It may not be..although of course I think it is, or I’d probably try to change (and there are definitely things that I need to change and I’m working on them). I guess, to me, low maintenance represents a genuine friendship, one where I do things because I actually like the person and not because I’m in fear of her getting upset.
Anyway…my point: if you are a high maintenance friend who chooses to be friends with a low maintenance one and you want the friendship to work (which goes against my personal belief that relationships of any kind should never be forced, unless it’s family), you’re going to have to just understand our low maintenance ways because chances are we just can’t be bothered.
And once again, I’m sure most of you are wondering how on earth I manage to keep any friends. I ask myself the same thing every day. Okay, not really. I actually think I’m a pretty good friend, just misunderstood sometimes. But I guess it all depends on your definition of a “good friend”.
And for my next friendship post: Why some people can’t seem to transition from full-time to part-time friend and how to best deal with it. Ha ha ha. Because I’m some kind of expert.
you are TOTALLY a good friend Chloe. totally.
I agree with everything in this post. And I’m publicly thanking you for being a fantastic low maintenance friend. I hope I–at least sometimes–return the favor. 🙂
I enjoy our low maintenance friendship, it’s the best way to go. Let’s face it, we all get busy, no need to add stress to our already busy lives. Just keep on keepin’ on! Sorry about Park City by the way. Sad we couldn’t see you this trip to Utah. You are a busy woman! Next time!
Amen. I can’t stand being in high maintenance friendships. I know that might make me sound like a jerk, but it really shouldn’t be that much work to worry about not offending your “friend.” I love my friends who I can go without seeing for years, and when we do see each other, it’s like no time has passed, and no one is offended because we stopped calling or emailing as much, etc.
i love those friendships.btw, is it too high maintenance to request your presence at a marathon sometime next fall with a bunch of other blogging strangers? 🙂
Great post. Thank you!
I love low maintenance people and I consider myself low maintenance. I’ve got a few very high maintenance family members and they are EXHAUSTING! I’m gonna come across strong here when I say it, but I think it is wrong to be a high maintenance person.
I could post this but it wouldn’t sound as great. I should just link to it. I agree 150% with every single thing posted here. I am finally to the point where I have realized that this is the kind of friend I am and need. No drama, no hurt feelings, where everyone realized that we all have lives and friendships can ebb and flow. I don’t mind being the center stage friend or the under study one, I just want it to be genuine!
About 3 years ago I did a spring cleaning of sorts with the friendships I had with others. I was finding myself bogged down by too much drama, too many phone calls, too many expectations to meet, and no time for myself. I was a newlywed at the time and was becoming too involved in the lives of my friends and not involved enough with my new best friend, my husband. I tried explaining to my high maintenance friends excuses as to why I wasn’t answering their phone calls or returning the voicemails right away. It got to a point that I knew I was going to hurt some feelings one way or another. It was a very hard decision, but I walked away completely from two friendships that were NOT healthy for many reasons, one being the required maintenance of the relationship. It was too much. Yes, they were wounded, as was I. But I was a happier person and I was not bogged down by the dramatic every day occurences they had become so accustomed to talking to me about. I believe whole-heartedly in the low maintenance friendship! (Wow, I sure hoped I spelled everything correctly today. It’s kinda crazy around here!)