It Doesn't Matter How Much Things Change; It's About Relationships
The word relationship contains the words ship and relate. Relate means to connect.
I’m often told that I am good at keeping friends: I still hang out with at least 8 or so of my high school friends on a regular basis. Sometimes, I’m asked how I maintain these relationships for so long.
The truth is that I’ve never really thought about it. Perhaps I’m better at maintaining long friendships, maybe more than most, but I didn’t realize how many other people wish they could do it too.
“I feel like I’m just re-establishing my friend group every few years,” a friend confessed to me. “It’d be nice to have some consistency.”
People grow apart because they change. But it’s not the change that drives them apart. It’s the difficulty of the work required to continue relating as people are changing.
I don’t always relate to my friends in the same way I did when we first met. Grant and I bonded over Super Metroid and Blink 182, and that’s not at all how we relate these days.
We could’ve let it fall apart, naturally and painlessly, as so many relationships do. But even in times where it felt like we no longer got each other, we kept trying to relate to even smallest detail of each other’s lives.
It took effort, patience, interrogation, persistence, discovery, and maybe a little frustration, but these are the things that good friendship is built upon. And it is especially crucial to keep relating in times where it seems like there is nothing left with which to relate.
Because that will happen at some point, maybe a year or maybe a decade in, and most people will shrug their shoulders and walk away.
I firmly believe that two people can change dramatically over a period of time, and still be able to relate.
Better yet, I believe any two people can relate, period. It just takes digging and intention. It happens every day with the people and in the places we least expect.