I have been really lucky over my lifetime to make friends quite easily. I don't mean I walk outside and people come up to me and say, "Hey Hadley, I'd like to be your friend". I mean, I decide I want to be friends with an individual and I easily make that effort to do so. Sometimes it works out great, I make lifelong friends. Sometimes it doesn't work so great, and I make a story. Many times, however, it works out, for a season.
I often compare making friends to dating, and we all know I have ample experience in the latter. In friendships, you have to court those you want to be in your circle. Making the first moves, if you will. At times it develops into an even trade and others it fades into the distance.
I have met people in all walks of my life that I thought we would be friends forever. I have been in their weddings, or expected I would be at the time of the friendship. I have met them on the sides of mountains or in restaurants in quaint little towns in South America. I have camped with them, shopped with them, hiked with them, run with them, practiced yoga with them, traveled with them and ate and drank with them. These are friendships that could last a lifetime. But sometimes, they last the time that was my life in those moments.
Have you had them too? I have been hurt by friends and I know I have hurt them too. Never have they been intentional pain, they were friends, friends don't do those things with malice intent.
Recently I had brunch with a dear friend who was talking about her inner circle, then middle circle and then outer circle of friends. I learned I was in her middle circle. We laughed about my placement, but I started to think about it more when I left the restaurant and on through the week. I started thinking about my groups of friends I have made throughout my life. I thought about the circles I have too. When my mom got sick, I tightened the circle and put a lock on it for months. We were asked not to talk about what she was going through, but each of us, my sisters and I, needed a person to lean on. So I chose a very tight circle of trust. And when it came time to let others know, I unlocked the key to the next circle and so on. And on the day of her funeral, I looked up and saw my circle had grown to all these people who showed up, even when they weren't privy to the battle that was before this.
But something else happened, my inner circle grew to those who attended and I kept it under lock and key. I hold these people so close to the chest, I struggle to let anyone else in. I have, over the years, watched friendships fade due to time, location and personal situation. I have been a bridesmaid in enough weddings to know that sometimes the walk down that aisle, isn't just the father giving away their daughter, but also friends giving away their friendships to a new beginning. It isn't worth spilled milk, because there were good times, great memories and a solid friendship for which that walk was built. I have also made friends throughout my life that played a very solid role during that period, and I in their's. And once that era changed, so did we, as did our friendships.
Here's the reason I'm sharing this story. To those of you who may feel hurt because a friendship ran it's course, or because your efforts are not reciprocated or you feel slighted in your relationship that you thought was lifelong and unbreakable....I'm sorry for your loss. But look around and see who else is standing in front of you, whom you may not have expected. Notice how your own circle shifted without you knowing, and be still, it is okay. The circles rotate, they elongate, when it breaks, it is mended by another. But if you don't want that friendship to have yet run its course, the only way to fight for it, is to speak up about it. Because then, at least you know you will have done your part to keep that relationship together.
And if you are curious about your placement in someone else's circle, but you are certain of their placement in theirs, that's okay. You build your own trust circle, let them build theirs.