One of the things I constantly try to remind myself and others is that expectations are a relationship killer. And while I was thinking of that in romantic terms, I should have also been looking at that in friendships too.
Friendships have been on my mind a lot lately —friendships lost, tested, stretched, made, molded —and what it all becomes. I’ve been looking back at my friendships over the years and some really hard friendship breaks…almost worse than a break up really. That anxiety that builds up and you feel like you’re drowning and don’t know what to do to save it. I found some advice recently that really empowered me:
1. Take what people have to offer and forgive the rest.
2. Give only what you can.
3. Keep the memories close.
Sometimes a friend feels like a constant in life and you think that that reassuring hand is always going to be there, but sometimes those expectations set you both up to fail. One person can’t be everything —there will be moments of time that your friends will occupy, but it ebbs and flows. And same goes for you! You can’t always be there for someone else or be expected to be. It’s a truly beautiful thing when friends have a life without you and vice versa, and even though you miss that contact you once had, it doesn’t make that time any less important or valuable.
Here are several reads in our collection that touch on just that:
Friendship by Emily Gould
“Two young women try to create the glamorous lives they’ve imagined for themselves while talking on Gchat from their desks at their less-than-ideal jobs. Bev left her cool-sounding but dispiriting entry-level position at a Manhattan publishing house to follow her boyfriend to the Midwest. Bad move. Now she’s back in New York, single again, and temping. Amy’s been working for three years at Yidster, “the third-most-popular online destination for cultural coverage with a modern Jewish angle,” but is basically just floating through life on a diet of clicks and tweets, hoping her boyfriend will move in with her so she’ll be able to keep paying the rent on her lovely brownstone apartment in Brooklyn. When Bev gets pregnant on a hilariously dreadful first date, the women are forced to confront their differing dreams and priorities.” -Publisher’s Weekly
The Cast by Amy Blumenfeld
- “A reunion of old friends reveals the cracks in their perfect facades in this promising novel. Becca, Jordana, Lex, Seth, and Holly are all about 40 years of age. They’ve been friends since childhood, and they all banded together when Becca was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma as a teenager, and they stayed connected through her treatment and into adulthood. As the 25th anniversary of Becca’s cancer remission approaches, Jordana decides to get the gang back together and throw a reunion party. What’s supposed to be a lighthearted weekend of reconnection, however, quickly goes off the rails. In the end, the members of the group must decide if their friendship is still strong enough to keep them together.” -Publisher’s Weekly
Invincible Summer by Alice Adams
“Adams’ novel follows a tightknit quartet of college friends as they navigate their shifting relationships—and evolving identities—over the course of two decades. After graduating from university in Bristol, Benedict, Eva, Sylvie, and Sylvie’s brother, Lucien, are on the cusp of their futures. The world seems alight with possibility; their bond feels unshakable. But as the years pass, and the disappointments of adulthood accumulate, the ties that once bound them begin to fray.” -Publisher’s Weekly
Late in the Day by Tessa Hadley
“The 30-year bond between a quartet of close friends—two couples—comes unglued when one of them dies unexpectedly. Christine and Alex and Lydia and Zachary have been close since their early 20s; now in their 50s, they’re still close, the friendships among them still anchoring their lives. And then one night, Christine and Alex are listening to music when the telephone rings. It’s Lydia, from the hospital. Zachary is dead. In the immediate aftermath of his death, the families band together: Alex goes to collect Lydia and Zachary’s daughter from college; Lydia comes to live, for a while, with her best friends. The women have been close since childhood, Lydia theatrical and romantic and borderline frivolous; Christine serious and artistic, the practical one of the pair. For three decades, they remained close, the history between them no threat to the happy present. But after Zachary’s death, their pleasant equilibrium is thrown forever off-kilter, as remnants from the past bubble up to the surface.” -Publisher’s Weekly
~posted by Kara P.