Many years ago, at the height of what I like to refer to as my tackle-depression-with-self-help-books-instead-of-therapy period, I read that human beings are incapable of sustaining more than 30 to 50 close friendships at any given time.
This immediately appealed to my introverted sensibilities to have a small close knit circle of friends and made me feel rather less self conscious about my rather diminutive circle of acquaintances.
Apparently in order to maintain this equilibrium, friendships work on a one-in-one-out basis. Someone gives you the shits, you unfriend them from Facebook, fill the slot with someone new. That kind of thing. In the afore mentioned book, this concept was illustrated by way of a visual analogy featuring people, a bus and various bus stops. I won’t bore you with the details, suffice to say, the bus analogy firmly wedged itself in my brain and has provided me with a reasonably pragmatic view of friendship ever since.
I don’t for a moment wish to give the impression that I think friendships are an easy come easy go kind of affair. My entire life I have found it reasonably challenging to connect with people and forge friendships, so quite the opposite is true. When I manage to find someone who thinks I’m only mildly weird or even better actually likes that I’m weird, I stick to them like glue (in a non stalker, totally metaphorical way, of course).
But if a friendship slowly begins to dissolve, or someone publicly abuses me on my work facebook page and then rings to see if I’m ok with that, I’m usually pretty good at letting things run their course. If there’s a bus stop coming up and someone is ready to get on – I’m happy to let the trolling arsehole keyboard warrior off the bus to free up a seat.
I’m a big believer that friendships come to us for a reason, a season or a life time. Some times the season or the reason change. Sometimes you know why and sometimes you don’t. Some times a life time isn’t quite as long as you thought (or hoped) it would be. Sometimes you get a surprise and discover the person you thought would be a fly by night is still hanging in there 25 years later (and don’t we love her for that) or sadly a friend you thought would be there forever has silently slipped away. Sometimes things just change and a text once a year still says ‘i love you and you’re great’ as effectively as a phone call three times a week.
So confident am I in my own zen philosophy on friendship that a year ago I didn’t think it would effect me to, you know, move away. But now we’re at the pointy end of the deal and I can’t stop thinking about who and what and how everything is going to change. And I’m not sure that I’m as zen as I thought I’d be.
During our years in Brisbane my bus of friendship has been filled with the most extraordinary people. People have come and gone and friendships have been made and lost but I have always been blessed to be surrounded by beautiful souls who are my family away from home.
Right now, in every single way, it’s breaking my heart knowing in a few short weeks I’ll be leaving them.