This was a really fabulous summer weekend. Although I’ve spent a lot of time on planes (today is day five of taking a flight every single day), all that flying has helped me be exactly where I need to be, even when I live thousands of miles away. Yesterday, that was in Manhattan, where I got to spend an amazing afternoon/evening with Theodora.
I got to New York midday Sunday, just in time for the Pride Parade, which was going right by Theodora’s apartment. I knew that the traffic would be a mess, so I took the bus/subway from the airport rather than trying to get an Uber, and it took forever. It seemed like train after train was going uptown while the downtown line sat empty! Welcome back to New York. But, it was totally worth it when I got to Theodora’s lobby and got to give her the biggest hug. It had been so long since we had seen each other!
When I moved from New York to Colorado, I tried to maintain my old friendships, but I also threw myself into making new friends in Colorado. As with many of my New York friends, I ended up losing touch with Theodora for the most part, aside from the occasional Facebook/Instagram comment. And while social media is great for at least finding out what people are up to, I don’t consider it to be at all a substitute for actually talking to a friend, whether that’s in person, via phone, or even via IM.
Fortunately, in the last few months, Theodora and I have been in much closer touch, which is why I finally planned this visit. And when we got together, it was like no time had passed. We talked about everything and anything, from the serious to the totally frivolous, and it made me so happy to see that our friendship has survived the miles and years.
One thing Theodora and I discussed over dinner was how friends can drift apart but then come back together… and how as we get older, we’re realizing that’s totally normal and okay. When I was younger and I lost touch with someone, I thought it meant the end of the relationship, with no hope of revival. Now, though, I’m realizing that friendships can ebb and flow – and maybe that’s even a welcome thing for them to do so.
In Option B, one of my favorite books so far this year, Adam Grant and Sheryl Sandberg talk about how it can be hard to ask for help when you’re going through something difficult. I definitely get this – I’m fiercely independent and try to ask for as little help as possible from anyone. (See: me planning to spend the Christmas holidays at home alone when I had my elbow surgery two years ago… at least until my amazing friend Kelly intervened and picked me up for Christmas at her house!) This was further supported by an interesting study of friendships by Emily Langan, who found that adults feel the need to be polite in their friendships rather than asking for what they really need. Option B emphasized that rather than trying to be polite, it’s better to be upfront and just ask for what you need – and that true friends will step up to help.
This week, I was listening to The Chalene Show podcast on signs it’s time to let go of a friend, and in defining when to let go, Chalene also discussed when not to let go. She talked about one-sided friendships, and pointed out that no good friendship is always going to be completely balanced. Sometimes one person will need more support for a while, and then the balance shifts the other way – but you’d be a fool to back away from a friendship just because it’s not equal at any one point in time. I really loved this concept and have been thinking ever since about the friends in my life and how I can better support them even when it doesn’t feel like things are “equal”.
In all, this was just such an amazing weekend of catching up and enjoying summer, and I’m so thankful that my job lets me be so mobile to make it happen. I’ve been trying to stay close to home in Colorado whenever I’m not traveling for work, but maybe in the name of relationships it’s time for me to stop my self-imposed travel ban and explore a bit more? The summer is just beginning, and I’m excited for what’s ahead!