If there's one thing I've learnt in the last few years, it's that no two friendships are the same.
I've got friends from almost every walk of life and I've met them all at very different stages of my life too. Some of them would have met me as a child, some when I was an awkward teen and some just recently in a work capacity. I see my relationship with each of these people in a very different light and therefore, communicate with them in very different ways.
If there is one "type" of friend I adore having however. Low maintenance. These are the kind of people who you can catch up with on any given day and it's like nothing has changed. You're both really interested to know about how the other has been getting on and there's no tension there, even if it might have been quite some time since your last encounter.
Working full-time, I am rarely free a day in the week, so I would consider myself to be a low maintenance friend too. I'm always on the go, heading to events and home late, so I barely notice if I haven't heard from someone in a while. This makes it really hard for me to keep up with higher maintenance friends.
Over the years, I've learned that values in regards to friendships are very different. Some people value trust, some value banter, some honesty, but one that has caused me the most problems, is keeping in contact.
I'll be the first to put my hands up and say it, I am rubbish at keeping in contact with people. I've never been good at it and even when I try to, I slip up.
It's not that I don't care, because of course I love and value my friends. I guess it comes down to finding a slot in your day where you can sit down and take the time out write to people, which I struggle to do. I often think I need to make a habit of it but then I question whether or not I'm forcing it.
I'm a firm believer in letting people live their life.
In this day and age, I can see exactly what my friends are up to - Everything is on Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat. When I watch their stories, I'm genuinely so happy for them and I love seeing them doing their own thing. Now, I know that this can more often time than none, be a filtered vision of just the good moments and not behind the scenes, but I do hope that if my friends needed a chat they'd reach out, and of course I'd be there for them.
But here's the burning question... Am I a bad person because I don't keep in regular contact with friends?
I ask myself this all the time, and I get really down about it because I feel like a b*tch for not doing so. So many times I've had friends upset with me because they haven't heard from me and most recently I had a friend shun me for it.
For sure, it's important. There's no denying it. If you want to maintain a friendship, you need to communicate. I know that. I wonder though, are the people I don't think to write to regularly of that much importance to my life? Surely if they were I'd keep in contact with them naturally and it wouldn't feel like a chore. I have other friends who I speak to every couple of days without even questioning it. Or maybe it's just a different kind of relationship?
I have found however, these same friends who are bothered by it haven't tried to contact me either. Relationships are a two way street, it's not like I'm ignoring them, I just haven't started the conversation.
So no, I don't think I, or anyone who can relate to this is a bad person, or a bad friend.
It's not malicious, it's not on purpose and it's certainly not because you don't care. Life can be busy and you can get caught up in things. Friendships can be hard, especially when you value different things. Feelings can be hurt unintentionally and sometimes friendships can unfortunately fade as a result of lack of contact.
One thing is for sure however, the friends that are just happy to see you and have a chat, regardless of how long it's been, are my kind of people. I love them dearly for that and I adore not having to feel guilty when we finally do catch up.
Low maintenance friends for life.