Friday, February 3, 2012

Too Big to Fail

Lately, I’ve been hearing too much talk about failed or fading friendships. How best to break up with friends who you’ve outgrown; the logic of backing off vs. cutting off; how to handle a deep-seated personality or values conflict that becomes more apparent over time. Last weekend’s New York Times ran an entire article about the pandemic.

There’s never this degree of detailed dialogue about the flourishing friendships. By the time most people get to be my age, they realize who their real, til-death-do-you-part friends are. The ones who you don’t have to overly censor your words around, and who always remember your birthday, and who do whatever it takes to be present for your milestones, and who you know you can call when you’re in the throes of a good-old-fashioned, middle-of-the-night emotional breakdown.

I’m still flying high from a phone call I had with one of my flourishers earlier this week. Whenever I talk to him it’s like a little gift, even when I don’t agree with anything he’s saying. He’s one of those figures who’s so dynamically fascinating that almost everyone you meet afterwards feels like a letdown. The New York Times should run an article about him. He’s one of only four people I’ve ever known who’s consistently able to make me fall out of my chair laughing, in tears (to the point where I can’t see straight), back-of-mind hoping that I don’t hyperventilate to death, while understanding that, if I do, this would be the finest way to go.

When I texted him on his birthday a few days ago, I wrote: “I’ll call you back in about 10 minutes.” He wrote: “I got punched in the face this a.m.” That was just the beginning of another beautiful catch-up.


  1. Kadzi, What a lovely thing, to write about friendships that are flourishing over time.
    I appreciated this entry very much. I also looked up the article you referenced from the NY Times. Very interesting.
    I recall something my daughter said about friendships in France, where she lived for a year. She said that it was very difficult to form a friendship with a young French woman, partly because they do not have "layers" of friends the way Americans do. We can have the friend we talk to almost every day and the friend we see once a month for coffee. It doesn't work that way, at least in Paris. There if you accept a person as a friend, you have to really give of yourself--a deeper kind of involvement. Because of the time and emotion required, you can really have only three or four friends. It's a big responsibility to take on a friend--so young people are a little wary about entering into a friendship.
    I can see that there is a lot to be explored about individual types of friendship, as well as friendship in general.
    I sense a book in this, Kadzi?

  2. I'm in full agreement about friendships. I saw a plaque once that said, "If your pressence can't add value to my life your absence will make no difference."

    I've personally spent too much time attending to friendships that have run their course, or that on every time I see them I feel drained. I feel empowered by deleteing people from my Facebook page...and I don't feel badly about doing so.

    Now of course, I would never delete YOU...

    Great post!
    Thought provoking as usual!

  3. Most times people outgrow each other. It's only the special ones that grow WITH you. Some friendships can become too toxic - I had one and cut the cord, it wasn't easy but it was very necessary. You need someone on the same page as you :)