Some friendships are meant to last a lifetime while some blossom beautifully and fade. There is grief associated with each of these types of friendships. What does it mean to be a friend? How can you tell a long term from a short term friendship.

I hope that everyone has a friendship or two that time never seems to touch.

A lifetime friendship is the kind of relationship that allows for a break of a week, a year or a decade but brings you right back to the same comfortable feeling of knowing that this friendship endures.

The likes and dislikes may change, as even more substantial changes are bound to occur.

When time has passed and life intervenes in ways that you can’t imagine, friendship endures. There is no expiration date no matter the circumstance. Maybe, it is a spouses death or a divorce but in essence you still connect and find comfort in being accepted for who you are. Your relationship to the other isn’t altered by the facts and you can stand authentically in your own skin with the scars and bruises both physical and emotional. If you have basked in the feeling of knowing a true lifelong friend then you have been blessed.

The other type of friendship is a different type of blessing.

These shorter term friendships have a different texture and feeling to them. It may start as a physical attraction. An immediate like of some characteristic or physical attribute. It may be a colleague at work who you admire for their work ethic or a particular ability. It can start as simply that they notice you and give you their attention. We all want to be recognized. It is built into our makeup that we want to shine brightly and be recognized. From these early indicators, a friendship may blossom, finding time to spend together and share some of ourselves. But being short term there seems to be a limit on what this type of friendship olds. It may be limited by a set time period, the length of a job or a semester in school. A friendship can end for any number of reasons. Moving to a new location, a breakup, new job opportunities or it may culminate in a type of lesson that we learn from and add to our life lessons.

So how do we grieve these friendships and why are they different? Long tern friendships are only limited by, time distance or death. There isn’t a limit and it will always “just Be.”  However, I have had many friendships that have run their course. Some for the reasons I mentioned, we moved, a job ended or I learned that the friendship in some way did not serve to make me more aware of my authentic self. When this lesson arose there was no choice but to allow the friendship to fade. Over the last year or five this may have been a lesson for you. Did a friendship fade because of health concerns, political or religious beliefs that somehow conflicted with what resonated for you?

There is such anger and mistrust in the world over concepts and beliefs that it may seem that we will never find common ground or a path forward together. There is grief present in these situations. There are uncommunicated messages that hold us back from showing understanding, from being authentic and we end up turning away. I am reminded of the Pink Floyd song, “On the Turning Away” with hope in my heart.

“…No more turning away from the coldness inside

Just a world that we all must share

It’s not enough just to stand and stare

Is it only a dream that there’ll be

No more turning away.”