In 2008 I began the first in a series of three events that, to my dismay, have led to an erosion of my friendships.
In July 2008 I became a flight attendant. A little less than a year into the job I was at the end of a particularly gruelling five day pairing. On the last night I went for dinner with two other female flight attendants. They were both a little older than me and had lots of interesting insights to share about their lives. One of them said, “when you become a flight attendant you lose your friends.” Being still quite new to the job I was puzzled. I was sceptical as she described how one by one her friends had stopped calling her, stopped inviting her out, stopped being involved in her life because they never knew when she would be around. She wasn’t blaming them for this, she understood that it was tough to keep up with someone who flies for a living, but lamented those friendships and expressed gratitude for the one friend of hers who remained. My scepticism was short lived when, a few months later, I realized that a good majority of my friends had stopped calling me, stopped inviting me out, and stopped being involved in my life presumably because the task of sorting out when I would be around had become too difficult.
However, this was also about the time I became engaged. Marriage seems to be another event that has cost me some friendships. Without commenting on the terrors of engagement, it seems that somewhere over the course of saying “I do” and moving in with a boy a lot of my friends vanished. I’ve heard that when you get married a lot of your single friends sort of fall away, but it seems that even some of our couple friends disappeared somewhere between the wedding reception and our return from our honeymoon. While I found the first year of marriage to be wonderful and not nearly as difficult as so many people said it would be, I definitely felt isolated from my friends and lonelier than I’ve been in a long time. I also found myself wondering whether my loneliness was largely my own fault.
Moving to another country also appears to have caused a decrease in friendships. This has been a valuable learning experience for me. A number of friends have moved far away over the past few years and I now realize how crucial it is to keep in contact with them, especially in the early months as they are just getting settled and meeting new people. Actually, even months after moving, I find myself missing certain people more and more. To those of my friends who have moved away in recent years who I have neglected, I am sorry. Moving away can be lonely business and I’m sorry I didn’t support you even a little more.
And now I am lamenting the loss of my friendships. I understand that some relationships are seasonal, while others can go dormant for years and pick up right where they left off. I am thankful for the new friendships I’ve gained since moving to the UK, but there are days when I wonder whether the choices I’ve made are worth the loss of so many great friends.