True friendships are based on mutual trust and understanding, common values and interests and complementary personalities. But even the most solid friendships can be tested during different stages of life. Certain factors are known to put stress on a friendship.
Just because you've known each other for years, trust each other with your secrets and enjoy a lively and mutually supportive relationship does not mean that you and your friend should live together. Many a wonderful friendship has been ruined when close friends room together. Although you may think you know your friend well, the truth is that the way people behave in their own homes can be very different from how they behave "on the outside." In addition, you each may have different standards for how to maintain a household, which could be a source of conflict in your relationship.
When a bank lends money, there is an expectation that the loan will be paid back in full with interest. When friends lend money, there can be misunderstandings about the expectations regarding terms of repayment. For instance, if the friend borrowing the money earns considerably less than the one lending it, the borrower might not feel obliged to pay the lender back in a timely fashion. Many people feel guilty about saying no to a friend who asks to borrow money, leading to resentment on both sides. Friends who constantly borrow money may make lenders wonder if they're being used. These scenarios can lead to bitter disputes from which many friendships don't bounce back.
Partnership and Marriage
A common stress on a friendship occurs when one friend gets married or partnered while the other remains single. Due to the chemistry of early romance, newly partnered people tend to want to spend a lot of time with their sweethearts. This may leave the single friend feeling left out. And although the friends may make an effort to maintain closeness through dates and phone calls, the reality of single life versus life as a couple may create a gulf between friends.
If you think your friends had less time for you when they found the loves of their lives, wait until they have children. Raising a child is a full-time commitment. The life of a parent often revolves around children's sleep schedules, mealtimes, school activities, sports events, doctor's appointments and homework. The adults in a parent's life tend to be other parents, whether on the soccer field, at PTA meetings, in the playground or at the park. Unless you're willing to pay for a sitter, you may have to broaden your friendship to include your friend's children.
Friendships can be challenged by distance. People grow up and some friends will eventually move away. A true friendship can thrive despite distance, but you have to be proactive about keeping in touch, whether it's through writing letters, chatting via video or making a weekly phone call.
- Lisa Whelchel; Friendship for Grown-Ups
- Marla Paul; The Friendship Crisis
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