Friends of Proximity

Making friends with people I routinely see is easy. Be along side someone every day of the week and the chances of stumbling on some awesome commonalities go up. I think that’s why people label friends in their lives by venue. High school friend, college friend, neighbor friend, church friend, work friend, camp friend, Internet friend. We pay homage to the chapters and locations of our lives that made these friendships possible. As I’ve grown older and became more keen of life’s patterns, I recognized that most friendships don’t survive the ending of proximity. Most people I meet aren’t still in touch with their high school friends (My tiny high school and the friendships I see still fostered on Facebook are an aberration.) I’ve adored many coworkers but have managed to only keep 4-5 as friends after holding 10 jobs in my life time. I’m always saddened when I leave chapters not only because I know that life will be uncertain until I find my next groove, but also because I have to leave the people behind. There’s just not enough time and room for everyone you meet and share french fries with to continue on in your life.

My college friend, Deesh likes to remind me of that one time we took a final in our final semester in 2005 of college together. I had asked him if he thought we’d still be friends after college. He laughed because he couldn’t imagine it otherwise. Cynical, I just thought he was being a bit naive. Maybe he was, but it’s now been over 5 years since graduation and I’m having dinner with him Thursday. In September, I blogged that I was sad that Jessica moved away and got married and I mourned the loss of our friendship. Just a couple months later, we reunited for a weekend. Last year for VEDA, I watched 20-30 people post a vlog every day for the month of August. It was our first year doing it and at the end, I thought, “Man, another chapter done. I probably won’t keep in touch with most of these awesome people.” Now I share a collab channel with four of the girls I met and tweet at a slew of them still. We make plans to meet each other even.

I wanted to take a moment and marvel at some of these friendships. My college friend Kym and I really just spent one summer together 5 years ago and yet I email her weekly. Kim and I met in 2001 in college and I email her DAILY and see her when I’m in Houston. Cindy and I only really shared a few months of living in the same town when we first met. I respect the importance and fond memories of friends whom life physically moved away and with them the friendship dissipated, but the friendships I managed to keep alive with emails, phone calls, chats, letters, and care packages, they really have a special place in my heart. You can say there’s no closer proximity than the friendships you carry with you.

This post is written in dedication to my BFF, a high school life friend.

  • Anonymous

    I was reading about how most people can’t know or remember more than 150 people in their lives and, like you said, when we move on to new chapters we don’t maintain these relationships. It’s just a lot of work. I love making new friends, but keeping up with them after moving or getting a new job is difficult.

  • Meta M

    “that’s why people label friends in their lives by venue.” Very astute observation!

    • Thanks, college friend. ;) 

  • Booo…this is making me sadder about the fact that we probably won’t see each other again until at least December or so. :(

    In other news: LOVE YOU. :) Can’t wait until our next encounter! :)

    • LOVE YOU TOO!  

      (This wasn’t the bacon post that you suggested I write. Apologies!)

  • I moved so much that I often lost touch with most friends and it just seemed…normal. I do wish I had the friends I’d had in kindergarden but I can’t even remember what state I was in, let alone the names of my friends. I AM blessed though with a solid group of friends that are in New York, the kind where I can go a year and a half and go out to dinner and feel like not a second passed since the last time I saw them. I also have amazing “work friends” who are the girls I do everything with here in Boulder. (I had the same situation in NYC and those work friends have also visited me here in Boulder!) I also have some great blogger friends!

    That’s great that you have such a great group of friends. :)

    • Yes, I think the older I get, the more thankful I am for the friends I have in my life. It becomes a lot harder to maintain friendships after jobs, moving, weddings, babies. Also, I’ve also become more selective. Life is too short to play with people you don’t like.

      I remember seeing your tweets and updates from your recent trip to NYC. :) Friends in NYC are great. Excuse to visit NYC often. 

  • I just recently “broke up” with my friend from kindergarten and I wasn’t as sad as I thought it would be. I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that neither of us put much effort in the relationship. This post, however, it signifies hope and how much you really care about your friends.

    • I’ve had a few friendship break-ups too! I’ve recently learned friendship break-ups can be positive changes in life. :)

  • I love that Deesh proved you wrong!

  • Beautiful post, Linda! I lost in touch with most of my friends from school and college days. But recently I came across some of them in an online forum and we catch up sometimes. But it is not really like old times. The only friendship of mine which survived since schooldays is going through a rocky time now and I don’t think it is going to survive this crisis. However, another friend with whom I have been out of touch for years, suddenly got in touch and we discovered that we have so many things in common. So, sometimes it happens that when one friendship goes away another one comes in. As the Tsaritsa says, it is difficult to keep in touch with so many friends in a meaningful way. We are limited by the time we have and the heartspace we have.

    • I’m sorry to hear about the rocky time. Rocky times in friendships can be so stressful! I hope you guys resolve or move on quickly so you can heal. I like the word heartspace. It is odd about the breaks and pauses! One of my closer friends who doesn’t live near me anymore, we didn’t talk for 4 years and then we “reunited” and it doesn’t feel like we took a break at all!

      • Thanks Linda. I loved what you said about your closer friend – it is liking catching up from where you left off, which is so wonderful!

  • DCD

    That you have so many lovely friendships that transcend time and space and all the “life” that comes between you after you part is surely a testament to you.  Your character, the way you value people, what you give to others…  Such a nice post Linda!  I really enjoy reading your thoughtful blog.

    • Ms. DCD, It’s always such a nice pleasant surprise to hear from you on my blog. You leave me the most thoughtful comments that make me blush. Thank you! I’m happy to know you! (Thanks, Alan!)

  • Myself, I don’t seem to be able to hold onto old friends for long. I have big ambitions to keep in touch and I try my best, but it’s life gets in the way and when they make no attempt to keep in touch with me? It makes me less ambitious to even try. I’ve recently lost 2 very close friends (they used to be my best friends) because I was sick of putting forth so much effort when they didn’t seem to want to keep up. 

    This turned into a pretty depressing comment, ha. Sorry about that! It is funny how we name friends by venue. I never really thought about that!

    • I’m really sorry to hear that. A few years ago I said good bye to a group of friends that I considered home for a while. It was a hard adjustment but time passed and I can see it as a good thing. My life feels lighter without them. I hope you feel lighter soon!

  • What a lovely post. My favorite line is the one about the friendships you carry with you. I’ve never liked referring to people as my “blog” or “college” friend but I do sometimes out of necessity or ease when trying to describe a relationship to someone else.

    • Thanks, Danielle! Very true. Sometimes it feels limiting to tack on labels. 

  • mef

    I think this post is beautiful. It feels small to call us high school friends, even though that is what we are. It feels remote to call us internet friends, although, at this point, I think you can call us that too. I always regret that we weren’t college friends. I am glad that we share each other’s families and holidays and joys and tears and mundane moments and the marathons of growing up. Thank you for this post.

    • College friends would have been so great! It would have been like high school but better. In that we would be able to see each other more than once or twice a year! 

      • mef


  • Anonymous

    Great post.  I’m a Proximity Friend.  I’m horrible at keeping friendships going afterwards.  I guess I’ve moved too many times and its become a bad habit.  I love seeing people who are able to move past the barriers.

    • Most of my friendships end after we part. I think that’s just the way it goes with how busy and messy life can be. 

      It was such a treat to get all your comments today!

  • I have no idea what my friends-post-college situation would be like without blogging!  Something tells me I wouldn’t be traveling to Boston and Austin and other awesome places.

    • :) I’m extremely glad to have met you and have you as a friend! See you in February!