The Friendship Crisis as I've so affectionately come to call it happens to everyone a little differently. I believe it's safe to say it does in fact happen to everyone - though perhaps there are exceptions and I'm just more of the rule.
This phase of life has become quite fasinating to me in my 9 months of being a young, post-college adult. But for those of you who perhaps haven't come to call it that, don't yet realize you're in one, or have recently come out on the otherside...Let me break it down.
The Friendship Crisis is when you get to a place in your life where you begin to seek out the friendships you can pour into. The ones that will last. The people you will raise your children with, grow old with, vacation with, etc. Different personality types usually hit this crisis at different ages. For me, the ever-social "otter" personality - it happened during my senior year of college and continued until just a few months ago.
So why do I call this a crisis? Because inevitably when you hit this phase you will figure out just how little depth some of your relationships have had. This is no doubt made worse for those of us in the "facebook generation". Facebook does not in fact mimic real life - and so therefore, being a facebook friend does not make one part of the other's inner circle. For some people, it creates a false sense of intimacy.
As a facebook addict myself I have mixed feelings about "facebook friendships". I love being able to keep up with my friends and family. Facebook (and other social networking devices) have taken this sort of keeping-up-with-the-masses idea to a level no other media has yet been able too. However, it provides for many people a false sense of friendship...for this, I have an example.
The year the Colts made it to the Super Bowl my facebook page got more hits than it does on my birthday! And during the overwelming amount of messages I received one will stand out in my mind, maybe forever. It was a message from a guy I'd met once, who'd later added me as a friend on facebook feeling that our shared love for football & the Colts was reason enough to cyber-stalk each other. So after not hearing another word from him for a solid 2 years, I get a message a few hours after we won the last playoff game and were officially Super Bowl Bound! The message read something to the effect of... "Hey Becca. Remember me? I was thinking since were friends and all...maybe you could help me get some super bowl tickets?".
If you're laughing, go right ahead. It still makes me laugh just thinking about it. I thought it was some kind of joke at first. Prime example of the kind of "friends" you make in college who you will not be vacationing with 10 years down the road. Having somewhere around 1300 facebook friends, if that's all it took to score some tickets - I would have filled half the stadium with my friends alone. These are not the friendships that make it through the friendship crisis alive.
For me, going through this friendship crisis in my early 20s was in large part because your early 20s can look very differently depending on who you are and who you want to be. For some, they're still in college, maybe taking a victory lap or two. Some fill these years with partying. Some with traveling. Some with further education and studies. Some, like me, begin careers. Many move back in (or stay in) with their parents - some venture out on their own or maybe blaze uncharted territory in a completely new place. In the struggling job market and economy some thrive and some suffer.
I moved away the day after finals - to fulfill my dream of returning to Tampa. During thi time I was also beginning my first career. And moving away put my friendships into perspective. Some in good ways, others in bad....
There were people I feared I'd never hear from again, who have turned out to be my most faithful phone buddies. These friends inspire me and put to shame the saying that out of sight means out of mind. These are the friends I have come to adore most since my move. They've kept involved in my new life and they've allowed me to be intimately involved in theirs, even from afar.
Out of sight out of mind is however the perfect way to describe some of the friendships I'd once held dear. As soon as the communication took more effort then bumping into each other out and about, it ended. It was a tough reality for me to face. Not all friendships are worth saving and not all of your efforts are recepricated.
Lastly (at least for now) there are new friendships. For me, I was more deliberate with finding friends here in Tampa than ever before. Finding the kind of friends who would encourage me in the things that I've set out to make priorities. Ones that are serious about their faith, their careers, their friendships, their futures. One's that don't let being busy be an excuse to go weeks without talking to you. Friends that understand that ultimately, you make time for what is important to you.
Coming out on the other side of my own Friendship Crisis, I'm more appreciative than ever for my true friends.