The Sunday Seven: Maintaining Friendships

“A lot of women, when they’re young, feel they have very good friends, and find later on that friendship is complicated. It’s easy to be friends when everyone’s 18. It gets harder the older you get, as you make different life choices, as people say in America. A lot of women’s friendships begin to founder. I was interested in why that was, why it’s not possible for a woman to see her friend living differently and just think, Oh, she lives differently.” — Zadie Smith, PBS NewsHour, October 2012

It is possible. But I wrote on Wednesday how much I dislike change, inevitable as it is. Hence this Sunday’s Seven: the truth about maintaining friendships in the midst of life’s crazy changes. Happy Sunday.1. For starters, some wise words from 25 famous women on female friendship. Please note: Claire Danes, Zadie Smith, Greta Gerwig, and Mindy Kaling.

2. I’ve known some of my best friends since childhood. This is why we are still friends. Knowing someone’s hometown and parents is a big deal for me.

3. But sometimes you gotta cut the clutter. The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo can be applied to friendships as well:

“Keep only the things that speak to your heart. Then take the plunge and discard all the rest,” she advises. “When you put your house in order, you put your affairs and your past in order, too. As a result, you can see quite clearly what you need in life and what you don’t.” 

If you’ve been meaning to, here’s how to break up with a bad friend.

4. I’m only twenty-eight (twenty-nine in six days!) but this secret to staying friends in your 30’s and late twenties, and forties and beyond is useful for me. The secret has nothing to do with Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

5. I have over 800 friends on FB, but according to Robin Dunbar, only about 150 of those are “stable social relationships” aka real friends. Social media can make me a lazy friend, but sometimes I’ll see them in person and feel like, “Whoa, I haven’t talked to you in months but I know all about you,” which feels wrong. I’m working to keep that particular feeling away from close friendships.

6. Many of my close friends do not live in the same city as I, which is why I often write long emails (I once copy and pasted an email into a Word document and it turned out to be five. pages. single. spaced.) I also handwrite the occasional letter to let them know, “Hey I am thinking about you and here is the latest news from me that you might not know from Facebook or Instagram.”

7. Lastly, the top 4 myths about female friendships and how to be your own best friend.  

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