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I was uber excited to receive a text from a college friend the other day letting me know that she would be in town for a conference and wanted to hang out with me after she was finished. I hadn’t seen my friend since my junior year of college, 2005-2006, and we had lost touch a bit in the ensuing melée of my life and hers. She was aware of the basics up to about August of 2008, but so much had happened since then, and I couldn’t wait to catch up and see what had happened with her as well.

There are two main kinds of friendships that I have in my life. One kind of friendship is the friendship of disagreement. I have quite a few friends I like because we have different perspectives on things, which can lead to very fruitful discussions. I don’t like yes people, and when I have an issue I find it beneficial to have friends who can see the situation from a different angle. We often butt heads, but we’re all strong independent people who respect one another and one another’s opinion.

The other kind of friendship I have is the friendship of one accord. There’s just something within that person that is completely in step with something in me, and vice versa. Whether we have the same religious views, prefer the same recreation, have the same ambitious spirt, or are so mentally compatible we can finish each other’s sentences, something about us goes together in such an elemental way that we can pick up exactly where we left off with no problems. This friend, Mz. Engineer, and I have a friendship of one accord.

Mz. Engineer, Mz. Independent and I had some fun times in my junior year.  We went to parties, had movie nights, met for meals, and laughed and eye rolled our way through an entire year. I met Mz. Independent at an interest activity for my sorority, and we went to her friend’s house party and met Mz. Engineer. It was almost as if we had all been friends before and had picked up an old friendship where it left off.

I didn’t get to spend much time with Mz. Engineer, and we got to spend even less with Mz. Independent, but I did notice that the three of us together just didn’t fall into place the exact same way. Mz. Engineer and I had a ball together shopping, talking, and catching up. Mz. Independent and I have some wonderful conversations and girl’s night dinners. But the three of us as a unit of friendship just wasn’t the same.

I’ve been ruminating on the reasons that friendships grow apart or break up, and one of the first things that came to mind is significant others. Who doesn’t know a friend who has disappeared since they got serious with someone else? Whether it’s because the significant other doesn’t like your friend or vice versa, that can place a big strain on the relationship, just like family members disliking them.

There’s also the issue of finding time to nurture each of the important relationships in your life. When you have a significant other, it takes time to grow that relationship. Friendships also need time to grow, even if you and your friend our friends of one accord.

I got Mz. Engineer’s number and info and plan on keeping in touch. No matter how hectic our lives are, there’s always a little time for genuine friendship and people who truly care about you.

I also want to stress the point that you shouldn’t be afraid to grow apart. You can’t be afraid to say how you feel about something for fear of losing the friendship. That doesn’t mean you can be rude or insensitive, nor does it mean you should try to force your friend to do what you want them to do. If they ask for your opinion, or there is something that you see that’s really wrong, you should be able to lovingly and with sensitivity impart that information.

I hate to see friendships ending over things that aren’t important. I cherish difference and variety in my friendships. I don’t need eighty friends who only think about their clothes and their hair and who step over me for a man or to be labeled the cute one in the group. I don’t need eighty friends who are only cerebral and are socially awkward. I don’t need eighty friends who are critical and sarcastic, nor eighty who are health freaks who want to tell me how many calories every bite of food I eat contains. Variety is the spice of life.

In your quest for balance in your life, don’t forget to make time for friends, people who have known you a long time and who still like you and aren’t trying to change you.