I saw a meme the other day and the message was pretty basic--
If you can’t take a minute out of your day to say hi to me, then I’m not making time for you in my life.
Period. The end.
I get it, in theory.
If life were black and white, all good or all bad, all happy or all sad, all easy or all hard, then it would make sense to apply that logic to a friendship.
But, most of life happens within the gray—the space between black and white.
And I am a gray friend.
Sometimes I am a bad friend.
Sometimes I am a good friend.
Sometimes I forget to text back my friends.
Sometimes I check in with them when it really counts.
Sometimes I mean to reach out and say hi and then before I know it, I’m crawling into bed at the end of the day, my mind filled to the brim with all the things I didn’t get done.
Sometimes I show up.
Sometimes I decide deliberately to not reach out because it’s all I can do to keep the lid on my emotions from bubbling over.
Sometimes I let that lid go and reach out anyways.
Yes, I am a gray friend—but that doesn’t mean I don’t love the people in my life. It just means that sometimes life is more complicated than a simple meme, more complicated than bad or good, more complicated than right or wrong.
Sometimes life just is weird and amazing, messy and wonderful, full of grief and full of joy. All of those things—all at the same time. And so, friendships can be all of those things too.
Younger me didn’t get it—but older me gets it now.
Now I try to give my friends some grace about living in the gray.
Just because they don’t return a text or don’t reach out to say hi might not mean they don’t like me. It might mean they are too busy right now. It might mean they are struggling. It might mean they need to take a break from peopling. It might mean they forgot. It might mean one of the million of reasons that exist in the gray.
So, I’ll keep on not keeping score and trying to give the important people the benefit of life’s gray spaces . . .
And I’ll keep hoping people do the same for me.
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Relationships take effort and need to continuously be renegotiated over the years. These articles explore friendships and romantic partnerships - both their importance and how to improve them.