We don't choose family but we choose friends, a commonly believed theory that justified our friendship and companionship selectivity in life. We all develop inner circles throughout the years. Those circles gradually and organically shrink over time as our personalities, likes, and wants develop. In fact, with time and specifically after our mid twenties, we attract a certain type of friends who would quasi-perfectly fit into our own unique life shaped mold. We no longer solely choose friends but also gravitate towards friendships that reflect who we are as individuals and what we represent.
Sometimes, I look around and realize the many ghosted friends and acquaintances. The people who are no longer as a big part of my life as they used to be. I immediately feel a sense of culpability. Is there anything I could have done to stay in touch?...perhaps I should have made time for that lunch or coffee invitation or make additional efforts to enjoy their companionship. But the reality is that as much as I turned away from certain friendships, they also naturally turned away from me. My energy is no longer focused on making as many cool friends as I can, but rather on defining a circle of close friends who are walking my path. They might be ahead or behind me but they saw or eventually will see the world as I see it today. More than that, the time It took me to assess people diminished considerably. We all have people skills, which are constantly evolving mainly thanks to our deceptions. We can better see those traits that can make a person worth the time and effort to be a lifelong friend.
Most importantly, a healthy friendship gravitation happens towards friends who have your best interest in mind, and give back. Giving back, to me, is the most important trait of a true friend. Giving back with a listening ear, a helping hand, or simply by being kind and treating your friends with respect. It solidifies any relationship, not just friendships.
Now, listening and exposing yourself to people with different views, wants, different levels of ambitions is nurturing in many ways and healthy as well. But that is certainly not a friendship we would naturally be attracted to. Life has enough challenges and opportunities to seize, spending time fitting in or pivoting from your maturely developed way of life will be a waste of energy and might create unnecessary additional stress.
To all the healthy, fulfilling, honest, and meaningful friendships out there!