The old saying is that you can choose your friends but you can’t choose your family (picture from grammarly.com).
Last week I met up with two girlfriends that I have known for 30 years. We joined Waitrose together when we were in our early 20s, and whilst we don’t see each other often we have stayed in touch ever since and would, I think, still describe ourselves as close. When we meet our lives feel better for it.
So you can’t perhaps choose who you meet, but you can choose who you stay in touch with. And as I have got older my time seems more precious, so choosing to stay in touch with people who bring me joy feels important.
A couple of years ago I went to see a comedian who was talking about the realisation, as he turned 50, that his life was finite (it was funnier than it sounds, honest!) and so he only had a certain number of summer holidays left, a certain number of books he would have time to read, social outings he would be able to take part in and so on. The result of this revelation was that he wanted to choose wisely how he spent his time.
I used to feel obliged to finish a book if I had started it, even if I didn’t like it. I’ve stopped choosing that sense of obligation. Life is too short! But a harder obligation to un choose perhaps is about the people we spend our time with.
Young children seem to do this easily: in their early days of school my children had different best friends often! But as we get older it seems harder to do. The thought, as an Adult, of telling someone that you don’t want to be their friend any more is almost unthinkable, (it would be a real moment to embrace Will Schutz challenge to be 1% more honest!).
Whilst we may not have the clarity of process of a 5 year old in the playground, we are still choosing who we spend our time with and so we can choose to make sure that those relationships are rewarding and fulfilling. That could mean reshaping them so the relationship works better for where both parties are now, or reminding ourselves of the value in that relationship that we may have forgotten. Or, like reading a book that you are not enjoying, it could be time to leave that friendship behind.
Would love to know your thoughts on choosing your friends, and because the comments box has now been fixed (hurrah!) so you can just write in it without any palaver it’s really easy to drop me a line and start a conversation.
Look forward to hearing from you on this or any other Choose You moments!