I recently ran into a high school friend of mine. We had lunch together and got caught up. After high school, I had left town, gone to college, and became a long-time officer in the Army. I then got married and started a business. Abby, my friend never left town, works as a clerk at a local store, and hasn’t done much with his life. He wants us to keep in touch, but I don’t really feel like we would have much to talk about. Am I being overly judgmental here, or is this friendship okay to let go?
Cornered in Conyers
Mom and dad often talk about the friends they left behind in Seattle when we moved to Vegas. I left many friends, too. When we moved, mom and dad made lots more friends, and so did I! There is always more room in your life for more friends, and things like texting, phone calls, and Facebook make it easy to catch up and stay current.
Mom talked to me about one friend she had made all the way back in Junior High School. I remember her because we did lots of walkies together and often doggy sat for her. Her doggy has crossed the rainbow bridge, and she was one of my best friends, and I miss her. Mom and her friend do not really talk anymore, not because we moved or they are mad at each other, but because their lives and their attitudes are very different. This is OK. People grow and change and often will grow apart.
More to your point, dad said to quote a man named Jim Rohn who said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” This applies to income, attitude, and success. Mom says that her friend is sad a lot because she makes very bad choices. She does not live in her own home and she does not have a career at all. Her friend gets mad toward and jealous of those who choose differently. Mom says that she still loves her friend, but it is not healthy for her to be close anymore. Her friend has not made any effort to stay in touch, so mom just let her go. She still thinks of her fondly and prays for her and her family, but she knows that it would not be healthy to be around her.
I am a dog, so I am lucky that my five closest friends are my mom and dad, my two kitties, and anyone who is as happy to see me as I am to see them. Because I am the sum of my five closest friends, I am happy almost all of the time.
If your friend makes you happy, that is great. If your friend makes you sad, then he is not much of a friend at all. If your friend is reaching out to you as a mentor or a role model, this is really, really cool. Maybe he knows about the five closest people thing, and he looks up to you. You can help lift him up. If he just considers you a friend because you lived in the same town or went to the same school, well, that is not enough. He will recognize it and will probably back away, too.
People are not really that much more complicated than dogs. If you look around at the people you spend the most time with, and you realize that they are not good for you, then you are not even as smart as a dog. We dogs look around, and while we do not always have a choice as to where we live and who we live with (like humans do) we know who makes us happy and fulfilled. Whether it is drive, intelligence, fun, patience, or a common goal, friends that walk the same path are very important. You can always wave at friends that are walking different paths, but you do not have to jump to their path.