A couple of years ago I was given a friendship formula: Someone is a friend once you’ve hung out twice a month for three months.
I’m wondering now if there’s is a reverse equation. Is there a specific length of absence that says “we are no longer friends?”
There are some people I see and chat with once a week, at the gym for instance, who I wouldn’t call friends. And then there are people who I talk to once every four months, and see even less, who I do call friends.
A lot of that is history, of course. The friends I never talk to are still friends because of our shared past. We’ve been through stuff together, so they’ve earned the Friend title.
But what of the friends I don’t talk to anymore, and don’t expect to? At what point do they go from “friend” to “friendish person” to “a girl I was once friends with.”
To me it’s a year. If I haven’t spoken to someone (via phone or email) or seen her in a year, I’ll usually go from saying “we are good friends” to “we were good friends.” Twelve months might seem like a long stretch, but things get busy and sometimes months can go by before you realize you haven’t spoken to someone you consider near and dear.
These aren’t the friendships that end due to a blow-up or any other conscious decision, of course. In those instances, it’s quite clear when the friendship is kaput. I’m talking about the relationships that quietly fade. The ones that make you think “Huh, I guess we aren’t friends anymore.”
Even thinking about this makes me want to run to the phone. I don’t want to lose friend status with anyone just because we’ve been in a communication rut!
So what do you think? Is there a formula for no-longer friends?
Attention Nashville! I’ll be reading at Parnassus Books on Thursday, April 12 at 6:30 pm. Hope to see you there!