OPINION: Story Over a Cup- When does a friendship end?

Published 6:05 am Wednesday, November 10, 2021

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Michael Cole
Story Over A Cup

When do you say goodbye to a friendship?

This weekly offering will take a more somber turn than my usual columns.

I tried more lighthearted topics, but unfortunately this one keeps sticking in my head.

It is a valid question though.

We form friendships with the idea we will be hopefully forming lifelong bonds. So when do you end this bond?

I used to be of the mindset you considered a person a friend until they gave you cause not to.

However, lately, I have wondered as the holiday season approaches, and I grow closer to the half-century mark. I still have over four years, but you start to think of such things.

When does a person you consider a friend, just become an acquaintance?

Or as the song goes, “somebody that you used to know?”

Having a past in politics, I have experienced political friendships. Those are guaranteed to usually always end once you no longer are useful to a person’s political ambitions. It is amazing the number of people in politics who forget your number once you no longer serve a purpose.

A few I still keep, but for the most part, political friendships are about as permanent as snow in Southeast Texas.

So, those are a given to not last long.

Then there are work friendships. A few I have been blessed to keep long after work, but many of those also slowly die as you change jobs.

But what about childhood friendships?

I have friends who I grew up with who I thought would be returning threads in my life, who slowly faded and then ended. I guess through no fault on either of our parts, just life got in the way.

But even though we might not talk more than a couple times a year or decade, or they still friends, or “someone that I used to know”

Have they changed, have I changed? Or is this just the way things are.

As Billy Joel said, “So many faces in and out of my life Some will last, some will just be now and then; Life is a series of hellos and goodbyes I’m afraid it’s time for goodbye again.”

So are we doomed to make friends only to have them robbed from us by time?

To me, this thought makes it both sad and exciting.

Sad when I think of the fact for the most part, time and circumstance will end most friendships.

Glad of the fact this means I will meet new people and make new friends.

It also means those few friends I have had for years and years mean so much more to me. We if we are lucky will make hundreds of friends (Not the Facebook faux-friends, but the real kind.)

But those close, ride or die, thick and thin friends who stick by you in stupid mistakes, opposing football team loyalties, or even favorite drink choices; hold on to them. They are true gold.

But, I still haven’t answered my question, when does time end a friendship?

And should you let time end a friendship?

In the end, I surmise, it is a choice each one of us must make on their own.

Michael Cole is a syndicated columnist. You can follow him at www.storyoveracup.com