It strikes me that Marie Kondo’s method of assessing whether or not to keep a belonging–“does it spark joy?” works extremely well for relationships of all kinds–including friendships. That thought came up as I rested after recent surgery, considering the hundreds of virtual strangers–Facebook friends–who sent me well wishes and also considering several people I thought were close to me who made only a cursory outreach, if even that.
First, let me assure you
that I had no shortage of really good friends who called, visited, emailed, texted, sent cards or flowers, cooked chicken soup, and offered help. One “broke in” to surgical prep by pretending to be my son, then sat with my husband, while another arrived when I was out of recovery. I felt loved and cared for in such a big way.
But I was reminded of a discussion I had with my late BFF about how surprised she was at the disappearance of several close friends during her illness. It’s an artifact that others have talked about, too, and I’d always thought that the root was discomfort with serious illness.
But maybe that wasn’t it, at all.
When someone doesn’t take time to reach out in a meaningful way to offer support and love, it may well be that the relationship has run its course. Maybe it’s a decades-long friendship or maybe something newer–it really doesn’t matter. People come into our lives for a reason or a season and not everyone goes the distance with us.
There are always signals along the way, even if we pretend not to see them.
I have had my share of strange friendships, I’ll grant you that. My tolerance for the strange in people has always been great. But maybe those days are over. As I looked back at the friends who were there for me and those who weren’t, I asked myself, “Does this friendship spark joy?”
Mostly what friends who are not there spark is curiosity. Confusion. And then, finally, re-categorization.
Because if a relationship doesn’t spark joy, it doesn’t belong in our lives.
That’s what I think, what do YOU think?