Thursday, January 15, 2009

Bookends


I was out with some very old friends last night. Sitting around the table at the Devonshire Arms we realised we'd all known each other for 20 years this year. We used to be a bigger group but, as children kick in and everyone races to leave London for the sticks as they suddenly realise to their horror that they're middle class and living in Walford, we have dissipated somewhat. So there's now a hardcore of us who meet every few months.

We met in 1989 and all worked together for a few years. I left in '95 when I got made redundant, the last one of us to leave was in about 2002 I think. So for all we've all been through in the past 20 years it's a testament to our friendship that we've all lasted this long. We still have plenty to talk about and our friendship has legs.

Some of the others who we used to see who come along about once every three years clearly feels our friendship has run out of steam. I get the feeling he feels that because I don't have children we now have nothing in common. In fact, only one of this hardcore group has a child, and he never bores with her. Whereas this other guy is family-obsessed. He's always been semi-hard work but at one time was one of my dearest friends. I miss him, but I think he can't deal with people who don't have children. Well they're not everyone's cup of tea are they? When I saw him last year I thought he was sullen, only there under sufferance and couldn't wait to go home.

What I'm trying to say is, you move on from friends, don't you, sometimes whether you like it or not. As soon as someone leaves London it's really hard to keep it going, much as you'd like to. So it ends up being Christmas cards or nothing at all. You can't keep up with everyone forever.

There are also those times when you realise you have nothing in common anymore, or seeing each other does not excite you like it used to. Sometimes you even make each other totally miserable. When it gets to this, it's time to say goodbye. I have some of these (no one who comes here), and this year is the year of binning off the deadwood.

I'm block booking Sarah Brightman and Andrea Bocelli.

5 comments:

Roman Empress said...

It's a difficult one. I've grown tired of a couple of friends who don't seem to have the same agenda as me, even though they're nice people. I'm settled and prefer the quiet life these days and I just feel I don't really have anything in common with their polar opposite lives. It's hard going. It's nothing personal either way, but as I have a choice who to spend my spare time with and who I don't, I well, erm, don't.

Bright Ambassador said...

I've just realised that one of my friends clearly isn't interested in me any more. I was his best man, we holidayed together, the lot. I don't know whether it's his overbearing wife or because I don't have kids and he's made a new life or what. I didn't get a Christmas card from him this year and I'll be interested to see whether a birthday card arrives. If it doesn't, well, that's obviously the end of that. Shame, never mind, as you say, we all move on.
I don't know if it's me though. The other guy I was best man for doesn't stay in touch either. Hmm...

Like you say, if you don't have kids some people find it hard to connect.

LF Barfe said...

I was taken to task at a recent gathering for not talking enough about my child. My attitude is that while I love her dearly, I don't expect anyone else to give a shit. I probably over-compensate, having seen too many good people become in-fucking-sufferable the moment they spawned.

Ishouldbeworking said...

The 'parent/non-parent' thing does seem to be the one that's caused the biggest rifts, yes. A few old friendships of mine just didn't last the distance, though by now it feels like those that HAVE lasted this far will probably remain permanent fixtures.

The other one I've found that can really jeopardise things is "when your mate who's a) been single for years or b) been with the same person for years, suddenly gets with a new partner who is obnoxious. That can REALLY mess with the dynamics!

Cocktails said...

You would think that moving countries would be likely to end friendships, but it doesn't. It's children.

I'm in my mid-30s so I'm really starting to feel the pinch. I don't actually expect to have any friends by the time I'm 40!

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