Beyond the Pages: Friend Breakups

Beyond the Pages is my way of sharing the things books make me think about and interact with and want to talk about shared experiences with people. Some of my best conversations have happened because of something that came up in a book. I’m pretty personal in my reviews but I’d like a way to not bog down my review with a huge paragraph of personal experience so this is my way to be able to share it. Some times it will be serious and sometimes just random and fun but I hope we can connect! PAST Beyond the Pages here!

 

 

The book that inspired this conversation:

A Sense of the Infinite Hilary T. Smith

A Sense of the Infinite by Hilary T. Smith
(Goodreads // Amazon)

What It Is About:

It’s senior year of high school, and Annabeth is ready—ready for everything she and her best friend, Noe, have been planning and dreaming. But there are some things Annabeth isn’t prepared for, like the constant presence of Noe’s new boyfriend. Like how her relationship with her mom is wearing and fraying. And like the way the secret she’s been keeping hidden deep inside her for years has started clawing at her insides, making it hard to eat or even breathe. But most especially, she isn’t prepared to lose Noe. For years, Noe has anchored Annabeth and set their joint path. Now Noe is drifting in another direction, making new plans and dreams that don’t involve Annabeth. Without Noe’s constant companionship, Annabeth’s world begins to crumble. But as a chain of events pulls Annabeth further and further away from Noe, she finds herself closer and closer to discovering who she’s really meant to be—with her best friend or without.

What It Got Me Thinking About:

friend breakups, how friends grow apart, how friendships change over the years

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I think when I was younger I thought one of the most painful experiences you could go through was a unrequited love or a breakup with your 6th grade boyfriend but it wasn’t until I hit high school and beyond that I realized two of the most heart-wrenching things in my life would be friend breakups, shifts in friendships and growing apart from friends to the point where you they feel like strangers to you.

I think that’s one of the things A Sense of the Infinite did so well — it chronicled these shifts and that slow drifting apart we can have with even our best friend. It showed how sometimes you realize that a friendship doesn’t quite fit anymore but nobody wants to make a move. I think it was poignant in how the rose colored glasses come off when you recognize the first real crack and how you see things for what they really are. I have definitely experienced all that.

When I was in middle school I had just moved to a new school and new town and I met my best friend in 8th grade. We were THOSE type of best friends who did everything together and preferred to be with each other to everyone else. We had the most inside jokes and it was like a head over heels love affair those 2 years of our friendship. And then I went to high school and she was still a year behind in middle school and, even though we lived 6 houses down, everything slowly shifted to the point that when she finally came to the high school the cracks were far too large. It ended with her dating a boy I knew was trouble and her doing things we swore we would never do — differences I couldn’t get over at the time. That friend breakup was the hardest. SHE WAS MY EVERYTHING. My partner in crime. We were ~friendly~ the rest of high school but it was SO different and that was almost the hardest part. We’ve since seen each other once as adults and we are cool. I’d love to rekindle that friendship but we live so far apart now it doesn’t make sense. I’m happy that she’s happy and I can look at our good memories with fondness rather than bitterness.

More recently as an adult I did a friend breakup with a whole group of people that were a mix of a core group from high school and then some college friends we met and brought into the group. I still get sad about it sometimes but honestly I’m more relieved than everything despite the fact my former bff and college roomie and I have drifted so far apart as a result of me not being part of the GROUP anymore. It was one of those things where they were sole people that I hung out with. It was a mix of guys and girls and I had the most fun with them. But there were THINGS that I think I always recognized even in the height of my friendship with them but just ignored for years and years. After we graduated the drifting really happened even though we all still mostly lived near each other and hung out pretty much every weekend.

[Keep Reading]

Beyond the Pages: That Thing I Regret Not Having

Beyond the Pages is my way of sharing the things books make me think about and interact with and want to talk about shared experiences with people. Some of my best conversations have happened because of something that came up in a book. I’m pretty personal in my reviews but I’d like a way to not bog down my review with a huge paragraph of personal experience so this is my way to be able to share it. Some times it will be serious and sometimes just random and fun but I hope we can connect! PAST Beyond the Pages here!

 

 

The book that inspired this conversation:

The Start of Me and You Emery Lord

The Start Of Me & You by Emery Lord
(Goodreads // Amazon)

What It Is About:

“It’s been a year since it happened—when Paige Hancock’s first boyfriend died in an accident. After shutting out the world for two years, Paige is finally ready for a second chance at high school . . . and she has a plan. First: Get her old crush, Ryan Chase, to date her—the perfect way to convince everyone she’s back to normal. Next: Join a club—simple, it’s high school after all. But when Ryan’s sweet, nerdy cousin, Max, moves to town and recruits Paige for the Quiz Bowl team (of all things!) her perfect plan is thrown for a serious loop. Will Paige be able to face her fears and finally open herself up to the life she was meant to live?”

 

What I said about itScreenshot at Mar 17 21-33-26

What It Got Me Thinking About:

girl friends, friend groups, my life choices

Image1fdsfOne of the best things about The Start of Me and You is the girl power. The main character has a close-knit group of 4 girls and I LOVED what a healthy, important friendship they all had. They were there for each other in big and small ways, knew each other like they knew themselves, worked through issues, had TONS of fun together, etc. But as I was reading I grew JEALOUS. And a bit wistful as I thought about my past. WHY? (Besides the fact Emery Lord just has a knack for writing enviable friendships).

Because I never had that.

Sure, in elementary school and maybe even early middle school I had lots of girl friends and we had sleepovers and such but I never had a close-knit group of girl friends like portrayed in this book that stood the test of time. When high school came I found myself making closer friendships with guys and caring more about those. I was almost PROUD to be the chick with all the guy friends? Proud that I was “above” all the petty girl stuff? And college was the same way. I gained MORE girl friends but mostly that was due to dorm living. I had my best friend and a handful of other girls that hung out in our general group but more often than not it was me + like 10 other guys. I didn’t foster close relationships with other ladies because I saw them as petty, too fickle, etc. I wrote them off easily because it was easier to “be one of the guys” even though I totally was a girly girl and there was a lot of NON-platonic feelings always happening (but THAT’s a separate topic for another day). It’s sad because, when I reflect on college especially, I had some really great girls in my life who were there for me and I had so much fun with but for whatever reason I liked my place among the dudes and that attention more than I cared to truly form a closer bond with the girls.

I think if there’s one thing I actually regret in life it’s not taking the time to see the value in having girlfriends and taking care of those relationships.

Now, here I am as an adult, and I wish had a close-knit group of ladies. I’ve seen how empowering female friendships can be over the years and have met some ladies here in this community who have taught me that through these past 5 years. They have been there for me and have shown me how valuable these relationships are in my life. I read YA and I see friendships like this and I’m just JEALOUS and full of regret. WHY, PAST JAMIE, DID YOU NOT CARE ABOUT YOUR LADY FRIENDS?

I mean, let’s be real, friendship isn’t always easy. I think maybe I didn’t like the hard work it DID take sometimes. It was easier to dismiss pettiness and drama and flock to the dudes who seemed to not have that. But what I didn’t get from MOST of those guys? That intimate sort of sisterhood you have among girlfriends. DEEP relationships where things of substance were talked about and the highs/lows of life were shared, shoulders to cry on, endless hours dissect life’s craziness, etc. I LOVED the easy nature of all that that I DID have amongst the girl friends I did have. I just don’t know why I didn’t see more value in that before.

But, here we are. I cannot go back. It might be harder to make friends now as a married lady but I’m working on it. I see the value. I crave those friendships. Maybe in my future I will find a kickass group of ladies to hang out with. Maybe not (I have major fears that people at my age are already set with their friend groups/friends). Who knows! But I know that my girl friends, the ones I have and the ones I will meet, are going to be more important than I ever made them back in high school and college. I might regret not making more of an effort but I am certainly not going to let myself regret it again 10 years from now.

 

 

Thoughts on anything I wrote? Did you/do you have a close knit of girl friends that you hang out with? Or were you “one of the guys” like I was? If you have/had close girlfriends please tell me about them so I can live vicariously!! 🙂

Beyond the Pages: You Mean I Have To Work At This?

Beyond the Pages is my way of sharing the things books make me think about and interact with and want to talk about shared experiences with people. Some of my best conversations have happened because of something that came up in a book. I’m pretty personal in my reviews but I’d like a way to not bog down my review with a huge paragraph of personal experience so this is my way to be able to share it. Some times it will be serious and sometimes just random and fun but I hope we can connect! PAST Beyond the Pages here!

 

 

The book that inspired this conversation:

Landline Rainbow Rowell

Landline by Rainbow Rowell
(Goodreads // Amazon)

What It Is About:

Oh you guys! This is one of my favorite books of the year so far! I read it in January and I still can’t stop thinking about it and need to buy myself a copy to re-read it. Rainbow Rowell’s second adult book is about a marriage that has been off for some time and she knows it has been. It’s not an issue of not loving each other but between jobs and kids and all somehow it just has gotten a little lost. When they are a few days out from leaving for Omaha for Christmas, Georgie has a huge work opportunity arise and she has to stay in LA for it. She assumes they’ll all just stay home but is surprised when Neal decides he and the kids are still going. Scared of what this implies, Georgie wonders if it has all fallen apart for good and if/how she can fix it….until she’s given an opportunity to talk to Neal in the past.

What I said about it:Rainbow Rowell continues her trend of being able to write poignantly and candidly about all sorts of love. I loved that, while this was partly a story about a love going wrong, it’s also a story about falling back in love and remembering the first time you fell in love with that person as well…especially in the face of maybe losing it all. She makes love just come alive and feel true.” You can read more of my thoughts about it here!

What It Got Me Thinking About:

relationships (marriage & friendships), not being passive in relationships, how much “work” relationships take, my own relationships

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There’s a lot of things Landline gave me to think about while reading it and after but one of the biggest things is how much care, commitment and “work” needs to go into a relationship — any kind of relationship. In Landline, the marriage was not dissolving because of necessarily huge things but these small, tiny moments. Little decisions that happened daily and were almost unnoticeable until one day you look up and realize,” WOW how did we end up like this?”

I’ve only been married for almost two years but I could see how easy it would be to get to this point. To get too complacent. Take things foregranted, unintentionally stop TRYING and let it all slip away. I think it’s easy to become passive in a relationship and not even realize it — to just let it BE and not do all the things to cultivate and nurture that relationship.

When I was younger I used to always say, “it shouldn’t take this much work to have this friendship/relationship.” And yes, in some cases it shouldn’t be THAT hard and shouldn’t constantly FEEL like work. But I think what I always thought was that relationships shouldn’t ever take work. That they should just naturally be. Maybe I was just too young to quite get it yet or maybe I was just mistaking what WORK meant in regards to relationships. But I truly believe that any good relationship worth having requires a certain degree of “work”. We must be active in maintaining it and nurturing it. Taking care of it. Not just putting it on cruise control or auto-pilot. I’m not saying we need to constantly be doing this but I think, as I reflect on my marriage already, I need to be mindful. It’s easy to slip into patterns, to stop communicating, to stop trying, to ignore things, stop making an effort to love each other. To just settle into the marriage and think it’s going to work because we love each other and smooth sailing from there.

It shouldn’t be all work.  I’m not saying that. There’s a bigger problem there, I think, if all you are doing IS working on it. But I think we are doing a disservice to our important relationships if we don’t realize that they DO take some degree of work and nurturing and caring for. They need us to be intentional and active participants.

And it’s not even just marriages. It’s friendships too. I think of so many great friendships that just faded away because both parties just STOPPED — for no reason. It happened by letting the communication stop, by not being active in engaging that relationship and letting life get in the way. I never meant for it to happen but it did before I realized it. And sure, that’s life, sometimes friendships are going to naturally fade but I think too often we are passive in relationships and don’t put in the work without even meaning to. I know I do and I’m realizing that.

I’m resolving to work harder at my relationships and be more intentional. Too many valued friendships have slipped away and I also don’t want to, years from now, being in a situation similar to Georgie and Neal in my marriage wondering how I got there — feeling surprised by it. I don’t want to look back and see all the small things that made us seemingly end up on different planets and know that I could have helped it.

Here are 3 things I’m going to do in my relationships starting today:

Marriage:

1. Go on a date at least once a month: I think one of the biggest things I’ve already seen about marriage is how easy it is to ALWAYS sit in our jams and flop on the couch. And yes, I do love that time and it’s valuable to us. But it’s easy to stop dating each other when you get married. Like really, really easy. Our dates don’t have to be expensive or anything crazy but I do want to make it a point for them to be a planned, specific date. I’d like for us to rotate who plans the date.

2. Stop eating dinner on the couch: We’ve gotten in a really bad habit of eating dinner while catching up on one of our shows. If we ever have a family this is something I do not want to EVER happen. I grew up with family dinners that slowly faded to everyone just eating on their own or in front of the tv. I started to miss those conversations and catching up. So I will clear off our kitchen table (which is half filled with books) and we will eat dinners together and use that time to talk. No phones, no tv on, no laptops.

3. Find an activity or a project for us to do together: I used to love when we’d go to the gym together but my interest in Pilates kind of ruined that and that’s okay. He works out with a friend now, which is good for him, and I do an exercise that I really enjoy more than the gym. But I loved that we had SOMETHING we did together. We have so many activities that we do separately (not to mention when we both get in our own little worlds..him with video games and me with blogging) and that is important but I want to find something to do TOGETHER.

Friendships:

1. Get better at communication: Here’s the thing about me. I suck at keeping in contact. I’m real bad at answering texts. I hate talking on the phone. I’m the worst at answering emails. It’s not that I don’t WANT to talk to you (sometimes I’m just not in the mood to socialize with ANYONE or I’m busy/in the middle of something). But I’m just not good at keeping in touch — a few friends aside. But I’ve come to realize it’s an excuse. Not because I secretly hate people. I don’t know what it’s an excuse for but I know that I can work at it*. I just have dismissed everything as “well, I suck at keeping in contact” without really taking steps to be better at it. I truly am not a person who needs constant communication to know we are friends (I have a few great friendships where that’s mutual) but I’ve also gotten in the bad habit of just NOT communicating. And the worst part? I’m not very good at initiating the communication. I let months slip away without saying anything. I’ve got a lot to work on here — answering communication and initiating it. Especially the initiating.

2. Make plans: I also suck at making plans. See, here’s the thing. When I’m with people and spending time with a friend, it’s great! I love it! But the actual thought of making plans? I am the worst. I’m lazy. I’m never the person to ask anyone to hang out because I honestly am so content with doing my own thing or hanging with Will. I know I’ll always be glad I did it (like I normally AM) but there’s this period from the making of plans until I get there where I’m like WAHHH CAN I JUST SIT HOME PLEASE?

3. Do something nice for a friend: Because I’ve gotten in this cycle where I don’t really initiate contact or make plans with people, I’ve slipped into some selfish habits that I didn’t even realize. I used to be the friend who always looked for ways to genuinely do nice things for my friends — a way to encourage them,  to make their day, make a birthday special, help their broken heart, etc. I just stopped. I stopped being thoughtful. And I feel like a shitty person. I’m going to make an effort to be intentional about this once a month until I’ve gotten myself out of whatever weird funk I’m in.

* I think a lot of my issues with friendships is due to some past friendships. Maybe I’m just trying to protect myself by just not taking the risk of nurturing friendships? I don’t know.

 

 

What do you think? Do you think relationships take work? Have you experienced this first hand? Am I the only one who struggles with this? If you’ve read Landline did Georgie and Neal’s story resonate with you in any way?

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