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Growing up, holding on to friends, and the beauty of low-maintenance friendships

Growing up, holding on to friends, and the beauty of low-maintenance friendships

  • When it comes to low-maintenance friendships, Carole King put it best. “All you have to do is call, and I’ll be there.”
Low-maintenance friendships header unsplash nolisoliph

Forming low-maintenance friendships is the self-care secret I never knew I had. To put it bluntly, I’m a high-maintenance person. Much like orchids, I require a lot of care and attention to keep blooming. But in the friendship department—surprisingly—not so much. 

Like most extroverts, I felt myself physically wilt during the panorama (again, I refuse to type out the “p” word). Instead of my regular routine of being out and about, forced confinement left me feeling all sorts of ways—and none of them positive. For a period of time, I shut down. I didn’t know how to transition all my physical world friendships to the online world, and I didn’t bother finding out. 

Low-maintenance lifesaving 

It wasn’t until one of my best friends from college reached out to me that I realized how out of touch with the rest of the known world I’d become. Our joke was always “For two high-maintenance girls, we have the lowest-maintenance friendship known to man.” I didn’t know it at the time, but I was actually spiraling downwards. Her little check-up brought me back.

Talking to my friend felt like a ray of sunlight coming through the clouds. I didn’t know it was a cloudy day and her check-up shone through like the sun. It’s SUPER cheesy but that’s the only way I can describe it. Photo by Timo Volz on Unsplash

While yes, friendships do require a lot of work, there are just some friendships that are the “set it and forget it until it’s ready” type. For myself and this specific friend who unknowingly pulled me out of my spiral, we used to see each other every day. We were blockmates in college and groupmates in almost everything. 

And then, like with most things, life gets in the way. 

We graduated, started working in different fields, but pre-pan de coco, always saw each other for a catch-up session when work allowed. Fundamentally speaking, our friendship had changed. Instead of constant physical companionship, we ended up being there for each other in spirit. As time passed and changed us, it changed our friendship, too. And in my opinion, for the better. 

Aging like fine wine (or cheese, if that’s what you’re into)

A big part of growing up is realizing that your relationships with others will change. An even bigger part of growing up is accepting that. This virus-driven house arrest has taught us many lessons, and chief among them is holding on to what matters to us. What I personally realized is the importance of how we hold on to those things. 

If you hold on too tightly to glass, it’ll shatter in your hand, hurt you, and the people around you. The same thing happens when you hold on too tightly to other people. Photo by Hermes Rivera on Unsplash

When we realize that something we care deeply about is about to go flying out the window, our first instinct is to clutch on to it as tightly as possible. But there should be some variation on how we hold on to what’s dear. If we hold on to things too tightly, there’s a tendency it might break. Knowing how to treat other people is exactly the same. If we hold on to others with a death grip, they’ll want to cut and run. But if we find the right balance, it’ll stay, grow, and even get better. 

Low-maintenance friends aren’t always there, but they’re always there when you need them. © 2020. Hinge Inquirer Publications, Inc.


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