You've probably seen your fair share of them: posts about friends who don't always respond or friends who haven't texted or reached out frequently enough. Especially during the pandemic, I've noticed a rise in these posts about knowing who your "real" friends are during a time where everyone is stuck at home. Far too many of these posts jump to the conclusion that friends who may not have reached out for a while or who don't talk very frequently just aren't "real" friends or don't care enough -- it's easy to get into the mindset that they would just reach out if they really care. Even so, do we really need to drop every friend who doesn't always speak to us regularly?
Even during the pandemic, I've found that keeping up friendships doesn't always require talking or meeting up on a regular basis. I know that might sound weird at first, but many people in my life who I consider good friends aren't necessarily people that I talk to every day. In fact, I have some long-time friendships lasting from elementary or middle school that are still going strong today, and it's not because we meet up all the time or constantly reach out together. Some of my best friendships are built on a mutual understanding of each other. We both understand that the other person may not always be up to talk or might be busy -- this understanding has been particularly important in keeping up friendships despite going to different schools and often living in different states.
Some of my best and oldest friends are people that I don't always get to see or talk to very often -- the key is that we don't hold it against each other. We know that we might not always be able to talk or we might not be in the mood to talk, and we don't expect each other to be reaching out all the time. Maybe on the surface, it seems hard to keep up a friendship that way, but these are actually people that I still feel like I can talk to anytime. Most importantly, when we do get to see each other, we still feel completely comfortable with each other. My closest friends are people who wouldn't get mad if I forget to respond one time or don't initiate conversation for a period of time -- and I wouldn't be upset at them for these things either. If we know each other well enough, we can remain close friends without worrying about who's texting first or whether or not the other person "cares" enough based on how often they reach out.
Before you decide that someone isn't a real friend because you haven't talked or met up in a while, think again about what kind of friendship you have with that person and whether or not you really need to be talking all the time to keep up a friendship. The fact is that we all have our own lives, even outside of our closest friends. We may not be able to dedicate every day to our friends, but sometimes the best friendships are defined by our ability to remain just as close even if we don't always get the chance to see each other.