Sometimes I think I’ve made a really good connection with a friend, but time and life get in the way. For most of my life up until maybe a few years ago, I used to be one of those people who would say, “We should keep in touch; let’s meet up soon,” even though I fully knew that we probably would not keep in touch. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to. I was just a pessimist at heart and also didn’t want to get my hopes up. Nowadays I pride myself in the real effort I put into keeping in touch with people I care about. I hated it when people flaked on me or when people say “let’s meet up” even though they didn’t really mean it – so I should give it my all to NOT be that person.

Sadly, just because I’m willing to give it my all in order to avoid being “that” person, it doesn’t prevent other people from being like that. But I realize that it’s okay. I’ve tried my best and the rest falls on the other person since it’s a two-way street. Although sad, if the other person just wasn’t able to put enough effort into it, that’s just how things are and it’s a sign of how high on the priority list you are to them. It doesn’t mean that you should give up just yet, because everyone deserves other opportunities to try again. When it happens for long enough that it fades away, however, it’s probably okay to let go. How long is “too long” really depends on yourself and the strength of your relationship.

The last few vacations from school (namely, Thanksgiving break and winter break) triggered me to think about all of this. Grad school is incredibly time consuming and it really leaves me available only one evening out of the whole week – zero nights if exam time is too overwhelming. As you would imagine, that makes it really difficult to see anyone besides my classmates, my boyfriend, and my family. When vacation came rolling along, I made sure to make plans with the people I wanted to keep in touch with and well in advance, even if it meant a video chat or a phone call. That left me with a fully occupied vacation and kind of shed light on the special people that made an effort to do the same for me. It also shed light on the people that are still special to me, but disappointingly didn’t put in enough effort to make it work.

I’ve kept a really special connection with a friend whom I would never have expected to have one with – we were no more than acquaintances in the last year of high school. I’ve kept connections with some of my really good friends and it’s amazing how hard we work to keep in touch. At the same time, I’ve also lost connection with some people. My efforts for a phone call or a message even seemed out of reach. Despite their (plural, since I’m referring to more than one friend) planned visit home for a couple of weeks, they managed to hit me up last minute to let me know they were actually in town and failed to make it happen. Maybe if I were more free it would have been easy to work out, but that’s not the case and that’s why I’m disappointed they decided to contact me as an afterthought. I get to see them perhaps once a year or less nowadays, but the one time they come home to visit, I was a last minute kind of thought. I’m grateful to have been in their thoughts at all at least, but let me remind you these are people I thought I had a really special connection with. And as disappointing as that is, it’s just how life is. You get to witness the people who surprise you with their love and dedication, and you get to witness the people who disappoint you with the lack of effort.

As I get older and we are all becoming occupied with work, school, and careers, I realize how important it is to 1) plan things majorly in advance for it work out and 2) keep the people you care about somewhere in the edges of your mind (for lack of better wording right now) so that you don’t lose sight of them. It’s really easy to lose sight of someone and let go if you don’t do that.