April Jeppson: The continuing ebb and flow of friendship

Published 7:46 pm Thursday, April 25, 2019

Every Little Thing by April Jeppson

April Jeppson


I ran into an old friend at the grocery store the other day, and we chatted for a few minutes then went our separate ways. It occurred to me later that this friend and I used to be quite close. We use to meet up often and communicate weekly. Now I only see her every once and awhile. What happened?

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Nothing happened. Nothing of huge significance. Our lives used to naturally cross paths more frequently and now we’ve simply become busy with different things. No biggie. It happens.

You’ve probably heard about the three kinds of friends; friends for a reason, friends for a season and friends for a lifetime. I believe this is fairly accurate. I also have a theory. There’s the 2-2-2 of friendship. We all have friends and are able to spend different amounts of time with each of them: two minutes chatting in a grocery store, two hours over a lunch date or two days on a girls’ weekend.

Think about it.

I have lots of people that I can chat with for a few minutes — people I genuinely like but maybe don’t know that well, don’t have that much in common with or maybe due to our schedules, that’s all the time we can sneak in.

Then you have the two-hour friends. These are people that you go out to eat with, go on playdates with and willingly invite into your home. Two hours, five hours — it doesn’t matter. You know these people well enough to chat easily and laugh. You trust them, you confide in them and these people really are the “meat and potatoes” of your friendships.

Then you have the rare unicorn two-day friends. These are people you can vacation with. You can handle their humor, eating and sleeping habits. You enjoy these people so much that they have become like family. You’ve possibly even planned out your retirement years with each other. I know that I’ve envisioned who owns the neighboring tiny houses on the beach adjacent to mine.

So my grocery store friend. We all have 24 hours in our day. When your kids are in the same activities, or you work at the same place, it is natural and easy to hang out. As your life shifts, sometimes it requires more effort to keep certain friendships alive. That’s OK. A two-hour friend might naturally move into a two-minute friend simply because that’s what works best right now. No hard feelings, life gets busy. You know that you could schedule a lunch date with them if you wanted to.

For the most part, my friendships naturally ebb and flow like the tide. Different circumstances call for different friendships. However, occasionally I make adjustments on purpose.

I believe that you become who you spend time with. I know that if I hang out with people with southern accents for too long, I somehow inherent a southern drawl. I know that if my co-workers use slang or foul language, it’s just a matter of time before I pick it up. I’ve seen it happen time and time again. So when I have a friend who is negative or complains more than I enjoy, I’m aware that this behavior is also contagious.

So at times I’ve had a friend that I’ve had to spend less time with. It’s kind of sad when you realize that you need to hang out with a friend less because they impact your mood/behavior in a negative way. However, as I’ve gotten older I no longer feel guilty for doing this. Life is short, days are busy. I do not have enough time in my day to spend it with people who bring me down.

Good news? Positive, awesome behavior is equally contagious. I’ve also taken two-minute friends who I think are amazing and given them a time upgrade. I think about the person I’m trying to become and when I meet someone who’s already there, I am like an excited puppy. Oh you like to lift weights and have a great sense of humor? I think I need more of you in my life!

Kids in school, activities, church, work — we are all busy. Busy learning, growing and hopefully becoming the best version of ourselves. Miss a friend? Send them a text or schedule a play date. Realize a friend has grown in a different direction? Be OK with seeing them less. All of our friendships provide value of some kind. Appreciate them. Love on them. And don’t be afraid to go up to a two-minute friend and tell them how awesome you think they are and invite them to lunch.

Albert Lean April Jeppson is a wife, mom, coach and encourager of dreams.