The turnover of friends
When talking about occupations or jobs in general, the word “turnover” is often used to refer to the amount of employees who leave a company each year. A high turnover rate can give people a negative view of a company.
The “seven-year itch” describes the tendency for a man in a relationship or in a marriage to become bored with his partner after a period of (on average) seven years, and as a result, will resort to cheating on his partner, or ending his relationship. Why this seems to mainly refer to men, I don’t know. It’s something that has been deduced from social and psychological studies, and has also been applied to the duration of friendships.
The simple way of putting this is: “if a friendship lasts more than seven years, it will last a lifetime”. Some people were asked to complete a study with a summary of their friendships, and when asked seven years later, most of their friends were different, while only a few remained the same. Despite this study, people have deemed the statement as false, because of reasons like a friend passing away, a friend moving to another country, or something as simple as “she betrayed me” or “we just drifted apart, even though we had known each other for so long”. It should also be noted that quantity does not equal quantity, and from my own experience I can say that I have known some friends for a long period of time but feel like I don’t really know anything about them at all – and others I have known for not much more than a year, but feel like I’ve known them my whole life.
I look back on my own lost friendships that have lasted almost seven years, and an existing one, in particular, which has lasted about thirteen. A lot of friendships develop because you are in the same situation or environment – school, extracurricular activities, work. Not many people really go out of their way to make friends, or at least, not many people go to a bar really hoping to meet the love of their life or someone who will be their friend for a really long time.
I have known my best girlfriend Lilian since the beginning of high school when we were both eleven years old. Twenty-four years old now, this relationship is an example of something I know needs nurturing and care from both sides. A friendship, above all, is a two-way street, and when that street turns into one, it can be easy for a friend to be lost.
Coincidentally, I was in a relationship for almost seven years before it ended. Although a friendship started before the relationship began and we had been friends for over seven years, we don’t really talk to each other now.
I knew someone else since I was fourteen, and broke ties with them eight years later. There was a several-year period during which we lost touch. I don’t believe I referred to them as my friend during that time.
I refer to a lot of friends from my childhood or teenage-hood as “my primary school friend” or “my high school friend” or “my friend from dance school”. I’ve since lost touch with them, and although we had the best of times then, they are no longer my friends now. I don’t interact with them enough – or at all – to be able to comfortably call them my friend. Nothing ended bitterly or badly – just simply that we moved on.
Sometimes, all sorts of people in our lives will move on, no matter how close or not-so-close we are to them, and that can happen at any given time. I can say I have zero friends from the first half of my life, and that I lose x friends each year, and I can count on my fingers the number of friends I have, and maybe even guess how many I’ll lose this year…
They say time will tell, but many of us know that a good friendship knows no bounds.