The last time I made things awkward was during my recent birthday lunch. I had made plans to meet up with one of the three longest friendships I have. We had met when I had started my first job in the current field I work in. He and I started on the same day, he as a student assistant and I as a full time worker meant only to be a back-up to someone more senior. As it tends to work in my life, by a twist of fate, I ended up becoming a senior and worked there for nine and a half years before gathering the courage to leave my dependable yet boring job. There had been many factors keeping me there starting with stability, health benefits and the family friendly schedule.
We connected pretty easily when we first met and hung out a lot and talked for hours. Being able to talk to each other was always the trademark of our friendship. We have never dated over the last 18 years we have known each other. A lot of people do not believe that but it is true. We have walked each other through many a difficult relationship. There was a time we used to share a lot of tmi with each other. Those days are long gone. These days if I see him twice a year that is a lot. It usually consists of a birthday, usually mine.
During my birthday lunch we superficially updated each other on our lives. He plans to change jobs and I hope to be cancer free (test results pending). The ease and familiarity with each we talk is and was there but it dawned on me that we are no longer close. I know as we get older that is common among friendships but it doesn’t mean I like it. I said something to that effect toward the end of our meal, just after he had paid. The awkwardness that followed my proclamation that we were not friends in the real sense he countered with ok, so we are like family and have to endure each other. A small pause on my part before I countered we are friends but not as close as we used to be and I have learned to work with it. The interactions after this conversation were tense but friendly enough. We walked toward midtown Manhattan and took a selfie before he returned to work and I continued onto my next event on my list, drinks and a movie with my youngest sister.