Earlier this week, I answered a letter from a woman who was feeling conflicted about a thirty-year friendship. The friend in question, whom she’d known since she was a baby, had been cheating on her husband and just making all-around terrible life choices for her and her young son. This prompted a bit of debate in the comments about whether she should dump the friend or stick by her side.
I got an email from a reader who wanted to see this topic discussed more in-depth in an open thread, so here we are. She wrote: “It would be interesting to see how people select friends and how they decide the friendships are no longer working. Do people support their friends regardless of their personal choices and behaviors? Do they instead only maintain friendships with people similar to themselves? Do they base their value in a friendship on length, comfort (ability to confide), availability (when the other person is consistently available to spend time with them), common interests, etc?”
So, what say you? How do you decide whom to befriend and which long-time friendships to continue investing in? Is it simply a matter of shared values, similar lifestyles, and availability? Do you stick with people you’ve known forever, no matter how dissimilar your lives become? Do you try to find friends who fit different roles in your life? And what do you do when a friend starts doing stupid shit, like cheating on her husband and moving her young son into so sketchy man’s home? Inquiring minds want to know!
* If you’ve got a suggestion for a future open thread topic, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.