#10: Pattern of Short-Term Relationships

Posted on July 19, 2013



Not everyone is fortunate enough to be able to have relationships from their childhoods.

 I have several-but very few- friends from my childhood that I still keep in touch with. Because of distance, work schedules, and life responsibilities, we are now Facebook friends only and I get to interact with them just through status updates.  

A woman I know is still close friends with some of her elementary school friends! I will admit that I’m a little jealous that she gets to share stories of her own children with the people with whom she was once a child. I’ve always wondered what it would be like to have the same friends for over 20 years and to grow up and live in the same town all throughout one’s life (although I will say that I’ve been told I’m romanticizing this and it’s actually quite difficult). Another woman I know is married to someone she was friends with in middle school.  She and her husband still keep up with some of their friends from 7th grade, too!

{As for me, I lived in 4 different states by the time I was 6 and my family could never stay put in one place for very long. This has made keeping life-long relationships challenging, but I’m happy to say that I have a handful of friends from high school and college with whom I keep in touch with regularly and whom I hope never publicly post pictures from that time. } 

Regardless of how or where you grew up, I’m sure you know what I mean when I say that it’s challenging to keep up with people over time. Whether you moved around a lot like I did growing up or you stayed in the same town, life circumstances often dictate that we change friend groups and jobs and other relationships.

I don’t think this is abnormal and I don’t think I’m alone when I say that the people you shared your deepest secrets with when you were 13 are probably not going to be the same people you share them with at 30. Life happens, people change. Relationships grow and evolve and sometimes end. I don’t think it’s problematic to change some relationships over time. 

What I do think is strange however, is the person who seems to be consistently changing all of their relationships all of  the time.

The person who hops from one romantic entanglement to the next may just be testing out the dating scene, but no history of any long-term commitments is usually a red flag. The person who hops from job to job to job may just be struggling with finding their career niche, but usually their scattered resume is because of some problematic behavior that keeps getting them fired. And the person who keeps changing friends like you change dirty socks may be trying out a new social scene or may be struggling with an overly-mobile life. But then again, they may be royally screwing over and backstabbing their companions and so have to keep starting all over again with new victims.

When you meet someone who doesn’t seem to have any long-term relationships (career or personal), this is a red flag. It doesn’t necessarily mean that the other person is bad, but you may want to proceed with caution.