TODAY   |  June 13, 2013

Why friendships sometimes fade away

A wedding or the birth of a child can often bring friends together, but occasionally these milestones can also serve as the last hurrah for friends who are drifting apart. David Plotz of and psychiatrist Janet Taylor talk about why close friendships aren’t always lifelong.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> so you got married, all your best friends were there. it's a great day. a couple of years pass, you got a kid, change jobs, maybe you move away, you realize you haven't spoken to or even seen half those people in years.

>> a reason essay titled, so this is the last time i will ever see you, friends who fade away after a major milestone. that struck a chord with thousands of people online.

>> david plotz wrote that article at slate, where he is the editor, and dr. janet tyler .

>> so you wrote in the article, you don't know who the last timers are. in fact, you can't know, but they will be there on the dance floor , in the photos, and 1, 2, 20 years on, you will think to yourself, i haven't here since our wedding, and then how did that happen? is how does this happen? more of our own choosing or life gets in the way?

>> it's a conspiracy of inconveniences. somebody takes a different job in a different city. their life choices are suddenly different, and you find yourself a couple of years later wondering why you haven't caught up. there's no good reason. it's not that you love them any less. they recently dropped out of your life.

>> janet, by definition you're committing yourself to somebody. you're not 25 years old, not hanging out with the guys every night, this is going to happen naturally, isn't it?

>> it is because life happens. and the friends you have are different from your friends, which is different than a life partner . through the experiences that you had, then you maintain that friendship. it takes work and the ability to share, and sometimes that same person may not be the one who means that much to you.

>> and there's only one you, and yet there are all these other people, your kids. only so much room on the plate if other things start to fall off.

>> and another category of friends, which is the friends your spouse doesn't like. and then you can lose -- that's somebody who drops out very quickly. my wife had a bridesmaid who i didn't love.

>> you vetoed it?

>> it wasn't official. i don't think these things are ever spoken. i think it's unspoken, and suddenly you realize, oh, she just hasn't come to any dinner parties and we're just not hanning out with her, and then it's 15 years later.

>> friends are important and those lifelong relationships are important. so if you can maintain one or two that you can share with, are close with, that are there when you need them, that's what's important.

>> we posted an informal poll on our website, if members of their wedding party , they remained close. i think the results say it all. 48% say they're friends apparently with fewer than half their wedding party . 22% say more than half of their wedding party they're still friends with. i guess it shows you that falling off happens quite a bit.

>> i think it does. i'm in that 48%.

>> i think we all are.

>> when the baby comes, that's the next milestone when people start dropping off.

>> your priorities change. your values change. relationships are work that require time. even over distance, if you have that motivation, you can maintain that effort, but it is work.

>> is i think in our case, i think distance is one thing that often got in the way is me keeping in touch with people regularly. how do you? if you do want to remain in touch with these people, manage to work it out over the distance. i guess social media is helping these days a lot.

>> social media can help and hurt. i think social media can give you a false impression of how close you really are. but make it a priority to maintain a close relationship with one or two of your friends.

>> i was married in the days before social media . i never had social media contact with these people. if you're getting married now, obviously, you're going to stay in touch that way.

>> you use that social media , sometimes they think you're really close and they want to stay with you. you've got weddings and things like that.

>> right. come stay at your house, invite themselves over.

>> you never know.

>> that would be terrible, wouldn't it?

>> i guess, yeah.

>> dr. janet taylor, thank you