I heard someone say recently that she’d fired a bunch of her friends.
Diagnosed with a probably-terminal illness in the prime of life, she was given maybe a year to live — which naturally forced her to prioritize pretty quickly and firmly.
I wasn’t struck by the fact of this winnowing so much as the way she went about it. After pruning her list of friends, she invited all those she’d decided not to keep up with to meet up. She then told them to their faces what she had decided and why.
On one level, these sudden breaks sound sharp — perhaps almost cruel. But, as I reflected on it, I thought how generous, in an age of ever-expanding lists of “friends,” it could be to have real closure, for a reason, face to face.
Happily, this person has outlived her initial prognosis. And, hopefully, most of us will never have to prioritize so ruthlessly or especially so soon. But I’m left wondering: which friendships do I really want to keep tending, and how should I attend to those that are no longer really part of my life?