Indy Maven Friendship Series, Part IV: Long-Term Friendship

When friendships endure through seasons of change, how do you navigate those long-term relationships, come what may?
To hands interlocking pinky fingers with Indy Maven Friendship Series logo above

The Indy Maven Friendship series is tackling this simple yet complex relationship from various angles. 

We at Indy Maven see the theme of friendship all over the place lately. It’s in the zeitgeist, if you will. Maybe Covid and all its social distancing turned it into a hot topic. Maybe it’s always been a hot topic. But regardless of the reason, lately we can’t scroll without stumbling upon stories about friendship breakups, adult friendships, friendships and boundaries, the importance of friendship… even friendship coaches.

So, we crowdsourced a handful of contributors, board members, as well as the nuclear team at Indy Maven/Maven Space. After all, Indy Maven is made of multitudes. The more voices that chime in, the better we understand and empathize with all women, and the better chance we have at fulfilling our mission. We weren’t sure what kind of a response we’d get. But, as a good friend would, everyone showed up. Better yet, they had something to say.

In Part III of our series, we talked breakups. But with other friends, sure there may be fights and misunderstandings, but ultimately, this relationship is meant to last. So we posed this question to the Mavens: “Life is nuanced. Perhaps you grew apart then came back together as seasons changed… How do you navigate the long term friendships as you and your friend grow and life shows up with all its twists and turns?

Marlin Bruns headshotI feel boring to say this, but communication and consistency have to happen.  My best friend is someone I’ve known for over 10 years, and we have always lived in different states.  She is a great communicator and is someone who truly wants to know me and be known by me.  Also, she is GREAT at talking on the phone, which we prioritize at least 1x a week.
Marlin Bruns, Contributor

I think society conditions us to believe that love has to look or feel a certain way. My favorite word for life is capacity…because my level of capacity has nothing to do with my love for someone. The friends who have stuck around, we “get” that. Life is a lot. It is full of love, loss, kids, parents, careers, death, moves, etc., etc., etc. We are friends who can go for days, week, months and can pick up where our hearts are.
Michelle Dahl, Editorial & Operations Boards Member

Kay HawthorneI’ve called some people “friends” since we were little, even as we grew apart and reunited. Especially when the relationship started that young, there can be a lot of hidden feelings suppressed during that time– you were figuring out how to be alive, after all. Bringing things to light can minimize resentment that may come up strong if not properly addressed. Communication is key!
Kay Hawthorne, Contributor

Collen HungerfordThis, yes, I have quite a few long term friendships that have evolved over the years. The biggest thing I think is to maintain some kind of contact, like texting or a IG message or a like on a FB picture of their kids. As busy adults, those are the ways I have stayed connected with people and then every once in a while have a call or a zoom happy hour.
Colleen Hungerford, Premier Partner

Kelli Jenkins HeashotThis has happened, too! I have been on both sides of boundary-setting with friends. There have been times where a friendship has taken a break due to a misunderstanding, necessary growth, personal changes and many other trials. I think being able to change and grow together is the mark of a true friendship. When the thing that tests a relationship and shows the cracks is what makes it stronger, then you know you’ve met someone really special…. When you can experience the life trials, twists and turns, and ups and downs of life with someone and come out stronger, that’s really special. And when you have a friend breakup or a misunderstanding and come back together to hear each other out, there’s an opportunity to build that kind of special friendship. Not every relationship is meant to be so important, but the ones that are can make it through those difficult moments.
Kelli Jenkins of the Spellsisters, Indy Maven’s Resident Astrologist

Karen KennedyAgain I’ll say, showing up is what counts. I’ve had friends from college with whom I’ve lost contact over the years, but I’ve reached out to them when their posts indicated they were in a rough patch or, conversely, posted about a milestone or achievement.  Simply asking if there’s anything you can do for someone or letting them know you’re thinking of them, whether you last saw them 10 days ago or 10 years ago, for me, is the secret to friendship.
Karen Kennedy, Events Director, Maven Space

Jalysa KingI think it all comes back to communication and not festering on any ill feelings. Also to give people grace. Life is rough, and we all just need a little grace and love sometimes. Even in friendships, we don’t always disclose tough situations, so we never truly know what people have going on in their lives.
Jalysa King, Sales Maven and Contributor

Samantha Kupiainen headshotThe universe has a funny sense of humor in that my long-distance friend and I have had a laundry list of shared life experiences.  Most recently, we got married within six months of each other, so it kind of steers each of us toward each other. We can go months without talking to each other, then grab dinner when we’re both in town, and it’ll be like we were never apart. We always have so much to catch up on, and it’s usually giving each other advice on the most recent shared life experience we’re going through.  
Samantha Kupiainen, Contributor

Despi MayesI love how new friendships keep entering my life. And, I still feel heartache when I see old friends drifting away. But for me, part of maturing emotionally has been recognizing that this cycle is so natural and that it isn’t personal. Things change, priorities and interests shift. It just makes sense. So, I have found it helpful to make room for both the sober knowledge of this truth and the angsty gut feelings that come with it. Holding space for both lets me honor friendships both new and old.
Despi Mayes, Indy Maven Member

Maura Malloy is a writer, minimalist, TedX Talker, and Indy Maven’s Assistant Editor.

Have something to add to the conversation? Email us at and tell us how you navigate long term friendship.

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