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How Do I Know If My Friendship Is Falling Apart Or Just Low-Maintenance?

"You both acknowledge that growing individually doesn't mean growing apart."
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It’s interesting to imagine how friendships work—isn’t it necessary to have persistent contact for friendships to work? How do you remain friends when you don’t even talk? Well, as weird as it seems, such connections actually exist, and they’re often referred to as low-maintenance friendships. If you and a friend have this kind of connection, congrats! It’s a bit difficult to navigate through a complicated social setup, but you’re both making it work. So, how would I know if I am in the company of a low-maintenance friend, or if my relationship with them is simply spiraling down? Here are some things to note:

You don’t see each other for weeks because you’re both super busy, but you’re both very understanding of the situation.

Finals week is coming up and setting aside all the exams you have to study for, there’s still a mountain of papers you have to write and group projects you've yet to accomplish. Your friend, on the other hand, has thesis they need to write and an org project they need to organize. You both have no time to meet up, not even for a quick lunch at the cafeteria. But, even with the lack of physical interaction, you both have this innate understanding that, despite living separate lives, your friendship still remains intact. Your closeness doesn’t go away just because you’re trying to live your best life, even without constantly being at each other’s sides.

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You still make it a habit to check up on each other.

Maybe you and that friend go to different schools and have different schedules. But it’s nice to know that your friend still gets to sneak in a “How are you, I miss you” message on FB during their break time, even if you reply a few hours late because you had three straight classes that day. Sometimes, you would randomly get a text from that friend telling you how hyped they are over a TV show or movie (even if you’re not a super fan like them!) and feel relieved that, despite your busy and draining schedules, there’s something your friend still gets excited about in life and they choose to share it with you. You also appreciate it when they would sporadically reassure you that they are one call away for when you’re having a mental breakdown and feel like crying.

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It never feels awkward to meet up again after not seeing each other for so long.

Do you ever get that awkward feeling at a family gathering when you see that one cousin you used to play tagu-taguan with but haven’t seen in recent years? That isn’t the case for you and your low-maintenance friend, even if you’ve only ever caught glimpses of each other once or twice in the hallways for the entire semester.

Regardless of how petty it seems to other people, you still keep in touch on social media (if you both use it) by liking each other’s tweets or reacting to each other’s Instagram stories. You may not be seeing each other in person as often as you’d like, but you still manage to stay in touch and up-to-date with each other’s lives in some other way.  

You go through different things in life but you both know that your struggles are equally valid.

You never feel like you’re more preoccupied than your friend or that what you’re doing is far more socially relevant than whatever your friend is pursuing in life. You just know that you both have your own things going on. You struggle and cope in different ways, but are always there to cheer each other on for support, even in the littlest of gestures.  

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You both acknowledge that growing individually doesn’t mean growing apart.

Some people go weeks or months without seeing other and feel like they’re meeting up with a stranger because of how much the other person has changed. But for that low-maintenance friend, you’re still that caffeine-driven go-getter they met during the first day of college, only this time, you’re wiser and more emotionally stable than the last time they saw you. They would understand and support the fact that you’ve matured and learned a lot about life despite their absence, and you’d feel the same exact thing for them. 

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Mylene Mendoza
Candy Staff Writer
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