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When Friendships Change

At least a few times a week, I will read a post by another blogger and think to myself “I need to post on that” but then I get all sidetracked with other posts and forget about them.  Or I start a post and it stays in my drafts so long that I end up never finishing it.  Well folks, all I have is time right now since I am not actually working-out in any capacity; I figured now is the time to get writing on those posts!

Today’s Topic: Friendships and Running

Over the last few months, I have been giving a lot of thought to how much my life has changed since the awful break-up in 2007 that led me to change my life and begin getting healthy.  There have been so many changes, it is hard to even remember the person I was then.  There have been ups (PR’s) and downs (injuries) but I have loved this ride and I am such a better person now than I was then.  I like this girl a lot! 

I noticed that one of the biggest changes in my life has been with friendships.  I knew that when I joined a team I would make a lot of new friends but I had no idea how much my relationships with old friends would change.  Instead of being happy for me and embracing my new sense of self and healthy life-style, there were a few friends who downright dissed me.  As if my positive change was negatively affecting them.  That really surprised me and continues to surprise me.

(I should stop and mention now, that when I say friends…it wasn’t all my friends; it was a handful of acquaintances and more specifically three closer friends…I certainly don’t want to lump them all together, as many have and continue to be very supportive.)

When I first expressed interest in triathlon, many people doubted me.  And trust me, I was not shocked- I didn’t know how to ride a bike, I hated running, I smoked and I preferred to spend a Friday night drinking rather than going to bed early in preparation for a weekend morning workout.  I’ll admit it, even I was a bit skeptical!   But I stuck with the working out and really devoted myself to learning all about triathlon. 

 The first time I realized that my friends didn’t “get it” was when I had a girls night at my apartment and my one friend picked up my Triathlete magazine and sarcastically said “cool mag Jill” as she rolled her eyes.   This was just the first of many comments that were to come.  I would get comments like “guess you can’t go out because you have to go to the gym” or “I just figured you were out with your team” or my favorite “you don’t know how to have fun anymore” which bothered me for two reasons.  1- what I was doing was fun for me and 2- I still liked to have a good time, just not an every-night-of-the-week good time. 

For the first year, when all I had on my schedule was one tri and a few small road races, I think my friends really just saw this as a phase.  Since I wasn’t training hardcore, I still did a fair share of drinking, going out late and yes, even smoking.  But eventually the working-out began taking precedent over the late nights and drinking.  Something inside changed. 

Things really began to change in late 2008, when I was going through some knee problems and couldn’t run for eight weeks.  I noticed I was down, depressed and moody.  I noticed that I liked running.  I knew then that this wasn’t a phase and that I would make this my lifestyle.  Additionally, I decided to quit smoking and seriously tone down the drinking.  The year 2009 was a tough one for me, and I am so thankful that I had my sports of triathlon and running to keep me balanced.  I am an all around better person than I was, and more importantly I am healthy and happy.   

I know that the reality of it is that I am better off without negative, non-supportive people in my life.  I know that when people change, things change.  When the drinking/partying was taken out of the equation, there wasn’t much left.  It isn’t so much that they couldn’t understand my lifestyle changes, they just didn’t want to understand.  And worse, they simply didn’t care.  What I have come to learn is that often friendships are based on common ground…and for myself and some of my friends at the time, partying was the common ground.  Sad, but true.

For the most part, I am okay with the losses because the gains have been so big.  But it doesn’t make it any easier to understand. 

My changes have all been for the better, whether people choose to see that as a good or bad thing is beyond my control.  What I can control is how I deal with things; I understand that not everyone “gets it” but I do not think it necessitates rude and sarcastic comments.  There is no reason to keep people in my life who bring me down, when I have so many that lift me up.  When a friendship ends, it’s like a break-up…sad, but for the best. 

Positive in, negative out!

Have you experienced any changes in friendships throughout your tri/running journey? 

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17 thoughts on “When Friendships Change

  1. Great post! I have not experienced this with friendships, but we have received lectures on how running is bad for us.

    You know, I always attributed this to people are just jealous or feeling competitive – they wish they had the motivation to work out and be fit. But maybe that isn’t it. Maybe it’s just the common ground thing you mentioned. For the life of me though, I don’t understand how someone can be so negative when you tell them how much you love to exercise! It’s so strange!

  2. I have not lost any friends over my running but there are a few that just don’t care to hear about it:) THis is why I enjoy blogging…I can talk all I want about running. I am going to agree with Kilax and say that maybe a few of your friends were a little jealous of your new desire and success. You know the saying misery enjoys company. You nailed it when you said, “Positive in, negitive out!” I have only been reading your blog for a few weeks but I have to tell you that I think that you and your blog are very charming:) I hope that you have a wonderful Friday and a great weekend Jill!!

  3. some of my friends “get it” and others think I am crazy. through my time at the gym and forming/joining our Sunday running group, I have made the best of friends…with two men! people think it’s weird that my husband doesn’t mind i spend so much time with two men but they are the great guys and we help each other through so much.

  4. Interesting topic…..My friendships have changed some and I admit, I have neglected some good friends in my endeavors…I made new friends as I trained for marathons and did more cycling, but my other friendships suffered some, because they didn’t share my new activities…Sadly, whenever I am injured, these new “activity buddies” ditch me when I can’t participate and I have realized that several of them were not really friendships…at least, not friendships I could count on..they were just people that I ran or cycled with. That was hard to take…because, not only did I realize that those people didn’t give a care and didn’t keep in touch, unless I was doing something with them…but I neglected my good friends, the most supportive ones!

  5. Great post. Sounds like you have made some amazing changes in your life – way to go! I have noticed that my relationships have gotten stronger with my active friends because I spend more time with them – running, working out, etc. I just don’t see my friends who aren’t active as much.

  6. I think any big changes in life (whether it’s running, weight loss, having kids, consuming jobs…) tend to threaten people we once regarded as good friends. I think some people just don’t handle change well, and they feel insecure about their own choices and project that onto you. Someone who is a friend doesn’t mock your magazine choices unless they are feeling super insecure, IMO. I imagine some of your friends are feeling replaced by your new lifestyle. They just need to get over it because you need to feel good and be happy. But also make sure that you are still including them regularly and not always turning down offers to go out, etc. Unless you are ready to move on from those friendships, they need to feel like they are an important part of your life. I have experienced this a lot with my friends who don’t have children. Sometimes they expect me to have more free time, and other times I just need to be honest with myself that I’m not doing a very good job of making time for my friends who used to be a bigger part of my life. Friendships are a 2 way street and as soon as one person feels like they are putting in more than the other person, they start to unravel.

  7. It is always better to surround yourself with positive people who will support you than to have one thorn in your side. As for me – no real change because I’ve been too busy rearing kids to make any close friends since moving here.

  8. I do get the ‘are you crazy’ every so often, but am luck in that my close friends support ‘my crazy’! I’ve reconnected with old friends and found new ones through running which has been wonderful. I’ve been through something similar when I first made the move out to the U.S. I’ve learned that the true test of friendship is surviving changes that come in life…and the ones that don’t, I don’t worry about.
    Have an awesome weekend!

  9. My running and the circle surrounding me changes as my cycle with running changes. Sometimes I race a lot and meet friends this way. Sometimes I join the local track and meet people this way. But the friends true to my heart are the ones I’ve known forever and support ya on this crazy journey.

    Have a really great weekend!

  10. Sorry about the tough times. Unfortunately, that’s life and some people can’t handle any changes in their friends lives. It happens with running/being healthy, getting married, having kids, getting abetter job, etc. It sucks. But, you have to look at it as finding out who is really supportive and worth having around and who isn’t.

    You keep on doing what you love!

  11. I haven’t lost friends since I started running. Most of them cheered for me when I reached a new milestone like running a 5K or 10K race. But now I’ve reached all that they are not that interested anymore because they don’t run. Except for one friend who’s working out 3 to 4 times a week herself. I can talk to her about running.

    That’s why I like blogging so much: I can talk about my runs and find other people, like you, who run too and read about it, comment on it and receive comments from them.

    I found a balance in that: I don’t have to “bore” my friends with running stories but I still can share them because it’s a part of my life.

  12. I don’t think I had read as far back as your “how it all began” post, but after reading that and this current one, I feel like I know you so much more. Thank you for sharing so much about yourself.

    Although I can relate to some things (i-don’t-know-what-happened-break-up, drinking) and not others (smoking) I definitely get the friendship thing. Although my pre-marathoning friends are quite supportive, it’s not the same as the level of understanding that comes from the friends who do it too. Running has brought me life-long friendships that are just a whole other level. I will go to bed early and not party any Friday night of the week for what running gives back to me.

    Glad you have found happiness and balance in your athletic and ‘other’ life. 🙂

  13. How did I lose track of your blog posts?! As you’ve found out, true friends stick with you through “thick and thin.” Your ex-friends sound very shallow. You’re better off without them.

  14. That stinks that some of your close friends from before you changed your lifestyle mock your choices. If they really loved you and supported you the way friends should, they would understand your choices and hold you up instead of putting you down.
    I don’t think I’ve lost any friends due to my running life but running has been a part of my life on and off for a lot of years. I ran in high school but didn’t run at all in college. I’ve gotten back into it in the past 5 years and my friends are supportive. They even sometimes do races with me even though they don’t run on a regular basis.

  15. sounds like this was a good kind of friendship change. i’m sorry to hear you had to go through this but i’m glad you stuck it out for yourself. i must say, i think you’re in a pretty great place now! 🙂 (with some pretty cool friends/acquaintances of course)

  16. I just found your blog only recently after your feature in Robin’s blog, but think that what you’ve done and how you’ve changed is amazing and wonderful. It’s a shame that all of that had to come at the cost of friendship. However, I am going to play devil’s advocate here. Perhaps it is worth having a “closure” conversation with these lost acquaintances. Very likely, the rudeness and sarcasm is a cover for feelings of hurt and rejection on their part because you chose something over them. Very likely, the fact that it is a good healthy change for you got lost in their own feelings of loss. My theory here is that if you truly meant nothing to them, they would have not have bothered with words; they would have just partied on without you. Then again, maybe not. I’m not defending the behavior by any means. I’m just suggesting that you maybe give them an opportunity to explain themselves before writing them off completely. It just may be possible to have you lifestyle and your friends.
    Take care.

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