Entropy is often referred to the gradual decline from order into disorder. We can liken it to building a sandcastle, only for time to erode it into the piles of sand. Never does the wind blow sand into the shape of a sandcastle.
But this erosion is everywhere. We like to think of it as only affecting our physical objects, but it affects non-physical things too. Take relationships for example. Leave them untouched, and over time they can start to erode. Lives diverge, and feelings of distance creep in.
What we fail to recognise is that it can take an enormous amount of energy to maintain these relationships. You have to make the time and be prepared to navigate the highs and the lows.
It’s common to reach a mid point in life where your relationships take second priority to raising a family and progressing your career. You can no longer spend the evenings chatting or the weekends socialising. Without realising it, years can pass. That’s when you start to notice the cracks.
This distance makes you realise you don’t know what’s going on in each other's lives. You start to realise that other people have prioritised their own lives the same way you have prioritised yours. You feel like things aren’t as they were. Entropy has eroded the force that was binding the relationships together.
Not everyone realises this though. And our default perspective is often to lie blame on anyone but ourselves. This can result in a feeling that people are less caring and not willing to pick up the phone to chat. You don’t have the energy to take on their problems as much as they don’t have the energy to take on yours.
To counteract this, you require energy. Much like it takes external energy to shape the sand into a sandcastle, relationships take external energy to maintain it.
So where do you get this energy from? Sometimes, it comes from our friends and our family. And in some cases, the energy should come from the very place that entropy is eroding. Without those relationships, it can be hard to find the energy you need.
I offer no direct solution, but I wanted to highlight that relationships, like all things in life, require energy to maintain them. We sometimes feel like we can put down friendships and pick them up unchanged years later. This is extremely rare.
The only advice I can give is to spot the relationships that are headed for erosion. Be honest about whether those relationships are ones to keep hold of—and if they are—make them a priority. Schedule calls, invite them around—do what you need to keep them going.
Today’s ah-ha moment is that entropy is everywhere. Relationships are no exception. Leave them unmaintained for too long, and they erode away. Don’t be surprised, it’s just a law of nature.