Now that I’m officially in my late 20s, I’m feeling older and wiser – well, at least wise enough to write this article. Over the years, I’ve experienced many different types of friendships and relationships and through it all, the biggest lesson I’ve learned is that change is inevitable.
The best part about getting older is that you stop caring what other people think. You’re becoming more confident and sure of yourself, and less concerned with trying to please other people. With this increased self-awareness, you can see what’s truly important and the people who are adding real value to your life.
I have four best friends who are like sisters to me. They are the first people I call, good or bad news. After every success, they are the ones ready to pop the champagne and after every break up, they are the ones who show up with tissues in hand ready to watch Sex and the City reruns. That type of loyalty and love is so rare and I’m beyond grateful to have them in my life (you know who you are, ladies! xoxo) Those friendships have stood the test of time, and I know I will be friends with them forever.
While there are a handful of friends you will always have, most friendships will come and go. And that’s okay because the friends you keep are meant to stay in your life. When you’re in your late 20s, you learn to accept this rather than be disappointed by those you lost touch with or those who hurt you.
In college, your friends became family, especially if you go away to school. You do literally everything together – from studying and grabbing lunch between class to partying and gossiping over morning coffee about who hooked up with who. During those years, you are inseparable and can’t imagine a time when you won’t be this close.
But then something strange happens. After you graduate, everyone starts getting full-time jobs and moving wherever their career takes them. With your schedules getting busier, it becomes harder to stay in touch and seeing each other twice a year turns into once a year and as more time passes, it becomes harder and harder to maintain that same level of closeness.
This happened with my group of college friends. Truthfully, it wasn’t that we stopped caring about each other. Life just got in the way – we all traveled to different parts of the country, moved up in our careers and started seriously dating people. Since we couldn’t put in the face time, it became a lot of work to keep those relationships going. For those of you who haven’t experienced it, long-distance is the ultimate relationship killer.
Maybe you’re reading this and thinking, What about all the memories and good times you’ve shared with these people? Doesn’t that matter?
Of course it matters. But at the same time, you need to keep it in perspective. People grow and change, and in many cases, you grow apart. Yes, it’s sad but it’s also part of life. Just like when a romantic relationship ends – you’ll probably be hurting for awhile, but when you look at the bigger picture you realize that it wasn’t meant to be. Coming to this realization allows you to open yourself up to meeting someone who is a better match and will make you happier in the long run.
Also, with your close friends, you can be honest and you don’t feel judged. For example, I knew a girl who only dated one guy in her life, so needless to say, she had a pretty limited worldview. When I would talk to her about something dating-related, her advice always came across as condescending (because she thinks dating one guy for five years makes her an expert). You know the girls I’m talking about – the ones that sigh and say “Oh sweetie, it’s okay. With my boyfriend, I did this, this and this and we’ve been dating for years.” Every time I tried confiding in her I regretted it and left every conversation feeling worse. Looking back, I realized we just had completely different values and beliefs.
The bottom line: With your true friends, you can tell them everything and you know they will love and support you no matter what. The truth about friendships in your 20s is you realize who is truly worth your time.