I wrote an article for my pals at Hello Giggles yesterday about friend breakups and the surprising positives that can come out of them (P.S. I’d love it if you’d read it by clicking here). This got me thinking about friendships in general, specifically how they change as you get older.
One thing I’ve realized is that as you mature, you become a lot pickier about your friendships. In high school, it didn’t really matter if you knew someone was talking crap about you, because you needed a huge entourage to go to the football game with, so you sucked it up and dealt with it. I remember instances when one friend would tell me something nasty another “friend” had said about me during second period. I would be furious until the end of the school day, but when we all decided to meet at Starbucks after class, I magically was over it. Embarrassing, but probably not abnormal among my age group.
Now that we’re in our 20s or 30s, the deal has changed. If you’re a drama queen or a flake or just kind of insane, see ya, wouldn’t want to be ya. It’s better to hang out with one really close friend (or with your pet and your couch) than it is to try to make it work with a bunch of fake people.
The other thing I’ve realized about adult friendships is that they really are dependent on two people who are heavily invested in the relationship. We all have jobs and hobbies. We have parents and siblings. Maybe we have pets. Some of us have significant others. It’s not easy to make time for friends, so both people have to really care about the connection that they share with that other person.
Unfortunately this means that formerly strong friendships can fall by the wayside because one person isn’t pulling their weight. There are people who played a huge part in my college experience who I haven’t talked to in months or years because after we graduated it became clear that if I didn’t reach out, I wasn’t hearing from them. For a while I would agonize over this and continue to call, text, and keep in touch. Then I realized that it was better to invest my time into relationships where both people were eager to catch up, despite our busy schedules. It didn’t make those old friendships any less valuable or special, it just meant that life had changed and priorities had shifted. People move on and that’s okay. Really, it is. When this happens it helps to clear out connections that are just taking up space in your emotional closet, leaving room for new, shiny ones that fit you perfectly and are relevant to where you’re currently at in life.
Is it ever fun to see a friendship fizzle out? Definitely not. You’re going to feel sad, betrayed, hurt, confused, or maybe all of the above. But at the same time, as an adult, you should be expecting more from your friendships. If the other person isn’t as jazzed about spending time with you as you are with them, use your energy to build a connection with someone who would love nothing more than to exchange ugly-faced Snapchats with you during your commute to work.