I’m getting a little deep today (AHEM), so brace yourselves. But really, it’s a bizarre yet liberating thing that I can write about a flashy gingham suit one day and transition to what I’ve learned about friendships the next (I feel like a wise woman now that I’m 30). More reason to be grateful that I created this space 3 years ago…and that I can share and interact with you lovely people who read my nonsense (at least I think someone is reading? I’m just going to go with that assumption).
Friendship is an interesting thing, mainly because it is very personal, but also universal. We all have our own special bonds, our rocks, our people…and yet, the concept of friendship – how it makes us feel & the need for it – is something all of us humans can relate to. The other fascinating thing about friendship? How it can evolve as a result of people changing & growing. I’ve noticed friendship in your 30s is definitely different, both in good ways and in bad ways.
Expectations and norms change as you get older.
I spent my early twenties watching marathons of Entourage and shooting the shit with my roommates. There were impromptu nights out, sharing closets (even getting dressed was a collaborative effort!), the opportunity to learn and grow alongside each other during (what we thought) was a scary & unknown time. No one cancelled plans, because in reality, we had nothing else going on. Our friendships were our main priority. The older we get, the more complex life becomes and the less free time we have. We’re all guilty of feeling relieved when a friend cancels a date. It’s terrible, but true. We see our friends less, and there may be weeks/ months where you don’t speak or see each other. And guess what? That’s okay. True friendships pick up right where they left off. People move, get married, have kids…you may not see them as often as you’d like, but when you do, it’s like you’re back in your college dorm room (not literally, but ya catch my drift).
Like any relationship, some are not meant to last forever.
Friendships are (& should be treated) like any other relationship in life. Should you stay with a toxic boyfriend because you’ve been together for years? Absolutely not, and the same applies to friendships. Yes, expectations and norms will change over time, but if a friend continues to let you down time and time again, it’s best to part ways. First, ask yourself if you’re able to accept the person for who they are and lower your expectations. If that’s not something you want to do, let go. It’s sad and incredibly hard, but long-term it’s the best thing for everyone involved. Just like a breakup, you will have the urge to reach out when you’re reminded of an inside joke you two had, or a song that took you back to a party where you drank too much and they took care of you. Stay strong and move on.
Each person doesn’t have to be your end all be all.
The concept of a “best friend” becomes somewhat obsolete as you get older. This especially applies to friends you make outside of college. I’ve made friends with coworkers, people I workout with, other bloggers in Chicago…and yet, I connect with each person on a different level. There are coworkers I’ll go grab a drink with after work after a stressful day, friends I’ll reach out to go to a networking event, friends I shoot pictures with on the weekends, friends I call when I’m having a life crisis. One friend doesn’t have to be your everything…and if they don’t check all the boxes, it doesn’t mean they can’t be a part of your life in some capacity.
Friends turn into family, and formality goes out the window (in the best way possible).
The best thing about my long term friends is our guards are DOWN. There are no formalities, and that what I love the most. They become family…and your family has seen you at your best, and at your worst. You know each others quirks inside & out. If you’d rather hang at home in PJs vs. going out for dinner, you’re open about it. In fact, I’ve found that meeting up friends for quick errands can be the best way to see each other, because scheduling a date for dinner can be a full time job.
Making friends in your 30’s is hard.
It’s no surprise that all of my closest friends I made in college. We had unlimited free time and so many more opportunities for run-ins, given we all lived within a 10 minute walk from each other. Also, we were at the perfect time and place that allowed for vulnerable moments where we confided in and supported each other. Making friends as a 30 year old adult is close to impossible. Even when you meet someone you see yourself connecting with, you don’t see them often enough to grow a deeper bond…because again, life. People have different priorities, and between their families, significant others, careers, existing friends…it’s tough to make room for anyone else. I wonder though, is this just a phase of life? Does it change in your 40s, 50s 60s? TBD.