Friendships can get difficult in our twenties. Perhaps I just think this because I’ve always had a small friendship group and a mixed experience with making friends, but generally, for one reason or another, friendships evolve and change very quickly when we get into the start of our adult life.
A lot of people finish school or uni and move home or move somewhere for work, losing touch with their newer friendships and maybe failing to reconnect with the already slightly distanced ones. Whether it’s a change of life direction or a physical change of geography, we grow selfishly in our 20s.
Through this drive and need to focus on ourselves, bettering ourselves or just figuring ourselves the hell out, friendships can and do suffer. It’s easy to be the first one to stop making an effort or to think that there are more important things to do than go for lunch with your family friend of 20+ years, isn’t it?
Friendship is important though.
Yes, you probably knew that but I’m talking about all types of friendship. The lifelong besties, the close mates, the people you catch up twice a year with and those who you nod to when you pass them in the street. Every little friendship we have is important, and although it would be impossible to maintain them all forever, I have a few reasons why our selfish 20s needs those twice a year catch ups with our family friend.
We need people who have our back
Thankfully, we usually have some sort of family who’ll always have our back but as we get older, move out (sometimes moving cities or countries) and become our own person, those people who are always there for us sometimes loosen the reigns of their support. In our 20s, our friends become that new (or extended) support system. When we go through break-ups, big career decisions or engagements and pregnancies, our friends are right there with us, in a place that it can be hard for a parent to fully support us in.
Our own generation’s point of view is golden
If you’re also fed up with hearing about Piers Morgan and other millennial hating middle-aged people, then it’s time to give those friendship circles a polish. As much as our parents try to help us and guide us (whilst simultaneously packing our suitcases for us) times have changed since they were in their 20s. I’m not saying that things are better or worse, but it’s undeniable that they are simply different. Having a POV on problems, changes or general life that knows what life is like for a 20-something right now is golden.
Acquaintances are honest
Whenever we need an honest answer, our family and closest friends sometimes miss the mark. Complete strangers are hard to gauge (unless you have a super reliable online audience, I guess) so those family friends and acquaintances are sometimes exactly what we need. An opinion on a problem, some honesty on something you feel everyone else has just gone along with, it’s a reaction that’s hard to find amongst your biggest supporters.
It means more in these selfish years
Actually making it to a catch-up coffee, or making the effort to go out-out for your friend’s 25th means so much more than it did when we were teenagers. When we were teenagers did we have anything better to do than hang out with our mates? Nowadays we have ten-million things that aren’t better than seeing our friends, but very often those ten-million things need to get done, whilst the coffee date can be rearranged (probably for February 30th).
Friendships very almost mean more during our selfish years, because maintaining them, creating them and showing up in them is probably more than we have time to do.
Starting from scratch is terrifying
Now, this is definitely a vote towards maintaining those friendships that never went wrong. You know, the ones where the texts got further and further apart and it was more a case of nothing being said, rather than the wrong thing being said. Reigniting these fizzled friendships is so much easier than walking up to a stranger and saying, “Hi, can we be friends?” for a lot of people (myself included). Asking that old friend for a catch up when you’re both in the same town not only feels like something grown-ups do, but it’s taking the high road and not letting the negative vibes dictate the way our friendships pan out.