Navigating friendships in your twenties
Friendships in your twenties is a different beast. What once was a delicate flower has now contorted into a succulent. It is less attended to, requires less maintenance, and thrives off of the occasional drink pouring.
People are not meant to stay in your life forever. There comes a time where separation is inevitable. We deep down all know it but, only a few are capable to acknowledge it. It stays an ‘if’ we ever drift followed by a ‘Naah never’. That idea is brushed off right then and there. As the years go by, we graduate from our little girl years, become a freshman in adult-life, and that ‘if’ becomes a ‘when’. It gets clearer that today is just a temporary period in a larger, wider, more expansive life. Between 15 and 25, we change on all counts, we find our vocation, values, and make life-changing decisions. So, we’re not the same person we were when we bonded than at the present day.
What initially paved the way to friendships, has now done a complete 180. Inevitably, moving from high school to adulthood, teenage relationships morph into other natures of relations. The dynamics change, the interactions change, and it is hard to experience the sudden what-feels-like lack of conversation and connection. It is quieter, more peaceful, and requires less energy giving. In some way though. The long-before planned evenings that you get to look out to replace the impromptu after-school-hangouts.
I think what’s the hardest to accept is you suddenly stop being an actor in their day-to-day life and start becoming an avid spectator. It feels bitter at first. I guess you look at the other person’s relationships as stronger, more meaningful, and you feel neglected. But it’s important to remember, your foundation is rooted deep under the surface. What’s visible to the eye, is not the entire picture. I think it gets the relationship to a whole other level where you can share even more meaningful stories and talk about a million deeper things.
The question then becomes… How to change relationship dynamics? What is the new ‘normal’? How do we maintain our bond in light of our new ‘life’? It’s about finding new ways. New ways of sharing precious moments. It’s not the daily lunch break or shopping outing anymore. It’s the long-awaited cava night or phone calls watching a movie or getting nostalgic listening to your favorite songs or podcasts. Of course, it’s not the same, physical distance is evidently present. But it’s not necessarily worse, is it?
Life’s seasons require ever-changing dynamics in relationships if you want to keep them. If you refuse to adapt, most certainly, relationships are bound to die. The relationship itself doesn’t need as much work and effort as it used to. No need for intense maths to make sure you don’t make anybody feel disregarded. What now requires drudge is remodeling, adapting to the new dynamics of relationships. The longer (physical or figurative) distance needs more mindfulness and determination to keep the spark alive because you don’t live in each other’s pocket anymore.
We understand that life gets in the way. We are patient with each other, and oh my dear lord, does communication get so much easier and healthier. It’s so strange and unexplainable, how that shift happened. With friendships in your twenties comes patience. When something upsets you, you take the healthy way out. You communicate what has hurt you, then follows an open discussion. Regardless, 3 minutes later, the resenting feelings are part of the past already. While high school entanglements were accompanied by pettiness and dramatic confrontations after we’ve complained about said friend to everyone else. In your twenties, you realize that being ‘right’ is not worth missing out on much more important things. We get that we all mess up, and we learn to accept, forgive, and forget.
The friends you get to keep along the way are those reliable hearts who will always have your back. As we navigate the present, we suffer the shit parts of adult life, struggle to find our place out there, while they will always feel like home. And I talk about experience here as I’ve not talked to my two best friends for almost a year. And let me tell you how lonely I felt during that entire period. With the clarity of hindsight, we understand we needed time to grow, to make sense of who we actually were.
Friendships in your twenties are deeper, healthier, and lighter. However, they involve patience, efforts adapting, and understanding. They require to be mindful to maintain. Regardless, friends are the ones that will be there through heartbreak and doubts, and that’s why they’re worth it. They are anchors, and you are theirs.