friendship – IMG_3604Usually people feel sad and lonely when they notice their pool of friends is getting smaller and smaller as they grow older. But, it’s completely normal to lose friends as you grow older.
When you’re past the 30-year-old mark, you can no longer just “hang out” with friends carefree, every day. I mean, you’ve got responsibilities now; you’re wiser and have a clearer picture of what you want out of life.
Here’s why it’s really normal to lose some friends as you grow older, and why you shouldn’t be too downcast about it.
1. You have to deal with family, career and other concerns first.
As you grow older, you are more engaged in building your business, career and or taking care of your family and just can’t see many of your friends as much as you used to anymore. That is completely normal and expected. If you were to neglect these key areas of your life so that you can spend days on friends’ couches and on local bar stools, it would be sad indeed.
Of course, it sucks when the rigors of adulthood wash away friendships, but it happens. Fortunately, you can always pick up the phone and catch up with a particularly close friend you’ve not been in touch with for a while.
2. You discover some friendships just aren’t worth the effort any more.
Maintaining friendships is hard work. It takes up your time, and even resources. While there are some friendships you cherish and wish to maintain for as long as possible, some just aren’t worth investing in anymore. Not that those friendships you aren’t interested in anymore are necessarily bad—it’s just that you are older now and have outgrown them.
For example, friendships from when you were young, rebellious and a worse version of yourself are often best left in the past. On the surface, it may seem like it’s a bad thing to lose these old friendships, but it’s good. It’s proof that you are growing. If you are not losing some of those old friendships, you may not be growing up.
3. You relocate to geographically distant places.
One day a close friend calls and tells you she’s received a job offer from a company that pays well; the only catch is that it’s overseas. And she already took it. Another couple of months pass by and another close friend moves out of the city to another state hundred of miles away. And another, and another, and another. Eventually, only two close friends remain.
And then you call the two remaining friends to inform them you are getting married, buying a house upcountry or whatever, and planning to move out of the city soon. You realize getting together with these friends socially will become too much effort. So your friendship slowly ruptures. It sucks, but it it happens. You have to accept it and more on, otherwise you may never grow.
4. You start to enjoy different things.
As we grow older, we change. Our friends also change, as do the things that bonded us. For example, you may have an old friend you loved because he was simple and modest, but who has since become rich and developed a taste for the extravagant. You notice it’s awkward for you to spend time with him now because you can’t afford the same restaurants, travel arrangements and other entertainments. So you gradually grow apart.
In cases like these, there’s often no malice or definitive parting of the ways. It just happens slowly and it’s good because it allows you to let go and make room for new friends who you share similar interests, values and maybe even station.
5. You realize that some friends are actually toxic.
Jim Rohn famously said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” He was right. Sometimes you find some friends have problematic mindsets that are only revealed as they grow up. We all know those friends—those who have a skewed view of women or men, for example. They always manage to make you do or say things you’d vowed never to do again like drink, maybe. Their crazy lifestyle is problematic for you, and they somehow always drag you into it when you are around them.
Although you genuinely care for them, you know they just aren’t good to be around anymore. So you avoid them. That’s a smart move because it protects you from getting into something you’ll regret later.
6. You have a handful of cherished friends you prioritize.
When you are older, you’ve had a chance to evaluate, sieve and settle for true friends who you know will stay no matter what, no matter how circumstances change. These true friends love you for who you are, not for what you have. And you love them in the same way.
These are the type of friends you prioritize now and are willing to move mountains for. You enjoy their company and they enjoy yours. Your conversations are great and visiting one another to pick each other’s brain is a pleasure.
It’s hard to find true friends like these so maybe there are just two, three or maybe four, if you are lucky – but never an entire gang. And that’s the way you like it because it take less effort to maintain one true friend than ten on-and-off buddies.
Featured photo credit: friendship – IMG_3604 by N i c o l a via Flickr via flickr.com