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Why We Always Make Our Lifelong Friends When We Were Young

Why We Always Make Our Lifelong Friends When We Were Young

Remember when you used to come home from school and call your best friend, even though you’d seen each other all day? How about those family holidays you were dragged on, kicking and screaming about not being able to see your buddies for a whole week?

Our first friendships are forays into lives other than our family members. This makes them a very, very big deal at the time – and for the rest of our lives.

Here’s why.

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The Old You Outshines the New You

Our oldest friends have seen us fall off the jungle gym into dog poo, struggle through the awkwardness of a first kiss, get grounded for wagging school, and fall in love with blue eye-shadow. This means, no matter what you look like, how you act, or what you do now, they already love you for exactly who you are.

While adult friendships are also wonderfully supportive and honest, nothing beats the feeling of complete acceptance. Acceptance of all the mistakes, the chaos, and the daggy moments of growing up together, means that the capable ‘adult’ you can breathe out and let the muffin-top hang out over your jeans.

The Boundaries Were Never Erected

Because adult friendships are formed when we’re more polished, more respectable, and ‘pre-conditioned’, they often come with society-induced boundaries. This means we’re not likely to ring them at 2 am… just because we can’t sleep and we want to have a random chat.

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Boundaries are often necessary for healthy relationships. That said, there’s something beautifully raw and honest about not abiding by them, with our oldest friends. If you feel like sprouting word vomit, you can. If you did something ridiculous, they loved it. If you just need a hug, they’ll come from miles away to give it in the middle of the night.

The Explanations Are Not Necessary

If a new friend saw you bawling your eyes out and hugging your teddy, Mr. Fluffy, they might be shocked, concerned, and confused. Meanwhile, old friends will ring you and say, “I hope Mr. Fluffy is there with you?” All of our unique habits, personality traits, and ways of dealing with the world have grown and evolved with our oldest friends.

They know when we’re sad (even if we’re smiling), they know what makes us feel better, and they know what triggers us. We can start a conversation mid-sentence, without telling the back-story. If an ex shows up on social media, one glance is enough to relive an entire phase together.

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The Bluntness Outweighs the Niceness

When we branch out into the adult world, we find that ‘all is not as it seems’. People are afraid to be confrontational, which often means we don’t receive honest opinions or constructive criticism. It’s either that, or we don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, so we’ll refrain from telling someone the blunt truth.

Not so, with friends we made when we were young. We’ve already compared school grades, boob sizes, and we weren’t scared to say, “Whoa, check out that zit on your nose!”

This carries over into adult life, where honest opinions can mean the difference between good and bad decisions. Old friends will tell you that your girlfriend treats you badly, and they’ll pick another pair of jeans for you, when they really do make your bum look fat.

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Conclusion

Adult friendships speak to us of the way we’ve developed, and reflect the type of people we’ve become. They bring excitement, freshness, growth, and love; however, they haven’t been born from the messy, intense, reckless, and fragile children we were. This brings an irreplaceable intimacy. It’s why we always make lifelong friendships when we’re young.

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Nicole Leigh West

Travel and Lifestyle Writer, Choreographer, Reiki Practitioner

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Last Updated on December 3, 2019

10 Life Lessons You’d Better Learn Early on in Life

10 Life Lessons You’d Better Learn Early on in Life

There are so many lessons I wish I had learned while I was young enough to appreciate and apply them. The thing with wisdom, and often with life lessons in general, is that they’re learned in retrospect, long after we needed them. The good news is that other people can benefit from our experiences and the lessons we’ve learned.

Here’re 10 important life lessons you should learn early on:

1. Money Will Never Solve Your Real Problems

Money is a tool; a commodity that buys you necessities and some nice “wants,” but it is not the panacea to your problems.

There are a great many people who are living on very little, yet have wonderfully full and happy lives… and there are sadly a great many people are living on quite a lot, yet have terribly miserable lives.

Money can buy a nice home, a great car, fabulous shoes, even a bit of security and some creature comforts, but it cannot fix a broken relationship, or cure loneliness, and the “happiness” it brings is only fleeting and not the kind that really and truly matters. Happiness is not for sale. If you’re expecting the “stuff” you can buy to “make it better,” you will never be happy.

2. Pace Yourself

Often when we’re young, just beginning our adult journey we feel as though we have to do everything at once. We need to decide everything, plan out our lives, experience everything, get to the top, find true love, figure out our life’s purpose, and do it all at the same time.

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Slow down—don’t rush into things. Let your life unfold. Wait a bit to see where it takes you, and take time to weigh your options. Enjoy every bite of food, take time to look around you, let the other person finish their side of the conversation. Allow yourself time to think, to mull a bit.

Taking action is critical. Working towards your goals and making plans for the future is commendable and often very useful, but rushing full-speed ahead towards anything is a one-way ticket to burnout and a good way to miss your life as it passes you by.

3. You Can’t Please Everyone

“I don’t know the secret to success, but the secret to failure is trying to please everyone” – Bill Cosby.

You don’t need everyone to agree with you or even like you. It’s human nature to want to belong, to be liked, respected and valued, but not at the expense of your integrity and happiness. Other people cannot give you the validation you seek. That has to come from inside.

Speak up, stick to your guns, assert yourself when you need to, demand respect, stay true to your values.

4. Your Health Is Your Most Valuable Asset

Health is an invaluable treasure—always appreciate, nurture, and protect it. Good health is often wasted on the young before they have a chance to appreciate it for what it’s worth.

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We tend to take our good health for granted, because it’s just there. We don’t have to worry about it, so we don’t really pay attention to it… until we have to.

Heart disease, bone density, stroke, many cancers—the list of many largely preventable diseases is long, so take care of your health now, or you’ll regret it later on.

5. You Don’t Always Get What You Want

“Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans.” – John Lennon

No matter how carefully you plan and how hard you work, sometimes things just don’t work out the way you want them to… and that’s okay.

We have all of these expectations; predetermined visions of what our “ideal” life will look like, but all too often, that’s not the reality of the life we end up with. Sometimes our dreams fail and sometimes we just change our minds mid-course. Sometimes we have to flop to find the right course and sometimes we just have to try a few things before we find the right direction.

6. It’s Not All About You

You are not the epicenter of the universe. It’s very difficult to view the world from a perspective outside of your own, since we are always so focused on what’s happening in our own lives. What do I have to do today? What will this mean for me, for my career, for my life? What do I want?

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It’s normal to be intensely aware of everything that’s going on in your own life, but you need to pay as much attention to what’s happening around you, and how things affect other people in the world as you do to your own life. It helps to keep things in perspective.

7. There’s No Shame in Not Knowing

No one has it all figured out. Nobody has all the answers. There’s no shame in saying “I don’t know.” Pretending to be perfect doesn’t make you perfect. It just makes you neurotic to keep up the pretense of manufactured perfection.

We have this idea that there is some kind of stigma or shame in admitting our limitations or uncertainly, but we can’t possibly know everything. We all make mistakes and mess up occasionally. We learn as we go, that’s life.

Besides—nobody likes a know-it-all. A little vulnerability makes you human and oh so much more relatable.

8. Love Is More Than a Feeling; It’s a Choice

That burst of initial exhilaration, pulse quickening love and passion does not last long. But that doesn’t mean long-lasting love is not possible.

Love is not just a feeling; it’s a choice that you make every day. We have to choose to let annoyances pass, to forgive, to be kind, to respect, to support, to be faithful.

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Relationships take work. Sometimes it’s easy and sometimes it’s incredibly hard. It is up to us to choose how we want to act, think and speak in a relationship.

9. Perspective Is a Beautiful Thing

Typically, when we’re worried or upset, it’s because we’ve lost perspective. Everything that is happening in our lives seems so big, so important, so do or die, but in the grand picture, this single hiccup often means next to nothing.

The fight we’re having, the job we didn’t get, the real or imagined slight, the unexpected need to shift course, the thing we wanted, but didn’t get. Most of it won’t matter 20, 30, 40 years from now. It’s hard to see long term when all you know is short term, but unless it’s life-threatening, let it go, and move on.

10. Don’t Take Anything for Granted

We often don’t appreciate what we have until it’s gone: that includes your health, your family and friends, your job, the money you have or think you will have tomorrow.

When you’re young, it seems that your parents will always be there, but they won’t. You think you have plenty of time to get back in touch with your old friends or spend time with new ones, but you don’t. You have the money to spend, or you think you’ll have it next month, but you might not.

Nothing in your life is not guaranteed to be there tomorrow, including those you love.

This is a hard life lesson to learn, but it may be the most important of all: Life can change in an instant. Make sure you appreciate what you have, while you still have it.

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Featured photo credit: Ben Eaton via unsplash.com

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