I’ve recently entered the realm of ‘late 20’s’ and while I still have a lot to learn about adulthood, I would say that I have come to know a lot about people and friendships – more importantly friendships in your late 20s. One important thing I’ve come to realise is that so, so much changes by the time you enter your late 20’s. Its isn’t until much later when you’re rapidly approaching 30 that you look back and realise exactly how much you’ve changed. I remember in my early 20’s how incredibly important all my friendships were, my friends essentially were the most important people in my life. I spent the bulk of my time with them partying, swapping gossip, talking about literally everything, doing many things for the first time like getting drunk, kissing random boys, pining over the asshole guy that everybody loved, making poor, poor life choices, you know, that sorta thing. Basically spending as much time together as possible.
But then something strange happens, and everything slowly starts to change, we all start getting full time jobs, lovers, or both. Meeting up for drinks or lunch after work or over the weekend becomes exhausting and next to impossible. You find that you’re tired a lot of the time or too busy. You start realising that while your friends are still near and dear to your heart they don’t hold the exact same place of priority they once did. At first realising all of this is slightly depressing, because let’s face it, at this point we’re all becoming that boring adult we all said we wouldn’t become, but then we get used to it and we start learning how to balance our lives and as we do that, I’ve realised that there’s a few things that no one ever tells you about friendship in your late 20’s:
1. Your friends change, and so do you:
By ‘change’ I mean grow. By the time we hit our late 20’s we start becoming more comfortable in our own skin and settling into who we’re more comfortable being as individuals. We start becoming more of who we are and less of who we thought we should be to please those around us. Because your friends are doing the same thing, oh and let’s add getting married, and having kids into the mix, everyone starts seeming different to each other and this can be a weird adjustment.
2. You don’t see each other as often anymore:
The one change that affects us the most is going from seeing each other practically everyday to maybe if you’re invited to the same wedding. It’s not that we don’t want to see each other, it’s that we’re all so busy all the time that setting a date and time to hang out becomes so impossible, and its always one of two scenarios; you either can’t pick a suitable date and time for everyone, or you’re so exhausted by the time the weekend rolls around that all you want to do is stay home and binge watch Grey’s Anatomy.
3. Sleepovers are no longer a thing:
Its crazy how when we were younger how many sleepovers we’d have and even through college/university how often we used to crash at each others dorms/apartments. I vividly remember sleeping over at my friends house with a group of friends for her sleepover birthday party and staying up until 4 am goofing around and trying not to laugh too loud so that we didn’t wake her parents. Some of our best memories are surrounded by a good sleepover or two. Then we become real adults and the thought of crashing at your friends place in someone else’s bed or couch is NOT as appealing as catching an uber and sleeping in your own comfy bed is.
4. You lose a lot of friends:
During high school and college/university because you’re in the perfect setting and surrounded by so many people who are your age and your peers, its highly likely that you have a lot of friends. and once you all move on, graduate, get married, we start weeding out the friends that essentially don’t matter anymore. We even (and sometimes mostly) tend to lose friends we have absolutely nothing against, we just no longer have anything in common anymore or the bond wasn’t strong enough to keep us attached. Then sometimes we lose friends because we realise that they never treated us right in the first place, and because we value ourselves more we start cutting out the negative energy in our lives.
5. Romantic relationships get in the way or take over:
As we get older and the prospect of our future starts holding more priority in our lives, our significant others become the focal point of our lives. This by no means implies that our friends aren’t important anymore, it simply means that we now have other people to look out for now. This is also a time in our lives where building a family is important to us for our future and this usually comes off to our single friends as though we’ve changed because of the romantic relationship and what the other partner is demanding from us, but as you get older and start dating, you realise that it’s not that our partners change us, but that we want to make changes to accommodate those we love.
6. You’re not afraid to be more honest with your friends:
If our friends do something to make us feel angry or hurt, we confront them instead of just talking about it behind their backs. We become brave enough to call our friends out on their shit. The days of doing and saying certain things for approval or to please others are behind us. We become less petty and more focused on building truthful and solid friendships. We become less inclined to subject ourselves to jerky behaviour just because we’re in the popular group, we speak up when we feel someone is doing something wrong and it actually feels really good. It’s also because of this honesty that we tend to start respecting each other as friends and individuals more.
7. You don’t really tell each other everything anymore:
When you’re younger your friends are your go-to source to just vent, tell secrets to, gossip with or discuss relationship advice with. Then we get older and while we still discuss hot topics or TMI information with each other, if you’re in a serious relationship you don’t spill as much details about fights, or sex, or insecurities anymore. And because we probably have work friends to complain about work to, our friends don’t necessarily know any details about that aspect of our lives either.
8. A night out is way more relaxed then it used to be:
In your late 20’s you’d much rather spend the night in watching reruns of FRIENDS, having dinner with one glass of wine, talking for hours about everything, then heading home between 11pm and midnight. The days of drinking from the morning, stumbling into a club at 10pm and collapsing into bed at 3am becomes less and less appealing the older we get. For me the mere thought of going out clubbing makes me cringe, but the idea of going to the cinema and having sushi after for dinner before heading home early brings me immense joy.
9. You realise who is really worth your time:
We are far more likely to put up with bad friends throughout high school because let’s be honest, the drama was sort of fun and entertaining at times, but as we get older, we’re over it. We don’t want or need toxic people, we begin to pluck out the bad seeds, and bond more with the people who actually care about us. It’s a really good feeling and a sign of growth.
10. You realise the friends you still have will stay for life:
Even though these are the friends you might go months without seeing, and disagree with, and don’t take first place in your life anymore, you realise how far you’ve come together, and no matter the time or distance between you, when you do come together it’s as though no time has passed. These are the friends we begin to cherish and keep in our lives for the long run. These are the friendships that aid in shaping us in our 30’s and will likely be the friends whose kids befriend your kids. These are inevitably the friends that should make everything feel like they’ve come full circle.