The Adult Friendship Dilemma
Everyone matures at different ages. It seems that as teenagers, we are all exploring where we fit in and how we want to be perceived in the world. By the time we get to post-high school years, some of us move on to college while others join the military, get a full time job, or travel. The life stages that follow will be different for everyone.
One would like to think that we would still be friends with those we went to high school with as adults. However, and I get wild stares when I speak to high school students and tell them this fact: 95% of the people you know in high school will no longer be your friends, and often not even acquaintances, as an adult. Social media slightly skews this figure, as we follow all of these "friends" and think we still know them. (Spoiler alert: you don't.) As people grow and mature, they also grow apart.
Here's a fun fact about me: I don't have a lot of friends. And I am completely okay with that. In fact, I would beat myself up so much when I would lose touch with a friend I went to high school with, or a college roommate. I actually used to think something was wrong with me, and people were purposely losing touch with me. I would truly think to myself, "how could I have been better, changed myself, talked more, been more outgoing, so I didn't lose my friends??"
One day you wake up thinking about them and realize you haven't spoken to them for years. These friends were in my life for a season, and little did I expect them to fall out of my life once that season ended.
As we experience more of life, we start to really figure some stuff out: where our political beliefs lie, what our religious beliefs are, where we want to live, how we want to make a living, whether we want kids or not, and I could go on. Each of these decisions we make will either draw us closer to people or push us further away. Adults, and women especially, feel pressured to keep up with others who have been in their social circle. We are constantly wondering if we are good enough, thin enough, are raising our kids the 'right' way, eating healthy enough, being a good enough spouse/partner.
We think too much about these things and it becomes harder and harder for us to make new friends, or we find ourselves pushing away from those we call our friends. Or, and this is what I used to do, we change ourselves to try and fit in with people who are changing around us. I wasn't changing and maturing at the same rate as my friends. In fact, I took a while to mature and really figure out who I wanted to be. It took a divorce for me to realize who I was and how I wanted to live my life. With that divorce went nearly all my friendships. Not because they were all friends with my ex! But rather, because I realized that who I was and how I was living my life was not what I wanted. Those friendships fell to the wayside to make room for people who were living their life in a similar manner as I was, and have values close to mine.
Friendships are a tough but vital part of life. It is important to find the tribe you vibe with, but just as important to truly know who you are. If you are keeping people in your life who do not match your values or your vision, it's okay to let them fall to the wayside. You don't have to kick them out of your life completely, but see where life takes you if you start to see less of them.
Some people will always be stuck in the past, and I don't want you to be one of them. Take your grown-up wings and find where you belong.