There’s a reason that “Friends” is one of the most popular TV shows of all time. We’ve all at least had one friend in our life time. Some are new, some go back years, some feel like family. Friends are amazing so this is why I’m dedicating my post to them. When you are in your 20s, some friendship dynamics change and you might find yourself growing distant or closer to some. Friendships can be tough, but I’ve shared a few things here about different types of friends you could have and how to deal with difficult situations.
On a side note, if you are a woman (sorry boys), you have to read Lili Pebbles’ “The F Word”. It explores female friendships and all the good and bad that can come with them. It’s funny, light-hearted and touching but it will also get you thinking. Anyway, without further ado, enjoy this week’s post about friendships in your 20s!
When you go to school, you see the same people day in and day out. Making and seeing friends couldn’t be easier, especially when you’re in the same class. These friends are oftentimes people that you grew up with – if not during your tweens, than at least during your teenage years. School friends are usually the first kind of friends you encounter. They can shape you in a good way, or a bad way. I know I’ve had a few times throughout school when “friends” would turn out to not actually be my real friends. It’s moments such as these that can define your later friendships. I know I’ve become more closed off because of certain disappointments.
But some friends you make in school are the best. You meet up after school and on weekends, celebrate birthdays and milestones (such as turning 18 or getting into university); you also go through stressful exams that could define your future, together. Long story short, you and your school friends go through a lot. But during my last few months of school, I realised that the people I would actually stay in touch with and still be friends with after leaving school could be counted on one hand.
If you have left school and are studying, you probably know what I mean. From the 5 people I thought I’d stay friends with, 2 remain. And although it’s sad, it’s also just part of life. You will have different friends in different stages of your life. Some can stay for more than one stage, but that’s not the case for majority of them. Here’s my tip for school friends: use social media to your advantage. Stay informed about what’s going on in their lives and check up on them every once in a while. And if you’re in the same area as someone you went to school with, meet up with them and reminisce on your past – it’ll be fun, even if you aren’t close friends anymore.
Whether you decided to go to uni, college or do an apprenticeship, you will meet new people in this new “education” system. They are similar to school friends but also very different, especially in the way you make them. Compared to school friends that you were almost put with, you pick and choose your uni friends. Because you are older and already have a few friends, you kind of know what your kind of people are. Due to the way classes are often presented, you will become friends with some people but there will also be people you don’t talk to (much).
These friendships form when we leave school and are slightly more mature. I believe that uni friends are also the ones that are going to help you grow. In school, it was more the case of you’d take someone the way they are because you’ve grown up with them and that’s just how they are. But friends that come along later in your life are the ones that will make you progress as a person. The same way that you will also help them.
I’ve made one amazing friend in uni and I know that I wouldn’t be where I am today if it weren’t for her. She’s helped me become a better person, has stood by my side during tough times and hand-ins and I genuinely consider her my sister rather than my friend at this point. I’m not saying that you will meet your “friend-soulmate” in uni, but I think that when you’re in your late teens and early 20s, you will form very valuable friendships that can last a lifetime – or at least make a life-long impact.
Friends you make in work are very different from any other kind of friendship. I don’t mean people that you have met in work and are friends with outside of work, but the ones that you are friendly with and see on shift every (other) day. I experienced my first work friends when I was 19. And it was weird at first, meeting all these new people and creating relationships with my colleagues. That might just be because I’m quite an awkward person though!
But it’s crazy how quite quickly you know everything about their lives, and they know everything about you. Quite often, the work friend will be someone you ask for advice, someone who’s on the outside and not intertwined in your personal life. You realise how small a part of your personal life they are when you (or they) leave the job. You might be friends on Facebook and see them sometimes if you still live in the same area, but work friends are usually temporary. And there’s nothing wrong with that. Different people are part of different chapters in you life.
In whatever relationship you have, whether it’s with a partner, a friend, a colleague, a sibling, a parent, or whoever, communication is key. It’s important to talk about things, good and, especially, bad. Being able to talk about a problem we have that involves another person is key to dealing with it rather than ignoring it until one day it blows up. This is even more the case for close relationships with people you care about.
Leaving school and my hometown was when I was able to work on my communication skills more. You deal with new people, in a new environment and you also find yourself in a way. It’s easier to have a difficult conversation with someone when you know where and what you stand for. Communication is a skill that everyone should learn. Some are quite good at it naturally; others, including me, get better with practice.
Most of the time, the thought of having a difficult conversation with someone is worse than the actual conversation itself. You imagine the worst case scenario, you’re scared that they’re not going to react well and that they’re going to walk away. This may happen, especially the former. But if you have a true relationship with the person in front of you, they will not leave you. On the contrary, if they care about you too, they will make an effort to make your relationship better.
It is inevitable for us to change. We grow up, experience things and we live our lives. This means that the relationships we have with people around us change. They can change for the better or for the worse: you can grow closer or you can grow distant. Both are part of life. It’s important to surround yourself with people that are going in a similar direction than you – I don’t mean that you should have the same aspirations, want to live in the same area or go to the same school. I’m talking about being in a similar headspace and stage in life, whether physically or mentally.
You should surround yourself with people that are going to be on a similar path to yours, people that are going to support you and encourage you to live your best life. Friends will be there for the good times. True friends will be there for you during the bad times too. When you grow older, you have more responsibilities and sometimes these get a little overwhelming – why else did #adulting become a thing? We need friends to help each other out.
Letting people go
It’s important to be with people that are going to help you grow and become a better version of yourself. People who bring out the best in you are the ones you should surround yourself with. Think about the people in your life right now. Do they encourage you to be the best version of yourself or do they seem to accentuate your worst qualities? If the latter is the case, you might have to start letting some people go.
I’m just going to say it, I’m too good at letting people go. If someone is bringing more negativity than positivity into my life, I will walk away. If I feel like a friend has really betrayed me and hurt my feelings, moving on from them will almost come easy to me. It’s not a great feeling, sometimes I feel like I’m too harsh. However, I know that I have gone through some rough times with a few different friends and we’ve worked things out and come out stronger. So when I do let someone go, I remind myself that I know I’m doing it for a good reason.
If you look back on your life, is there anyone you’ve (had to) let go? It’s sad when a friendship comes to an end. But I strongly believe that people come into your life for a reason, to teach you something, and some just happen to disappear after that lesson. If there is someone in your life right now that isn’t hvaing a positive impact on you, you should consider communicating with them to make things better. That doesn’t always work though, so walking away might be your only choice. Just remember, one door has to usually close for another one to open.
Friends are one of the greatest gifts anyone could have. Shoutout to all my pals reading this, you know who you are! Special mention to Murdo who has been supporting me from day one and pushed me to create an Instagram for this blog. And to Karolina, who is the reason this blog even exists. Another thank you to Vanessa who’s reached out on Instagram and also supported me. Love you all and anyone who is reading this! You guys are the best. Anyway, tag your friends in my Instagram post (@relatablesunday) to let them know how much you love them! Thanks for reading this far and I hope you have a lovely week. See you next Sunday!