Reason, Season or Lifetime: It's Okay to Lose Friends as You Get Older, Guys
If you went back and told your 21 year-old self that more than half of the friends you keep in your circle, would no longer be a part of your squad in your legit adult life — you probably wouldn't believe yourself. If you fall in the late-20s-and-up-bracket, you already know I'm about to drop some truth on the Snapchat generation that's so fixated with being liked by the masses, in person and on Instagram.
There's this thing that happens when you get older and it's awesome: You basically stop giving a f-ck about a lot of stuff, especially having a ton of people around constantly. It's the most liberating feeling on the damn planet.
The more I think about my friends growing up, I start to realize I knew so little about these people despite knowing so much. If you're still young and reckless, you're probably thinking, "Bish, me and my friends are gonna be friends forever... We're like the cast of Friends, or How I Met Your Mother." Yeah, every group of friends feels that way but, that will not last... I guarantee you. People change, get married, have kids, or move across the country for job opportunities. As you grow, you start developing different opinions about social issues and values in general which can make you wonder how you were ever friends with blank person to begin with. If you are young, think about this mass of people you call friends; How many of them can you have a lengthy conversation with about real stuff? Okay, how about have a conversation minus feeling kind of judged for what you're going to say? It's not common. You can't have that bond with 25 people simultaneously.
The older you get, the more you start to really appreciate good conversations. Knowing that another person is comfortable with confiding in you — revealing some humiliating or personal shit they would never reveal to someone else — is a freaking privilege and you cherish it instead of throw shade. The only thing better than being confided in, is finding someone you can wholeheartedly confide in back without ever worrying that you will be judged for what you say.
If you're lucky, you will manage to weed out a few friends from your big circle and develop lifetime bonds. But, the rest of your friends are fillers and these relationships are basically superficial — as sad as it sounds. You have friends for particular occasions (partying is always a big one), and hell it's still common to have people around like that as an adult. You will have hiking friends, wine and cheese friends, museum friends, pedicure friends, bar crawling friends so, don't ever feel like the fun has to dissipate just 'cause your relationships do.
When you're trying to fulfill your ultimate, long-term #squadgoals, you have to keep your circle tight.
You have to surround yourself with people who support you, and are doing impressive things with their lives. Don't hangout with people who bring you down and are negative on the regular. It's contagious. You're far too young to be that miserable and you may feel comfortable in that sort of environment right now but, let me tell you — once you surround yourself with positive people, you develop a positive attitude and things will have a way of just falling into place.
I should preface this by saying that I'm not trying to get all religious on you — however, I caught a sermon by Joel Osteen because I was too lazy to change the channel. I found myself really liking the message he was trying to convey. He went on talking about "redeeming the time" and how people come into your life for a "reason, season, or lifetime." Clearly, this is a thing and not an Osteen original, but he's my source.
REASON, SEASON OR LIFETIME
Here's my interpretation of what he's trying to say. This can be applied to friendships and romantic relationships.
Those who come into your life for a reason are placed in your orbit because you needed them to do something for you. You had a need and they met it at a particular time. Examples: person who lets you know about a job opportunity, a classmate or colleague you have lunch with because you hate eating alone, even a date with a cute guy that doesn't turn into anything. These relationships serve a specific purpose; you may have been jobless, or feeling lonely for a second and those experiences helped meet a need at that moment in time.
Those who come into your life for a season are temporary. They teach you lessons about yourself and you do the same for them. Seasonal friends are a lot of fun — for a season. You guys both grow together and learn a ton from one another. By being in a relationship with a seasonal person, you discover what you qualities you admire in good lovers/friends and what behaviors you will not tolerate in your next relationships. You may stop being friends with a girlfriend who throws you under the bus in situations, and she may reevaluate her behavior for her next friendships. Or, you end ties with a guy who treats you like crap and as a result, you learn not to accept that kind of crap in your next partnership. And hopefully, for his own sake, he will learn something from that experience too and treat his next girlfriend better. These seasonal relationships are learning experiences for both parties. Examples: best friends you had when you were younger that you no longer really have anything in common with anymore, a friend who has done you wrong teaches you what you will not tolerate and in turn may teach this friend a lesson on how to be a better friend to someone else in the future. There's nothing wrong with having seasonal friends, it's insane to think all of your friends are lifetime ones. So long as you know their place in your life, you won't be as offended when these relationships turn sour or die out. You will appreciate for them for the lessons they provide.
Lifetime friends are those that teach you really important life lessons. The only way to really understand what it is like to have a lifetime friend, is to experience a seasonal one. Seasonal friends who do you wrong, can teach you what it should be like to have a good friendship. Lifetime friends are loyal, generous with feelings and know how to genuinely be happy for each other. Over the course of time, you build a strong emotional connection with this person and learn to accept them for what they are and are not. You use your relationship with this person as a barometer to measure what your other relationships in life should aspire to be like. You're supportive of one another and wish each other success because when one of you make it, the other person feels like they've made it too.
When you determine where your personal relationships stand according to this relational theory of sorts, you start to feel at peace with the directions in which your personal connections go. Grudges lift when you realize old friends were just there for a reason or season. You no longer take things personally and truly appreciate all of the seasonal relationships you were in because you would not know a good thing if you had not experienced them. So, if you're getting a little older, and wondering why your "friends" are dropping like flies, don't worry. This is supposed to happen. I promise you will feel more fulfilled with a tight selection of lifetime friends as an opposed to a huge clique of seasonal ones.
As an added bonus, you no longer feel obligated to attend birthdays, engagements, etc., of people who you're just meh about. This makes celebrating occasions with your lifetime friends, even more special and exciting. Also, organizing outings, or travel is so much easier when you're not trying to cater to 20 difficult people. Find your mini squad, and appreciate them. Enjoy life together, have some wine, and be thankful you have each other.