Throughout different stages of my life as I grew up I noticed different things.
Without going into all the growing pains, the one thing I did notice was my circle of friends changing.
As we grow out of our teenage years, and those few years after that hold so many fond memories. We start to let go of all that carefree freedom, and take on responsibilities.
With responsibility comes sacrifice. Not just for you, but for your friends and family too.
If you’re in your 20’s or older. I’m sure you have a pretty good idea what I’m talking about. You will have seen changes as they take place.
Living through our 20’s was fun. I’m sure I had similar experiences to many of you reading this. Busy weekends partying, packed social calendars, memorable flings, etc.
Then before you know it, you’re in your final year at university and considering your career options.
You realize you need health insurance, a reliable car, to pay rent (on time), and the list goes on. Looking back at those lazy days in the sun, you smile.
Now your life is 40+ hours working, some additional study, and full of worry about bills and the speed in which your life is moving.
I found that over time my number of friends slowly dwindled down. It took a natural shrinkage. I wasn’t falling out with anyone, we were all becoming too busy.
I took on a job that required 50+ hours commitment. On top on that, there was travel, work activities, and sorting out personal things. I really didn’t have a minute to spare some weeks.
I’m not complaining about that as such. I had a great time, and made some huge leaps with my work. But I started to miss my friends.
When I did see my friends, it wasn’t the same. None of us had that carefree spirit we had in our early 20’s. The conversations were geared around work, problems, and such.
It started to weigh on me a couple of years into my first job. I was really starting to miss my friends, and the fun we used to have. So this made me wonder, is it really necessary to lose friends as we grow up?
I guess a question attached to that question is, can we keep all our friends when we have less time?
That’s where making sacrifices and managing one’s time comes into play. Because some people do manage to keep their social life buzzing. I know such people.
But they make sacrifices in other areas. The most obvious one being work and family. Two things that I focus on a lot.
So this highlights how different people make different choices. What choices and sacrifices have you made, and how do you balance your friends, work, home life, and hobbies etc?
I recently discussed this with someone I know fairly well. They are not one of my core friends, but I was interested to see how they feel this has affected them.
They told me a similar story. They were a year ahead of most of their friends. So left uni earlier and entered the workforce. They found it almost immediately lead to them losing friends.
It’s not all bad news though. They met a lot of new friends in their current job role where there is a good social and active bunch of people.
In summary I guess I’m leading up to saying that we don’t need to lose our friends as we grow up. Sure things are going to change, they have to.
But embrace the change. You’re not the only one who is busy, your friends are feeling the same effects. If you meet up and talk, maybe meet in the middle when it comes to sacrificing time – you don’t need to lose touch completely.
So if you’re feeling the effects of an ever decreasing circle of friends. If you’re feeling a little lonely, or longing for those days of silly fun. Do something about it.
Take those few seconds a day to drop your friends a text message. Make a monthly time slot to meet up, and stick to it.
Go for lunch with a friend, you’d be having lunch anyway. Make effort. Good friends are worth the effort.
So go on, drop someone a message now. Tell them you miss them, reminisce on an old memory you share.
Growing up doesn’t mean you have to lose your friends. It just means you have to grow up.
Phil lives in England, UK, and has around 20 years experience as a professional life, career and executive coach. He started this blog to help others find and define their own self development journey. Blogging about a wide range of topics to help facilitate a better future.