Five years ago, I was 27. When I think back to that time, I realize that I still have the same group of close friends now. We may not see each other that often because of living across the country from each other, or having children or marriages that demand time and responsibility, or a host of other reasons. But when we reconnect, the closeness always feels there, though the frequency of our communication has shifted over the years, ebbing and flowing.
But, when I think back to when I was 23 and to who my friends were then, I realize the circle was quite different and I’ve lost about three very close friends. One was about a specific incident, one happened because we simply changed and faded away from each other, and the other one was somewhat inexplicable. It lowered my self esteem for years; I wondered what was wrong with me – had I changed in some profound way that made me unlikeable? Was something fundamentally wrong with me because I couldn’t keep lifelong friendships?
I’ve found none of the above to be true. Actually, what I’ve found seems to happen in your early-mid twenties is a kind of subconscious friendship purge. As you go through your twenties, you change rapidly and your friends starting to reflect the changes in your life. You’ve brought a lot of baggage from your “college self” and your “adolescent self” into your twenties and you’re shedding it as you move through that decade of your life- and your friendships are bound to reflect that shedding process.
Now that I’m 32, I feel like the close friends I have now will remain close in the future. Once you get to your early 30’s, you’ve weeded out most of the people that just aren’t working for you.
In your thirties, you start to realize you really need to be uplifted from your friends. Toxicity just won’t do. Life is too short for people who don’t celebrate you. I love this quote from Mother Teresa- and it’s applicable to friendships:
“Let no one ever come to you without leaving you better and happier.” – Mother Teresa