Today, I got to thinking about the “oldest” friends we all have, and friendships in general after my fiancé told me about his fantasy football league. Let me explain. Basically, the leader/organizer person (I know nothing about fantasy football) had decided to shut down their decade long running league because he was having a child and had too much responsibility. My fiancé, understandably, was sad. These were tons of his old college buddies who were spread across the country, and this online game was a way to connect to them. Even though I have no ties to the team and have no clue how one would even play ‘fantasy football,’ it made me sad to hear about a group dissolving. I always feel sad when a group of mine dis-integrates – from a book club ending to summer pot lucks winding down when the season ends….
I started thinking about how in our 30s, our close friend group gets smaller and smaller, until we realize someday that we’ve ended up with a circle much smaller than in our 20s. There are the obvious reasons for that: getting married and settling down, having children, job responsibilities, etc. But I believe we all need lots of different types of love in our life – and a few people cannot sustain or fulfill all those needs. All of our primary, most supportive relationships must have buoys and support around them. In the same way it’s been said that “it takes a village’ to raise children, it takes a group of people to sustain our deepest relationships. Your marriage or closest friendship gets oxygen from mutual friends, from family visits, and from the outside interaction you get at places like work.
I speak to a lot less friends than I did when I was 25. About half less I would say. The bright side is that I feel the quality of these remaining friendships has improved. They’ve been through the ups and downs with me. The past July 4th weekend, I got to have long conversations with old high school and even (gasp!) elementary school, and it made me incredibly happy and left me feeling physically lighter. Our friends can help us carry our loads.
So what do we do with less friendships in our 30s? Obviously, we hold onto the ones we love with a vice grip! But we must always be open to new friendships, coming at any age. Your next ‘soul mate’ friend could be just around the corner. Sometimes I feel like we’ve been taught that we would have met all our best friends in the world by now. But maybe that’s only encouraging us to keep ourself guarded. Instead, maybe we should always keep out heart opens to new friends – even with the new responsibilities the thirties place on us.