How Our Friendships Change as We Age
One day in either our 30s or 40s we look around at our friend circle and it’s completely different than it was a decade or two prior–and we just don’t know how it happened. Just like us, our careers, and everything else…our friendships change as we age.
Why is does that happen, and should we be concerned that our friendships aren’t the same as they were in our teens and 20s? I would say for the most part it’s a natural thing that friendships evolve, so we shouldn’t be overly concerned that our friendships are a little different than they were before.
Why Friendships Evolve
Let’s look at the reasons friendships evolve. That might help ease some of the fears of how our friendships change as we age:
- God moves us forward. When God moves us forward, He sometimes has us leave some things behind. Those “things” we leave behind might be friends that aren’t helping us in our relationship with Him. So who we were friends with in our 20s, going clubbing with in college, crashing with on weekends–that might not be the crowd we want in our lives right now.
- Women get married and pregnant in their mid-20s. Yes, I know, I’m talking to single women. However, I’m not talking about YOU getting pregnant (though some of you may be single moms). I’m talking about when your friends couple up, have kids, and then they suddenly forget how to include you in their lives. It’s a phenomenon almost every single women over 30 has experienced. It’s also part of the issue with how we experience our singlehood in church, too. Our relationships with our friends change just because of their marital and family status.
- Priorities change. Priorities are also a big reason why our friendships change as we age. It plays into why our married friends with kids may not see us as often. However, it’s not just on their side. We’re single women building our own lives and our own careers. We’re managers and business owners. We have our own priorities going on, and we need people who will support us. As our priorities change, how we relate to those around us changes.
- We go through some major stuff. As we age, things start to happen in our lives that are both really really good and amazingly bad. Some of us grow our companies and climb corporate ladders. Others may be raising amazing children on our own. There are single women who may be caring for elderly family. Some may have lost family members, homes, jobs…the list goes on. We go through some big things that we couldn’t imagine in our 20s, because we were both naive and self absorbed at that point. So we surround ourselves with a smaller circle of people we can trust with these major milestones in our lives.
- You choose better investments. Friendships take time. As we age, time seems to shrink. It goes by so quickly, and we have to invest our time wisely. One thing we do gain as we grow older (hopefully!) is wisdom. We can, and should, use that wisdom to invest in the right people and have our circle of friends be one of support and love. They should encourage us to grow in our lives and in our faith.
Change in Friendships is Encouraging
Looking at the reasons friendships change as we age, it’s actually encouraging. While we may mourn the loss of some of our “fun” friends who made us laugh way back when, we now have a group of people we really need. And honestly ask yourself, could you still do that stuff you did in your 20s? I know I can’t. Last time I pulled an almost all-nighter, I paid the price of it for a week! I love my close group of friends now, who are still fun, still amazing, and maybe a little crazy, too. But I’ll take nights with a little wine, singing Disney songs at the top of our lungs in the living room after some deep philosophical discussion any time! I look on those nights with as much fondness as sorority madness and last-minute road trips to nowhere.
God Puts Us Where He Wants Us
We need to keep in mind that God will move us to where we need to be in our lives. He puts us in the right place at the right time, and he will push us to move on. In Exodus, He pushed the Israelites to keep moving forward.
Then the Lord said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on. – Exodus 14:15
It might not always be as obvious to us that we’re moving forward. Sometimes we’ll just look around and say, “What happened?” However, God just has His hand in there, pushing, moving, acting in our lives. He moves our friends around, and so do we. It’s natural and ever evolving. So hold your friends close today, and remember that the real friends, the ones who will support you always, will be with you because God placed them in your life. Appreciate the time your have with those you love.