4 reasons we lose friends as we get older
You may notice that, as you grow older, you seem to hang out with a smaller and smaller crowd. The giant mob you went to the movies with in high school thins out a bit when you come home for college break. By the time you hit thirty, your birthday party might attract about ten people – if you’re lucky. However, as the majority of friendships seem to fade, the ones that stick around become stronger and more meaningful than ever before. Here are a few reasons:
1. You have to deal with family, career and other concerns first: as you grow older, you are more engaged in building your business, career and or taking care of your family and just can’t see many of your friends as much as you used to anymore. That is completely normal and expected. If you were to neglect these key areas of your life so that you can spend days on friends’ couches and on local bar stools, it would be sad indeed.
Of course, it sucks when the rigors of adulthood wash away friendships, but it happens. Fortunately, you can always pick up the phone and catch up with a particularly close friend you’ve not been in touch with for a while.
2. You start to enjoy different things: as we grow older, we change. Our friends also change, as do the things that bonded us. For example, you may have an old friend you loved because he was simple and modest, but who has since become rich and developed a taste for the extravagant. You notice it’s awkward for you to spend time with him now because you can’t afford the same restaurants, travel arrangements and other entertainments. So you gradually grow apart. In cases like these, there’s often no malice or definitive parting of the ways. It just happens slowly and it’s good because it allows you to let go and make room for new friends who you share similar interests, values and maybe even station.
3. You realize that some friends are actually toxic: Jim Rohn famously said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” He was right. Sometimes you find some friends have problematic mindsets that are only revealed as they grow up. We all know those friends—those who have a skewed view of women or men, for example. They always manage to make you do or say things you’d vowed never to do again like drink, maybe. Their crazy lifestyle is problematic for you, and they somehow always drag you into it when you are around them.
Although you genuinely care for them, you know they just aren’t good to be around anymore. So you avoid them. That’s a smart move because it protects you from getting into something you’ll regret later.
4. You have a handful of cherished friends you prioritize: when you are older, you’ve had a chance to evaluate, sieve and settle for true friends who you know will stay no matter what, no matter how circumstances change. These true friends love you for who you are, not for what you have. And you love them in the same way.
These are the type of friends you prioritize now and are willing to move mountains for. You enjoy their company and they enjoy yours. Your conversations are great and visiting one another to pick each other’s brain is a pleasure.
It’s hard to find true friends like these so maybe there are just two, three or maybe four, if you are lucky – but never an entire gang. And that’s the way you like it because it take less effort to maintain one true friend than ten on-and-off buddies.