Having moved around quite a bit in my adult life, I haven’t had a large friendship group around me since my university days. In some ways I’ve missed this and envy those who can arrange an impromptu drink with a friend, or drive five minutes away for a cuppa and a listening ear.
But at thirty one, having lots of friends isn’t so important to me.
Throughout my twenties I lost touch with a lot of friends as our lives went in different directions. This bothered me at 25, but as time goes on you realise that it’s okay to grow apart – like previous relationships, previous friendships form a part of who you are. It doesn’t matter that you no longer see each other or even speak anymore. What matters is that at one point in time, you had a blast and you made some great memories together.
But other friendships stand the test of time and it doesn’t matter how much you’ve changed, or how different your lives have become – you know that you will always be friends, no matter what. The majority of my friends live in different counties and I don’t see them from one month to the next. Sometimes we can go for months at a time without seeing each other or even speaking, but whenever we do get together it’s as though we saw each other just yesterday.
My friends aren’t needy, they don’t fall out with me if I don’t text back within two days (which is a good job since I never do) and they don’t judge my life choices, as I wouldn’t judge theirs. A lot of my friends lead very different lives to me – they aren’t married and don’t have kids, but I don’t think that true friendship is even about having things in common – it’s just about having someone who understands you and loves you for who you are, as you do them. It’s about always being there for one another when it really matters – even if it is the first call you’ve had in four months.
It sounds harsh, but by thirty you realise that life’s too short and time is too precious to spend time with people for the sake of it. I know that the friends I still have now are there because they have been worth the effort – and because they think that I’ve been worth the effort. We have triumphed.
I came across this quote which I think perfectly sums up friendship in your thirties:
“The most beautiful discovery true friends make is that they can grow separately without growing apart.”