FRIENDSHIP IN YOUR TWENTIES

This is a topic I have wanted to discuss for a long while now – I’m a solid five years into my twenties, and I’m sure anyone who’s part of the twenty something club will agree with me when I say a lot changes in your twenties. People tend to focus on puberty when they discuss life changes – as though puberty is when you really start to grow up and become a full human. For me personally, my twenties have felt way more like memorable stages of development than anything else I’ve ever experienced…

You’re suddenly thrown into adult life – adult responsibilities, adult expectations…

You can no longer get away with being a difficult teenager, and everyone keeps asking you what you want to do with the rest of you life. You nod along for as long as you can bare with distant family members, and then lie awake at night wondering what the hell you want to do with the rest of your life…

Your childhood dream of being an astronaut has never felt further away, and you start to wonder if you’ll ever discover what your hidden talent is. I don’t think anything can really prepare you for the emotional rollercoaster that is your twenties (insert Ronan Keating lyrics here). If you’re lucky, you’ll only have the one existential crisis, and then you’ll figure out that no one really has anything figured out. Even if it seems like they have – those people with five year plans might intimidate you, but life always has a slightly different plan for us anyway (cheesy but true)…

I have never really made a solid plan for my future – I’ve never set out to achieve anything, I never really believed that I was the type of person that could achieve anything. I’ve never been motivated by money or success – I’ve just always tried to do my best, and I believe that’s risen from gravitating towards what makes me feel passionate (regardless of what others think). I’ve always had quite a strong sense of what I like and dislike, and this has been my compass throughout the last five years. Particularly in the last two years – I really started to feel the pressure regarding my career and where it was heading. After graduating from university, I worked jobs that made me miserable for years – I was desperately seeking some sort of creative satisfaction to keep me sane.

What no one tells you about growing up and chasing your dreams is that everyone tends to split off in different directions to chase theirs. It becomes harder to keep up with everyone – some friendships come to a natural end, some friends move far away, and some friends find new friends that they prefer to see more often…

None of these are bad things – none of these things make you a bad friend, it’s just the natural progression of life. Some people develop new interests and bond with new friends in a different way – some friends get married and spend a lot more time nesting at home, some friends travel a lot with work. Some friends are rubbish at texting you back but it doesn’t mean they don’t care, other friends you’ll barely see but they always make time to call you at the exact same time each week. All friendships are different – no one person can offer you everything you need in life, and there’s no right or wrong way to have a friendship. It all comes down to mutual respect, and taking the time to show each other that we are invested in what lies ahead…

Friendship is one of the most valuable things in your twenties – sometimes the pressure of adulating can make you feel like the walls are caving in around you, and nothing feels more comforting than having people beside you to be silly with and forget the world for a while. As I write this, two of my best friends live literally on the other side of the world  – I think about them all the time, and I know that whenever I happen to see them again it will always be the same. I have close childhood friends that will always feel like family no matter what, and friends from high school that will always be close to my heart. After all, these are the people that have watched you grow up, and have probably witnessed every embarrassing haircut you’ve ever had.

When you have a real connection with someone, distance shouldn’t matter. That doesn’t mean that it won’t be sad or lonely at times – but maintaining long distance friendships is possible. I have friends all over the place, and sometimes this makes me feel incredibly grateful, and then incredibly lonely all at once. I used to have friends just around the corner when I was growing up – now I have to make more of a conscious effort to be social and to spend time with those that matter. This can be one of the hardest adjustments about growing up – you soon realise who your real friends are, and who will always be there for you no matter how long it’s been since you last saw them.

It’s also completely normal to feel alienated at times – life gets busy, people get busy, plans get cancelled. You’re incredibly lucky if you have a tight social circle and can balance your time between work and having fun. It’s something I’m still working on as a new freelancer, and definitely something I want to make more of a priority. Your twenties can often feel like a tug of war between making something of yourself, and holding onto your social life. This is something that most people experience at some point – if you’re currently feeling this way, you are definitely not alone.

Making friends in your twenties is hard – you’ll hit it off with people, and then spend the next six months going round in circles about when to have drinks. It’s difficult to find people that live close by sometimes, and everyone has different schedules and conflicting work commitments. I will be forever thankful to social media for allowing me to make new friends and to keep in touch with them – it’s definitely one of the profoundly positive things to come out of it. It’s acknowledged that social media makes people feel disconnected, but as someone who has friends on different time zones, – social media definitely makes me feel less alone. It allows me to catch up with my best friends without investing in a carrier pigeon, and I’m always very grateful of that. However, it’s so important to socialise with people in real life too –  see your friends as often as you can (especially the ones that make you laugh until your stomach hurts).

Human connection is so important, and true friendship is forever, it doesn’t matter how long it’s been or how much you’ve changed – true friends will always greet you with a smile on their face and just be happy that you showed up…

 

Alice x


Photographs by Adriana

Blazer | vintage via Beyond Retro

Trousers c/o | Moon River

T-shirt | Weekday

Boots | Miista (similar here)

Bag | vintage (similar here)

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30 Comments

    1. Hello, I am completely agree with you, I felt the same way for a long time, just thinking what’s I gonna do, and sometime feeling bad cause I didn’t have time to see my friends, but some friendships feel like the same way for a long time.

      Ps: I am apologies for my English, it is not very good. I hope you can understand.
      Have a good day

  1. Spot on! I’m nearing the end of my twenties this month. I turn 39 and I wonder about stuff like this all the time lol as 30 year old basically I still wonder what the hell I’m doing. Friendship is so much like water. Constantly changes and consistently flows. I think the older we get the easier it is to figure out who those true friends are that will be around for a lifetime. Loved this blog post! ❤️

  2. For me I’ve found that at 23 I’ve naturally drifted away from a lot of the friends that I had growing up and during my school years. Now it’s way harder to make more new friends though! I think some people are more wary as they get older, or just less open to making new potential friends? At least that’s how it feels sometimes, from the other side of things.

    Julia // The Sunday Mode

    1. Yeah I totally agree with you on that one! I think people get less trusting as they get older sometimes and worry about letting new people in – I think sometimes people become a bit complacent too. I think there’s always room for more of the right kind of people though – I try to be as open as possible xx

  3. I literally feel like this post was written for me! I don’t think I’ve ever read a blog post that resonated with me more. My boyfriend and I moved to Melbourne a year and a half ago and, although we are absolutely loving it and it’s the best decision we ever made, we have also both struggled to find the balance between making the effort to make new friends whilst also working full time in new jobs (which leaves us pretty tired in the evenings and weekends). We both had very tight groups of friends back home who we would see every couple of weeks at least so it’s been tough to not have that feeling of closeness with other people here on the other side of the world. You’re so right when you say making friends in your twenties is hard. We made friends with some people who literally live a 5 minute walk away from us but we even struggle to see them, often going round and round in circles about when to meet for drinks – a seemingly simple task! This struggle is also coupled with feeling the distance with friends back home and feeling a sense of being out of the loop as we’re not there to attend the weddings, birthdays, etc. that all our close friends are enjoying. It’s really comforting to read this and to hear you say that it’s just a natural part of life and that it’s not a bad thing. I also love that you said that not one person can provide you with everything you need. It’s caused a shift in my mind that’s really helped me today. Thank you so much for this post. I’ll continue to keep reading your blog (I’ve been reading from the very beginning anyway) to get my dose of therapy haha! 😀

    1. Same! My husband and I moved to Manchester about 2 years ago and have made exactly one friend between us here. It’s so hard and makes me miss my friends at home but I love the area where I live. I spend all my time working and then hanging out with my husband, which is great but trying to work out how to make some close friends around that is hard. It does knock your confidence, finding it so hard to search out people you have a connection with but I think its just important to stay true to yourself and your own life and hope some people show up along the way.
      Definitely a comforting post to read, knowing your not alone in these things makes you feel less of a failure. These are things people should talk about more so people feel less alone. Thank you Alice, for giving this a voice.

      1. Thank you for reading! I agree with everything you’ve said – this is what always puts me off moving to a new city because it’s often a whole new start in every sense of the word. I’m lucky that blogging allows me to meet new people all the time, but sometimes it can be overwhelming and difficult to keep up with those that you really hit it off with. Maybe joining some kind of class could help? Always a great way to meet people and get talking xx

    2. Totally hear you on the working full time and being exhausted by the time the weekend comes around – I think it’s totally normal to feel this way though, particularly during the winter months. However, you just have to keep reminding yourself that you’ve moved for a reason – sometimes we have to put ourselves first and the right people will always still be there when we need them xx

  4. Unfortunately, the people I used to call my friends are no longer in my circle. People change and sometimes in a bad way. Consequently, I had to distance myself and now I’m my own friend. I hope one I’ll find that one person who I can call friend, but for now I’ll enjoy my own company.

    Mariya
    http://www.brunetteondemand.com

    1. Oh there’s definitely some people that aren’t meant to be in your life – I think we all go through this! Try to keep open to making new friends though, you deserve to have people who around you that treat you well xx

  5. Hi Alice! First of all I really want to thank you for writing this post, these are exactly the questions and problems that I am currently struggling with. You described all the aspects of twenty-something friendships in a way that I can relate to completely! I also have really close friends, who moved to different countries and sometimes it’s not so easy to keep in touch, or friends, who I see maybe 2-3 times a year and we still manage to continue everything where we left off.
    I totally agree with the first part as well, I barely had problems or so called difficulties as a teen and now I’m 23 and I feel like now is the time, when everything is changing and kind of messy and hard to figure out… I guess everyone has to face these challenges sooner or later, but as you said, no one tells you how confusing and difficult these things can get.
    So thank you again for another great read and for discussing this! ❤

    1. Thank you for reading! It’s that weird stage of life where everyone is growing up and figuring out where they fit in and what they want to do – I think it’s something we all go through at some point. It can be really tough when you feel lonely and you don’t have someone close by to just have coffee with – so pleased that so many of you resonate and feel the same sometimes! xx

  6. Thank you for sharing this! I agree that I feel like my twenties are a lot more significant in terms of growth than my mid to late teens were, and it’s so difficult to make new friends! I think once you’ve left uni and start work, you’re no longer surrounded by people who are in the same age group or that have the same interests as you. I’ve struggled a lot recently thinking about the future, what you said about figuring out a secret hidden talent and trying to find a career you’re interested in… so relatable! At least we’re all in this together x

    Summer, http://www.thetwinswardrobe.com

    1. Haha, exactly! Safety in numbers, and I think it’s definitely something that definitely keeps changing throughout life xx

  7. You pulled these thoughts right out of my head. I’m hitting mid 20 this year and everything you said couldn’t be more true.

  8. A standing ovation is needed here! I can relate so bad both on the twenty something crisis (I’m turning 26 this year and it feels so ‘adult’, so close to the 30) and friendships problems. I’m running out of tomorrows when I could think about what I wanna really do with my life, I’m feeling guilty not to be able to keep some old friends by my side and it’s hard when you can find a little time to hang out with who stayed just after months of trying to manage everyone’s plans. C’est la vie! I’m glad I’m not the only way feeling like this, so thank you for sharing your thoughts xx

    1. Thank you for reading! I think it’s something that’s becoming increasingly harder for people – I really miss having a big group around me sometimes, but everyone has to go off and live their lives, no matter what sacrifices that might come with. I think trying to schedule plans in advance can help – it’s not always easy to be spontaneous xx

  9. I love this post Alice – I feel like this is something I started experiencing around 17, so not even in my twenties yet (which I know is not the point of this post). It sounds stupid, but since I dropped out of college and started focusing on my self and my jobs, my friendships started to fizzle out a little and I became something of a loner.

    It became even more so when my friends went off to Uni! Everyone split off to do their own things and it felt weird to be all ‘adult’ and working for myself!

    For me, I still have those amazing friendships from High School but I’ve also managed to make new friends over the past year or so and that’s nice. However, no matter what, work always gets in the way of making plans and doing things – but I guess it’s okay to put yourself and work first – we’re all working towards something!

    Everything always feels a bit weird to work around and figure out, but that’s life I guess!

    1. I can be exactly the same! I think a lot of us still feel like teenagers in our Twenties anyway, so it’s really not that much different. It’s just that people tend to split off in different directions which makes things increasingly harder – you started focusing on your career a lot sooner than most people so I think you’ve definitely experienced it a lot sooner. You should be so proud of everything you have achieved already! xxx

  10. This whole article was so on point but I especially resonated with what you said in the first couple of paragraphs. I remember not getting coming of age stories (ahem Catcher in the Rye) when I was in high school. And now I really don’t get coming of age stories haha. They’re in the wrong decade. I was not doing any deep thought really in my teens but now that I’m in my mid-twenties, I feel like every year of this decade so far has been a metamorphosis. And, sigh, the quarter life crisis is real. But it’s honestly a breathtaking decade. Here’s to hoping there will be coming of age stories for the 20s soon… also if you know of any such things please pray tell.

  11. Hey Alice,

    I wanted to just say that I think I’ve followed your blog for almost 2years and I’ve been a bit scared to comment until now.

    I know that you get flooded with comments but I love your blog. Despite how georgeous your outfits are, I will always go to your deep and inspirational posts. They always resonate with me. You have also inspired me to write blog posts myself.

    Anyways, I hope I don’t sound weird or anything but I truly love what you write.

    Keep going. Xxx

    1. Thank you! This is so encouraging to hear and really means a lot – so glad that you’re writing, keep at it! xxx

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