Like most relationships, friendships often come with expiry dates. Some friends are there for a lifetime, some are just there to help you learn certain lessons. As you grow older, you change and reinvent yourself and it’s natural that the people around you follow suit as well. In high school, friendships are easily formed based on proximity- how often you see each other on a daily basis. However, once you enter adulthood, keeping in touch with friends is never an easy task. Having to adapt to a new lifestyle and being occupied with a new job, you will barely have time to reach out to your friends, let alone save time for yourself. Oftentimes, you will have a tough time deciding on how you want to spend your weekends be it having lunch dates with your friends or cuddling up in your bed watching Netflix.
Some friendships aren’t worth mending
It is not necessarily a negative thing to lose certain friendships. As you drift apart with your friends, you will start to realise how some friendships were toxic. Around certain people, you will have the tendency to hold back certain aspects of yourself. However, if you are with true friends, you should be able to fully express yourself without holding back. There are also friends who create a toxic environment by being passive-aggressive with their words such as making subtle insults at your choices or appearance that put a damper on your achievements. You were never truly yourself because it felt like you were constantly walking on eggshells around them. Over time, you start losing yourself. You might have held back on positive changes because of the lingering paranoia that they might criticise you at any moment. Nevertheless, notice how you're happier after gaining distance from them?
Don’t chase temporary friendships
It goes without saying the main reason why you start losing friends as you grow up is due to the lack of time; you aren’t able to socialise as much as you did back then. Therefore, it is imperative to choose the right social circle. Surrounding yourself with good friends will benefit you in the long run, both mentally and emotionally, they are the perfect support system when entering adulthood. Friends can support you during tough times and make good times even better. When facing a tough situation, you will need someone to lean on and that is where your friends step in. They will be the ones who give you advice and provide emotional support. Besides, they will also be the ones who share your joy when you’re thriving. Use your time wisely to build deeper and more meaningful friendships with the ones you genuinely enjoy surrounding yourself with; the ones who create a positive and supportive environment. You need a friend who brings out the best in you, not someone who makes you feel ashamed for being yourself.
Being comfortable with being alone
It's human nature to desire social connection in some way, which is why social media is so prominent in society today. Disguised as a social connection it absorbs our time but ultimately leaves us feeling empty. There is a difference between being alone and being lonely; loneliness is a feeling where you crave human contact whereas being alone is just a state of being. As you lose friends, you gain independence. Over time, you will start learning how to feel comfortable being alone. Having the ability to be self-reliant is one of the most important skills you can develop. For instance, finding solace in shopping alone, eating alone and having fun alone. When you are with other people, you may unknowingly set your own passion or interests aside to please others. However, being alone allows you to work on yourself and your interests. Along the way, you may even learn new things about yourself that may surprise you.
Setting your priorities straight
As the years go by, you will start realising what is important and what is not. Instead of worrying about petty arguments between friends, you will be more invested in your career, goals and beliefs. It is crucial to take advantage of your twenties because it plays a part in defining your life ahead. Experimentation can be done at any age but the twenties are the prime time to do it — it is the time when you can fail and try again. Being eager to experience life as a young adult can easily make you lose sight of what is important, which is to prioritise yourself above others. Thats not to say that you can’t have fun, just ensure to always maintain a balance. It is crucial to take time to figure yourself out as you are paving the life ahead of you. Don’t feel bad for turning down invitations to get some alone time.
All in all, losing friends is a part of growing up. It is totally okay for friendships to have an expiration date. Friends can get busy and become different people so you just have to accept it and move on. Don’t feel bad for not reaching out; you don’t have an obligation to keep in touch with your friends nor do they. The important thing is to focus on the people in your life right now, treasure every moment and don’t ever take things for granted.
- Danelle Tan Wae-Qing