Psychologists say that if a friendship lasts longer than 7 years it will last for a lifetime and I especially believe that if those years are in your 20’s. Priorities, personalities, and lifestyles all change so much in these years and it can be tough to navigate all of those changes and stay close. That’s why as I get older, I appreciate my friendships more and more. I feel really lucky to have a couple core groups of lifelong friends that have ridden the seas of change with me and show no signs of drifting away any time soon. In fact, I feel like our friendships are even stronger now that we’re older. We know that we really love each other as people, not just because we’re in the same place at the same time.
All this waxing poetic about friendship is really just my way of saying that I had such a fun time last weekend with my friends Kelly and Julia in Chicago. We all went to high school together and become close in college during a series of debaucherous trips to St. Louis. Now, we get together every few months for weekends of cooking, drinking, dancing, and catching up and I’m so grateful that we do.
Even though the three of us always have the best time together, there have been moments when I’ve been scared that life would intervene. Both Julia and Kelly are in serious relationships and have bought houses and are a lot more settled than I am and at first I was worried this would be the end of our friendship. I’ve drifted away from friends in the past who have had big lifestyle changes (and been that friend too) so I know it can happen and was bracing myself for it to happen again. But it never did. In fact, it’s only made us plan further in advance and prioritize our weekends with each other more. Even though they’re in different places in their lives than I am, they’re always unwaveringly supportive of me and my decisions and I hope they feel that from me too.
To me, that’s the key to adult friendships: to delight in your friends’ lives even when they’re different than your’s. It’s so easy to play the comparison game with friends who are on a different timeline, but that’s what I love about my friends – they affirm my timeline too. They delight in my career and my independence the way I delight in their personal and professional successes even though they’re different than mine. It’s not a race, there’s no right or wrong, there’s just us and we all love each other exactly where we are.