I turned 25 on Monday and looking back over the last year- more changes have been made in regards to lifestyle and friendships than any other year.
It seems to me that when you are younger you have more of an urge to keep a large number of friends close and under careful watch, just in case they suddenly run off with other better and cooler people.
Is it due to our desperate “instilled in the brain” need to be popular?
Or is it purely because we value friendships more when we are younger?
I am inclined to believe that when we are younger, because we have less to worry about (no stress of jobs , rent, money, bills etc) our worries fabricate around us and adapt due to our age, circumstances, and the way we have been bought up.
For a middle class girl who went to an all girls private school, the worries were strictly friends related. The constant urge to be apart of that cool crowd or at least be acknowledged occasionally by them, was the prime focus of living at that point.
You did not have to worry about men breaking up with you or not having enough money for bills, instead friends were at the top of your stress list alongside what to wear and of course how to do your hair.
However instead of this stopping at the age of 18/19 it only carried on. The constant panic that I was not keeping in touch with people that I considered my close friends. An argument was the end of the world. This was whilst I was at Uni and meant to be studying for my degree.
It was only until I broke up with my long term boyfriend in my 3rd year that I started to re-evaluate my understanding of friends. They were no longer a number on Facebook or the people who I spent my time speaking to the most during the week. They were the people who were the first on the phone when I was going through a break up. The ones who no matter what would go out of their way to change your frown into a smile, even if it meant doing something completely out of their comfort zone.
It was at this point that I gave up my stress. I let it go (obviously not entirely-this is just the stress related to worrying about friendships). I started valuing myself thinking that if people wanted to remain friends with me then they would contact every so often to see if I was still ok.
A good friend may last for 1-25 years or even longer but if they are loyal and good at it than you will value their friendship forever. You do not have to be in contact with them every single day, they are the people that when you see them after 1 month to a year your friendship is exactly the same and nothing has changed-there is just more to catch up on.
Certainly in the last year I have made the conscious decision to value the friends I love more and let the ones that cause me more stress than it is worth go (now when I say go I mean remain as nice and lovely to them and loyal but if they are not meant to be than letting life carry on and not stopping the world to make sure I do not lose them).
Like my mum said when I was younger:
“When you are older you will be able to count your true friends on one hand”
She was right.