Now that I’m in my thirties, my relationships with my inner circle have significantly shifted.
Late night pizza sessions have transformed into late night feedings for babies. Like, actual babies, too — not those man-children that we used to constantly pick up every Thursday at the local dive bar like a bad disease. And, yes, spur-of-the-moment road trips have given way to planning “coffee dates” months in advance.
Making and maintaining friendships becomes increasingly difficult with age, but those friendships that you’ve managed to sustain in your thirties are truly the best of the best.
You Get Rid of the Randos
In your twenties, quantity usually trumps quality. There are the high school friends that you can call on whenever you’re back in town, the university pals that are always down for a last-minute nacho session on a Saturday night, the co-workers who you grab an after-work drink with, that girl who you used to work with at summer camp ten years ago, or the dude from the convenience store who you bonded with over comic books and gum that one time. You have a lot of fringe friendships; friendships that are always fun and convenient, but which can also be shallow, and sometimes, toxic. In your thirties, you get rid of the bottom-feeders, and focus on the value of your friendships, concentrating on those friends who are in your life for a genuine, loving reason.
You’re More Honest
Rocking the boat in a friendship is a big no-no when you’re younger. In fear of hurting feelings or creating drama, there’s a lot of passive aggressiveness and sweeping things under the carpet, and not telling your BFF that she’s wearing a very unflattering shirt to that foam party. (Not to mention the fact that you’re not digging the idea of standing in several feet of suds with strangers, either.)
In your thirties, however, you understand honesty is not only the best policy, but goes a long way in solidifying your friendship. Sometimes it comes down to caring more about your friend’s dignity than sparing her feelings, so you don’t hesitate to tell her that the shirt makes her look like a Muppet and that this foam party actually sounds super lame. In return, she digs your honesty and respects you and your friendship more for it. (And, yeah, thirtysomethings don’t go to foam parties, either.) You understand the importance of being real with one another–whether it’s admitting she hurt your feelings or requesting her reassurance–and that’s what ultimately makes your bond tighter.
You Don’t Have To Do Anything
There’s always some place to be and something to do with friends when you’re in your twenties: Thirsty Thursdays, Bingo Beer Nights, that club with the cute DJ spinning, etc. But when you’re in your thirties, you discover the simple pleasure of spending an evening curled up on the couch with friends and a bottle of wine, or going for a simple walk in the park with your bestie. Even a Skype chat is meaningful time spent together. You realize that it’s not what you do together, but just the act of being together that matters the most.
You Like Your Alone Time
Here’s another great thing about friendships in your thirties: you know you have the best ones, so you’re not really worried that you don’t have plans on a Friday night. In fact, sometimes you relish your cherished “me” time so much that you appreciate your friends not begging you to “come out tonight!” And you know that if you do get a little lonely, they’re only a text away.
Distance Doesn’t Mean A Thing
When you’re young, a friend moving away or changing schools was always the kiss of death to a friendship. Same thing after college. Sure, you promised to stay in touch, but really how long did that last until your new best friend replaced the old one? However, if you were lucky enough to continue contact with those friends who got new jobs across the country or who found love on the other side of the world, you can be sure that those friendships are meant to last. Lives get more complicated when you’re in your thirties. Summer getaways take a backseat to parents falling ill or new additions to the family. Phone calls can be rare and brief. Sometimes months might even go by without hearing from them. But no matter how long it’s been since your last conversations, it feels like no time has passed at all. And those are the best kind of friendships of all.