Being in your 20s is a very unique time. To me, it feels like an extra layer of your teenage years. We are still growing, maturing, and learning on how to be a well-functioning human in the world. One big aspect is how we balance figuring out life and still maintaining healthy friendships. Life gets busy, but you know you have your friends to call on when you need them.
Life is Happening to Everyone
Understand that you and your friends are all going through something. We are all working, being beat up by life, and just trying to stay alive honestly. This is a critical time. In your 20s, you have a number of societal pressures that could be transpiring separately or at the same time. College/graduating college, finding your career, FINDING YOURSELF. Living the single life or finally being with your soulmate. Trying to decide if you really want to have kids or actually having a kid and still trying to everything else as well. Because there is so much happening, no one really has the time to communicate every day. Sometimes, I find myself being a little frustrated because I feel like I hardly ever get to see or talk to my friends (outside of FaceTime or a text). However, I have to be mindful that I am not entitled to anyone’s time. I feel like that is a very common issue with my age group. It’s a simple concept, but it is not always easily grasped. When you do finally get in contact with your friends, have healthy conversations. Don’t just talk talk talk about your problems. Actively listen to your friends and be present in the conversation. This is a time of reconnection and checking in with each other. Let them know that you miss them and that you are doing your best to be present in their lives.
Know Your Lane and Stay in It!
If you’re anything like me, you may have different groups of friends. I like to think of my friend groups as being on different tiers because each group, or tier, has a different purpose.
Tier 1: The Rock Solid or Core Group
This group is your best of best friends. You guys have been super close for a very long time. They don’t have to all be best friends with each other, but they are all best friends with you. For me, I have a group of eight best friends. These are the people that I can be the most vulnerable with. These are the people that know my deepest fears and secrets. They know all of my business, and they don’t judge me for it. They hold me accountable whenever I’m in the wrong. They all understand that we don’t have to communicate every single day to know that the love and the friendship is there. They aren’t friends, they’re basically family! They don’t feel entitled to my time. I know that I can go months without seeing them physically and we can pick right back up by updating each other on our personal lives.
Tier 2: The Close, but Not Super Close Group
This is the group that you can really go an extended amount of time without communicating with them, and it doesn’t bother you. It is known that there is still nothing but love there. But it is also known that you all aren’t besties. You guys mostly interact with each other via social media here and there. You celebrate their accomplishments. You guys check in once every blue moon. You invite them to your important events and vice versa.
Tier 3: Associates/Acquaintances
I consider this the group that is basically just a bunch of small talk happening here and there. These people don’t have any real attachment to you. They can be people you just see every day at work or school. There isn’t any real depth to the relationship, but they are cool nonetheless.
We tend to have difficulty in differentiating the relationship between Tier 3 and Tiers 1/2 due to the fact that we see these people every day. Because we are so heavily saturated with a Tier 3 friend’s presence, we start to doubt our worthiness in the relationship we have with our Tiers 1/2 friends. What we lack with acquaintances is the depth and intimacy we have with our best friends. Once you understand the levels of your friendships, the guilt of feeling like you’re not being a good friend will ease. The major key is to communicate effectively.
Communication, but make it FUN!
Now that we’ve addressed that life is hard and staying in touch isn’t easy, here are some tips on better ways to stay in touch with your friends!
- Using Google Calendar. This is such an adulting move and it’s actually pretty effective. You don’t even need a Gmail account to use it! All you need is your friends’ email addresses and for everyone to get the app. However, you will have to get on a computer to add the emails. Once added, everyone will be able to see each other’s schedules so there won’t be any scheduling conflicts.
- Plan a monthly gathering and stick to it. Set a goal to meet up with your friend(s) one time a month. You can use Google Calendar as mentioned in #1 to find the perfect time AND set a reminder for everyone.
- Have a virtual game night! Not everyone will be able to get out and physically socialize. But what better way to hang out than to be in the comfort of your home! You can host a Zoom Party or, my personal favorite, House Party. All you need is to download the app(s), add your friends, and schedule a time to play!
- Become pen pals with each other. Sending a text to your friends is pretty convenient, but nothing beats the feeling of a handwritten letter. The fact that you are taking your time to write a nice note to your friend creates another level platonic intimacy. It can be as simple as a “Thinking of You” card or an actual letter.
Take it easy and give yourself (and your friends) some grace. Life isn’t easy, but life is easier when you and your squad are aligned. I hope that this inspires you to be a better, loving friend.