As we go through our twenties and thirties, it becomes more apparent how simple it is to find ourselves in a life stage that is significantly different from that of our peers. We may be separated from one another by actual, significant events, such as choosing where to live, going to graduate school, investing in our professions, settling down, and even having a family.
These are all significant events that can separate us from one another. As our lives get more hectic, we may find ourselves with less time to spend with friends, other connections may take precedence, and we may begin to feel that we have less in common than we once did. And, although being at a different stage of life than our friends may be difficult for a variety of reasons, it does not always imply the end of our friendships with them.
Here’s how to keep your friendships together when you feel like you’re in separate locations at the same time:
1.Recall the circumstances that drew you all together.
It certainly goes without saying, but remembering why you became friends in the first place may go a long way toward ensuring that your relationship is long-lived and fulfilling.
Sharing your shared history, such as inside jokes and previous events, may make you feel closer to one another even when you’re in different locations and may not be able to see each other as frequently as you’d like. As a result, it is critical to provide chances for people to remember, laugh, and even cringe over old tales and recollections.
2. Make time for new experiences and memories.
Remembering the good times is always enjoyable, but any connection, even a friendship, will be short-lived if you don’t set aside time to create new memories.
A new hobby that you and your partner may participate in together is a wonderful way to keep up with each other’s life while also enjoying some much-needed leisure time. As a result, being spontaneous is unlikely to be as effective as it once was, and preparing ahead ensures that your time together is not interrupted by other obligations or duties.
Allow yourself to be vulnerable.
Communicate about your difficulties, celebrate your victories, and express your aspirations for the future. Being true to yourself will help you to bridge the gap between your various life circumstances.
Making new memories doesn’t have to be limited to doing activities with your family, but doing things together definitely helps. Having meaningful discussions that bring you closer together is also an important part of the process. Social media makes it much simpler to keep in contact with friends and family (especially for long-distance friendships).
However, it makes it more difficult to have genuine discussions, and it is not always a replacement for spending meaningful time together.
It doesn’t matter if you’re able to meet up in person or over the phone; the most important thing is to have honest discussions about what’s actually going on in your life. Allow yourself to be vulnerable. Communicate about your difficulties, celebrate your victories, and express your aspirations for the future. This level of honesty will assist you in better understanding what the other person is going through and in bridging the gap between your various life circumstances.
3. Make a list of your limits.
Finding the right moment to connect isn’t the only challenge. There are a variety of additional difficulties that may make it tough to sustain a relationship while you are at various phases of your lives as well. Perhaps one of you has children to juggle while the other is juggling frequent business travel to keep up with. It is also probable that your financial situation will affect the kind of activities you are able to participate in together as well as how frequently you are able to see each other.
While it is beneficial to be accommodating and flexible, it is also essential to be honest about how far you are really able to bend and what you can reasonably expect from your buddy. In addition to providing a starting point for seeking solutions or compromises (such as going on cheaper excursions), it also helps prevent misunderstandings or confrontations (such as a friend thinking you don’t want to see them when you decline dinner arrangements due of financial constraints). Taking the initiative and suggesting a suggestion or alternative that takes your friend’s circumstances into consideration is also a good option at times. Many people find this sort of attentiveness to be very valuable.
4. Be ready to be taken by surprise.
In relationships between people who are at various phases of life, it is very easy to make assumptions about what the other person is going through. The issue is that our assumptions are often shown to be incorrect. They may also prevent us from coping with difficult circumstances and cause even greater distance between friends to develop. Consider the following scenario: one of your friends has a propensity to speak incessantly about her children whenever you get together.
Because, as much as you like her children, you find it impossible to have a meaningful conversation with her (and there’s only so much you can say about diaper genies or preschool waitlists). You may be concerned that if you (gently) bring up the subject of your wish to speak about anything (or anything else), she would get angry. It’s possible she is. However, she may be delighted to hear about your previous trip and may even welcome the opportunity to go away for a while! Make sure you don’t leap to conclusions (and check in with your pals if you’re not sure where they stand) instead of rushing to conclusions.
5. Stay away from societal comparisons.
From time to time, we’ve all found ourselves comparing ourselves to our pals. However, when you are at a different life stage, it is easy to get obsessed with trying to figure out who is doing “better” or who seems to be farther along in life. This is particularly true if you’re the buddy who’s feeling a little behind the times. Jealousy is a perfectly natural response, no matter how unpleasant it may be.
Getting caught up in societal comparisons, on the other hand, may get in the way of your friendship and draw your attention away from the period of life you are now experiencing. Instead of focusing on all of the ways you are falling behind or being excessively judgmental of yourself, keep in mind that everyone has ups and downs from time to time.
You never truly know what someone is going through, even if they are your dearest friend. After all, you don’t realize how difficult a situation (even a good or welcoming one) may be until you’ve been through it yourself.
Instead of focusing on all of the ways you are falling behind or being excessively judgmental of yourself, keep in mind that everyone has ups and downs from time to time. You never truly know what someone is going through, even if they are your dearest friend.
6. Shift your point of view
Focusing on the benefits of your present life stage may be beneficial when you’re feeling down about how difficult it is to keep a friendship going while you’re in separate locations at the same time. For example, having the freedom to do anything you want and the capacity to be spontaneous, or being thankful for understanding the worth of a dollar, are all positive attributes.
It is also possible to change your overall perspective on the issue by adjusting your viewpoint. Even though it is difficult, going through this process may be beneficial in that it provides you with a peek into a new period of life. In certain cases, seeing a friend go through a similar experience may help you determine whether or not it’s something you’re ready for. This is true whether you’re thinking of moving in with your spouse, getting married, taking a promotion, or having a kid.
7. Make new friends (and keep the ones you already have!)
Finally, it is very normal and (in some cases, even anticipated) that friendships may alter or drift as we go through life’s many changes. You may opt to venture out and make new friends who are at a similar stage to you, in addition to changing the conditions of your existing friendship (such as what you speak about or the kind of activities you can do together) (like single friends, new mom friends, or work friends). It is important to note that this does not imply that you should abandon your previous friendships. It also doesn’t imply that you’ve done anything wrong or that you’re acting in a “poor” friend-like manner either.
It’s difficult to maintain friendships when you’re at various phases of life or achieve different milestones at different times. So there’s something particularly wonderful about long-term friendships that have survived with a little renegotiating and a lot of patience and understanding on both sides!
Listed below are seven things you should refrain from saying to your single friends.