Friendship in Your 20s: The ‘Other’ Relationship.

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 I’ve been thinking lately, in our 20s we are swarmed with about eighteen different emotions on any normal day. Sometimes it’s like the best day ever, indeed, could consist of nothing but hard liquor, black candles, and a hot tub to melt our troubles away. We have a lot on our plates, but relationships become one of the toughest topics to unlock. There is so much refiguring and reexamining, that we often times feel as though we are the Upper East Side’s concrete sidewalks- getting water pressure blasted on a daily basis, and no one really has a good answer as to why. We only know some mumbled answer that sounds something like, “We’re…cleaning”, it’s like, but it’s sidewalk? Or in our case, “But, we’re about to have a mental breakdown, must this constant blast be continuous?” Once a week would suffice.

Anyhow, on top of everything else that’s going on from careers to love, we find ourselves…friendless? Perhaps, that is a bit of an overstatement, but rather friendships that really just, well, aren’t the same anymore. As if we haven’t been blasted enough, here’s one more ‘mark?’ on the sidewalk of life…

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I suppose in the past four years, a lot has been reexamined, ‘reconfigured’, and definitely, edited. Life as I once saw it, has changed drastically since my 20th year. And who knew? We all go in expecting at least a somewhat bumpy ride (say, taxi ride Asia), but I don’t think when we first enter our 20s (or enter the ‘real world’) we realize just how much things can change (i.e…we’re actually riding in a taxi in the middle of an earthquake in South America). A lot of tough lessons get ran by us like sticky note memos, one after the other, quick and swift…and often times, somewhat painful.

We’re interning and working and balancing and trying to ‘make it’, yet we never truly think about a time where perhaps some of our closest friendships begin vanishing like a mystical plague. Well, I suppose until now. And that’s when we begin to reexamine yet another point of our lives; the friendships of our 20s- one of the most sane-keeping aspects of life in such a delicate time.

Through all the hard knocks, there are essential ingredients to help us get through them. Especially being young women, we are most definitely not the same without strong friendships that let us vent it all out. ‘Sex and The City’ isn’t just a comedy that was born out of HBO in the 90s, it was Candace Bushnell that knew what life can look like without having strong girlfriends to back you up when tears are inevitable. I stand firmly by that statement, with a straight, serious, face. I mean, we all want three best friends right there by us, always wanting to go out for drinks, dressed impeccably (even on a rainy Monday night), and all sharing their illuminated life and love advice, right?

The fact is, that isn’t always the case. Perhaps we were primed to think so, which is why we seem to freak out when we realize a friendship just isn’t what it used to be. Or, as a whole our friendships aren’t very becoming. We don’t always get three girlfriends that we know will be there in an absolute pinch, or better yet, even one. This is definitely a universal topic in our 20s; men you’re in on this, too. Sometimes we are a little more alone than we would like, a little more ‘friendless’ than we want to admit- even to ourselves. Hell, I’m guilty as charged, many of my friendships in the past few years have definitely shown their true colors, but it doesn’t mean that we won’t find our ‘love at first sight friendships’. (Eh, yes, I’ll say they exist.)

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My point here is that I’m kind of in this situation, and perhaps you may feel this way, too. I don’t have specific ‘Navy-planned’ answers, but I do have a space of acknowledgment. It’s not that I feel ‘friendless’ per se, I suppose it’s more of a lack of ‘common ground’ that seems to be a bit…scarce at the moment. You want to know other people are going through the same feelings; it’s the cliche of your 20s. However, sometimes just finding a book or watching a show isn’t enough to keep the chronic-sometimes-loneliness at bay. It needs to be tangible. A real exchange of ideas and ‘what-the-fuck-am-I-doing’ moments.

 I will say in my navigation so far, one of the biggest issues I’m tackling is based around ‘what time, is worth my time?’, it’s been a serious phase lately, this question. It’s a pretty good question to ask yourself about every 5.2 seconds when you find yourself in the ‘age of unknown’, quite literally. Often we realize some of the friendships we once had, don’t reflect that common ground anymore. A reflective and relatable friendship is one that helps you grow- and does the same for them in return. I think I’m beginning to realize that without this, it’s not really a positive investment in my time anymore. Especially when there are so many other aspects of my life that take up so much of it.

So, what do you do now, how do you have friends that will pick you up when you’re down? Hold you together and reassure you everything will be okay, reciting those lovely words, “We’re going through the same thing.” I mean, you’re getting everything else (somewhat) right in your life. Reaching for the stars and keeping your dreams alive (and you’ll get that coffee for your boss- hell, yea!), ahem, knowing your job is serious and important (you’ll get there).

Well, here is it (I think): You learn to be uncomfortable, friendships follow suit. Maybe it’s why we wake up one day and freak out about our friendships, it’s just another lesson we must learn to deal with. However, it’s definitely one of the hardest ones to accept. We don’t like to admit it always, but being uncomfortable makes for the happiest people. You kind of learn what you’re made of, just you, you alone. We struggle with this a lot in our 20s I think, because friendships- whether awesome or okay- were what we identified with for a long time. Think about it, we are friendship-reliant basically the first half of our lives. From pre-school to college- our lives are our friends. Then, all of the sudden we’re pushed out and expected to become who we are. Never mind the fact it takes our entire lives to truly figure that one out, but, what matters is it takes a lot of ourselves, to figure out, well, ourselves. That means being alone, and that means being uncomfortable.

It’s also nice to think this is one of the only points in our lives where it’s completely acceptable to have somewhat limited friendships, and have ‘me’ time just about everyday. Yea, rock out around your apartment, naked, singing The Supremes (when you’re roommate is away) because everyone else seems ‘busy’, have that one night stand where you don’t have to dish to your friends, dress appropriately day in-day out in your best pajamas because shopping trips kind of aren’t the same without someone to share them with.  Hey, enjoy the loneliness while you have it. It’s really a win-win if you wander through the perks. You have to swirl it into the positive side, pull that nonexistent rainbow towards you. The best friendships are something that grow out of a ‘raw’ side of you, a you that isn’t always comfortable and content. That’s when you slowly become the most honest you, untouched by the staggering process of ‘growing into yourself.’ So cheers to being uncomfortable, naive, hopeful, raw, reckless, most definitely completely uncertain, with a dash of vulnerable. Because that’s what is most important in our 20s- the most beautiful…you. Everything else will certainly come to us in time, especially the people that share this crazy life with us.

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