SOCIETY TALK

Embracing the inevitability of losing friends

The circle shrinks as we get older and become responsible members of the society

In Summary

• With time, we become less apologetic about the people we cut off from our lives

It's normal to lose some friends
It's normal to lose some friends
Image: COURTESY

If you are reading this and you are over 25, then you have probably experienced what I am about to address. The age 25, or what I have dubbed ‘the quarter life crisis’, is the beginning of the sh*tstorm that is adulthood. This is the point where we start becoming sure of ourselves, understanding who we are and what we want out of life.

Unfortunately, it is at this moment in time that we also start losing friends. We are all aware of the age-old saying that friendships do not last. But now a study out of Aalto University School of Science in Finland and Oxford University has proven that people start losing friends at the age of 25. The study analysed the communication patterns of mobile phone users, which showed a significant decline in the frequency of regular communication between contacts.

 

Looking back now, I realised that the first friend I lost was at 25. We had a full-blown argument and neither of us have looked back ever since. In fact, the whole circle of friends that had once been so close-knit in university, just… fell apart.

When we are in school or universities, it is easier to make and maintain friendships with other people. There is more time to invest in our shared interests. However, as we get older and become responsible members of the society, we become busier and have less time to invest in friendships. Especially the ones that are not mutually beneficial.

The dynamics of friendships begin to change as we evolve into our mature selves. We want people around us who have similar goals and outlooks on life. You will find yourselves surrounded by people with similar values. You will find that in your group, the ambitious one will edge himself out of the group as he surrounds himself with the Wall Street types.

Those who are coupled earlier on in life will move on to making other couple friends. And, if you are the party animal of the group, be prepared to lose most of your friends. Nobody wants to hold your hair when you throw up after partying all night. In fact, nobody wants to party all night anymore.

Sometimes we do not lose friendships to make new ones. Over time, we just cannot handle the pressure of holding on to so many friends. We become so consumed by our new roles and responsibilities that slowly but surely, we start wandering away from the rest of the herd. Friends will only take so many rejections to social events before they stop sending them altogether. Sometimes we do not lose friendships over any concrete reason; one day you wake up and your best friend has become a stranger.

Overall, I believe that as we age and become more assured in our likes, dislikes, tastes, values, and so on… we become less apologetic about the people we cut off from our lives. Putting effort in a relationship is like tending to a plant; we weed the plant, water it, nourish it and at the end of the day, we reap the fruits. However, if the effort is one-sided and the relationship does not benefit both parties mutually, then we should do not hesitate to kick that friendship to the curb.

It is sad when people who shared some of the most important milestones in your life stop being an integral part of your life, but the memories we made with them will always be a part of who we are now. As Dr Seuss says, “Don’t be sad it’s over, be happy it happened.”