Maintaining Friendships As We Get Older

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As I slowly eased into my 30s, the number of friends I meet regularly (once per month, at least) starts to dwindle.

Most of whom I meet during my free time nowadays are colleagues, not even ex-colleagues, school mates, or even long-time friends.

But that’s just working life, I guess.

Most of your time is spent facing people you work with and the little time you have left in the night will be spent with family.

The friends whom I do meet have their own commitments as well, and arranging a convenient time for both or a group of us, takes a lot of effort.

Anyone who has been working for at least three years can attest to that.

Having friends whom I can count on or just talk to is very valuable to me, so even if I look like a needy friend, I’m trying my best to maintain as many friendships as I can.

Who needs friends?

“Why do we need friends, anyway?”

– Almost every adult in modern day

I’ve talked to several working adults who are in the workforce for three, five, or more years, and that’s all I hear when it comes to maintaining good friendships.

Including my wife, actually – she has asked me several times to give her reasons why she should put in more effort than her friends in arranging meetups.

Well, everyone doesn’t want to put in any effort because it makes them look as if they’re the “loser friend” or “sticky friend” who doesn’t have friends.

The irony is that people who think like that usually end up not having any friends, regardless of how popular they were back during school or anywhere for that matter.

And while we might not think we need friends in our twenties and thirties, most would think twice later in life.

No one likes to live like a hermit for one’s entire life. Humans are social animals, and hanging out with friends whom you can trust is priceless.

Second honest opinions on various topics

“Friends” from back in the school days are mostly not true friends. They stick with you because they have to.

Just think about the number of friends from school that we still keep in contact with.

Friends with whom you’re still texting, meeting up, confiding, don’t come easy, though – both of you would have put in the effort.

And two important ingredients are honesty and acceptance.

Honesty in that you’re truthful to one another because you want to genuinely help each other.

Acceptance in that there’s no judgment between the both of you because you’ve accepted each other’s flaws.

Only then can you have deep and difficult conversations, and have honest opinions on various topics to expand your mind and gain wisdom.

Cherish your (other) relationships

Funny as it sounds, maintaining good friendships as we get older can help us appreciate our family and loved ones more.

Familiarity breeds contempt – we’ve all been there where we start to question even the need of a family.

It could be your mother’s constant nagging, or your brother’s dirty habit of not cleaning up after a meal, or even the creeky door of your dad’s study room – anything that ticks you off.

But talking and hanging out with friends, you’ll start to realise that there’s stuff you talk about with friends, and there’s stuff you can only talk about with family.

And you appreciate the privilege of having different outlets for various topics about life.

Human relationships are tough to navigate and maintain – but that’s precisely also why it’s so satisfying when you have good relationships with people who matter.

Be grateful for the friends who stick around after years or even decades, because those are few and far between. They could be the ones why you manage to be who you are right now.

About the author

Vance Wong
Vance Wong

Brain-picker. Cinephile. Koreaboo.

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Vance Wong by Vance Wong

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Vance Wong

Vance Wong

Brain-picker. Cinephile. Koreaboo.