Relationships have always been a priority for me, and particularly in the last few years, I’ve become really interested in friendships and how they change over time. Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about my own expectations for friendships, and this morning I ran across a Friends of a Certain Age article. I couldn’t relate to all of their examples (probably because I’m not over 30 nor do I have to factor a husband or kids into friendships yet), but some of their logic makes sense.
Part of the reason I was drawn to read MWF Seeking BFF is because once you’re out of school, it seems harder to develop and sustain new friendships. What is it that makes friendships different when you’re in your late 20s and 30s? (As a side note, it was a little rough to write that sentence, although technically I’m not that late into my 20s…)
Some of the explanations I like. According to the article, “After 30, people often experience internal shifts in how they approach friendship. Self-discovery gives way to self-knowledge, so you become pickier about whom you surround yourself with.”
That I don’t mind. I want to surround myself with people I actually have a connection with, that I can easily chat with and ultimately people who enhance my life. I don’t necessarily want to hang out with someone just for the sake of hanging out with someone. As the article suggests, I’ve set the bar a little higher for my friendships as I’ve gotten older.
But what about the role of what the article dubs as “kind of friends”?
This concept really intrigues me, in part because it was also brought up in MWF Seeking BFF. Essentially you have people who fill specific voids or meet specific needs in your life – having a workout friend, a cocktail friend, a book friend, etc. Instead of having a “comprehensive” friend that fills a variety of roles, you have certain people who can call when you’re needing or wanting to do a specific thing, like workout or catching a rom-com.
Maybe I wasn’t quite on board with this because I haven’t fully transitioned to the age/life stage where this occurs. I still have close friends (and always the sisters) that I can call in the middle of the night/crisis situations, among other things. Since those are rich and meaningful connections, I don’t like the idea of having someone that I just workout with or just go to movies with or talk books with occasionally. Isn’t that almost compartmentalizing your life? Plus I think it’s still possible to cultivate new friendships that are comprehensive. I’ve only known Lindsay about a year, but no way could I just work with her or just grab drinks with her every once in awhile. I love that she fills a variety of roles in my life.
It’ll be interesting to see if/how my perspective changes as I get older, though. I think I will reach a point where I do have a balance more things and may not be able to prioritize my friendships. Perhaps then this concept won’t seem as crazy to me. Right now the thought of having “kind of friends” just seems kind of depressing.