I think when you’re in your twenties, and really any age before that, you’re happy to have a colorful buffet of friends. You have access to several, diverse groups who perhaps don’t know each other, appeal to different sides of your personality and interests, and just keep life exciting. You don’t really, at that age, appreciate what friendship can do for your life. Life isn’t yet serious. You don’t have many responsibilities. Perhaps you haven’t gone through anything too difficult at that point. So all you really want from a friend is someone who you tend to have fun with. If you can have a good time when you’re together, it’s about as simple as that. And you even have those problematic friends who you keep around for the stories.
But then, you reach your thirties. Life gets more complicated. You may have a spouse and children and a career. You may have elderly and sick parents. You may have financial stress. Your friends can no longer just be these toys. They’re not just accessories to your life anymore. You need your friends to truly support you. You need friends who have your back, and who have a way of making a really bad day not so bad. You don’t need friends who add to your stress. Or just take, take, and take. You don’t need friends who don’t appreciate your struggles. Your thirties is a time when your friendships will go under a microscope, and some may not hold up to your new, tougher standards. That’s okay. Don’t feel bad about it.
The truth is that you’re busier now and don’t even have time to hold onto all of those friends who were, sure, fun, but perhaps didn’t enrich your life. Here are ways you’ll reassess friendships in your thirties.
How do you feel after seeing them?
You start doing a very simple test after seeing friends. You ask yourself: do I feel good after seeing these friends? You stop justifying and explaining things to yourself. You just answer the question simply. It’s a “yes” or “no” answer. Anything other than yes is a problem.