Let’s be honest, you never really had time for these friendship behaviors to begin with, but once you’re an adult, have a somewhat involved career, make an effort to sleep eight hours a night, exercise regularly, and have a committed relationship, you really don’t have time for these shenanigans. You learn fast when you enter your 30s that energy is a powerful thing, and that some friends take it from you, and some friends give it to you. You also learn that you barely have enough energy as it is so you really can’t afford to hang out with those who take it from you. You also start to cherish your alone time more, just as it gets tougher and tougher to get it. So you’re not handing it over to anybody who will act petty, or who won’t appreciate you. That’s why there is some friendship behavior that just has to stop after your 20s.
Making fake plans
“We should hang out sometime” or “You guys should come over for dinner sometime.” This type of sentence stops after your 20s. Unless you’re ready and willing to state exactly what date and what time this activity would be, you know you’re not that interested in being friends with the person.
Having “going out” friends
In your 20s, you have friends who you just go out with. You wouldn’t have much to talk about outside of the loud, busy environment of a night club. But you have fun dancing and drinking together, and they get you past the bouncer. Later, if you can’t enjoy a quiet coffee date with a friend, you don’t want to have that friend.
Having “staying in” friends
The reverse of the going out friends is true, too. In your 20s, you may have friends who you love hanging out with one-on-one, but you never invite out because, well, they don’t play well with others or don’t like leaving the house. Later in life, you like well-rounded friends who you have fun at the club with and at home.
Acting like you’re doing them the favor
Remember when you used to call a friend and say, “I’m going to Target and they’re having a sale on vacuum cleaners. I remembered you needed one, so if you want you can come with me!” What you really meant was, “I’m lonely and bored, and this errand will be more fun with you.” Now, you just say that.
Ditching them at a bar for a guy
You’ll still meet men at bars when you’re out with your friends, but it won’t become your whole night. You’ll chat a little, exchange numbers, and get back to your friends. You won’t disappear from your friends, and quarantine yourself at a back table with the guy.
Talking behind someone’s back
You used to love gabbing with one friend about the other friend. You pretended you did it because you were “worried about her” but, you’d never actually bring up your “concerns” to said friend. Now you know that behavior is gross and self-indulgent.
Talking sh-t at all
Honestly, after your 20s, you don’t keep friends around if you constantly find yourself talking badly about them. If you talk sh-t about somebody, you’re smart enough to realize that that person just isn’t suited to be your friend.
Keeping the group isolated
Remember how tight you used to keep your clique? If a new friend asked to hang on Friday, but you had plans with the clique Friday, you’d see the new friend another night. Now, you’re not precious about your clique. Any friend of yours should be willing to be friends with any other friend of yours.
Only hanging out when Boo is out of town
“Hey, my boyfriend’s out of town. Want to hang out?” is a sentence you stop saying after your 20s. Now, when you feel like seeing a friend, you call them and ask them to hang out. Boyfriend in town or not.
Remember how incestuous groups were in your 20s? You and your 10 girlfriends would run with a pack of 10 male friends, and you’d all sleep with each other? Now you see that not only was that gross, it was also lazy—you want to meet new people now.
And you’d recycle boyfriends! You’d have full-blown relationships with guys that your friends had dated. You’d endure the drama that came with it as if this was normal. Now you realize there are so many fish in every sea, and you should go fishing in a different sea from your friends.
Being that friend who gets too drunk
There’s one in every group—the friend who is slurring by drink two, hanging all over a guy who everybody knows is predatorial, and trying to sleep in a bush. It’s funny in your 20s; it’s annoying any time after that. If you’re that friend, you just drink less.
The blame game
“You haven’t called me in forever,” “No, you haven’t called me in forever.” You don’t mess with conversations like this after your 20s. If you want to talk to a friend, you call her, and you start talking. You don’t recap who called last.
Complaining about your relationships
In your twenties, it’s normal to complain to your girlfriends about your boyfriends because, well, you’re probably dating all the wrong guys. But later, you identify bad romantic matches quickly, and you know that if you’re talking bad about your boo to your friends, then you’re with the wrong boo.
Befriending your boyfriend’s friends’ girlfriends
Remember when your social group revolved around your boyfriend’s social group? You’d spend Saturdays shopping and going to the movies with whoever your boyfriend’s best friend was dating at the time? Now, you stick to your friends. They’ve always been there for you and always will be.