6 Ways To Keep Your Friendships Solid In Your 20s
Your close friendships will be a cornerstone as you travel through your 20s. Fun yet complicated, joyful yet challenging, the friendships that stay solid in your 20s will stay solid throughout your life.
It won’t always be easy. Just like any relationship, friendships require some TLC. Keeping your friendships solid is going to require time, energy and patience.
#1 Accept that viewpoints are going to change and develop over time
The 20s are a time in one’s life where judgements and beliefs are cultivated and developed. This can range from having conflicting political views to a strong opinion on the thread count of sheets.
It can be challenging to keep up-to-date with where everyone stands on certain topics. One of your friends may be anti-feminist one day and than enlightened the next. Your friends might shift from voting the way their parents do to having strong opinions about parliament and certain policies within a year.
A lot of respect is needed here. You may not like all these changes but it’s important to love your mates anyway.
#2 Be committed
Ultimately, friendships that will last the long haul are the ones that you’re committed to. It’s a simple notion, one that should be at the core of any relationship you value.
If you’re truly committed to a mate then their constantly changing dietary stances and newfound opinion on wheat won’t be the deal breaker it would be on say, a first date. Basically, committing means staying with your mates through all their crap. Their spiritual phase will be funny one day.
#3 Give them space
At times you’ll have to be self-sacrificing. One or two episodes of Masterchef may have to be missed because Becky or Mike wants to go to the night market again (ugh). So you do it, because you love them, and in the long term it’ll matter more than seeing the judges destroy some dude because his curry was too basic (looking at you, Trent from 2016).
But just like valuing time, space is also really important. Don’t hang out at your mate’s house because they have Foxtel and the footy is on if you know they enjoy spending time alone. Being a pest is not a great way to cement a friendship long-term.
While we’re talking time, it’s important to note that time you do spend with your mates should be treasured. Yep, that means phones away! Don’t show up at a coffee date with a mate and spend it on Instagram. That ain’t cool.
#4 Invest in their interests
This one may seem like a no-brainer but its easier said than done. If one of your friends suddenly takes up a diehard interest in brunch culture and becomes obsessed with house smoked Tasmanian shore salmon, then guess where you’re going to be spending your Sunday mornings?
Investing in your friends’ interests gives you more material for dialogue. There is nothing worse than a glorious friendship fizzling out because there is nothing more to talk about.
Investing in their interests is investing in them. It’s also just a nice thing to do for someone that you love. Period.
#5 Keep your ego in check
The ultimate road block in resolving conflict: the ego. In order for a friendship to last the rollercoaster ride of the 20s, egos must pipe down and ride backseat multiple times, on multiple occasions. After all, your 20s are all about exploration and change.
There will no doubt come a time when viewpoints, opinions and beliefs between you and your friends will clash and in those moments, it’s important to remember your love for them.
It’s in these character-testing moments the lungs get an unwarranted work out. Many, many deep breaths. Sometimes it’s just more important to hold your tongue, keep your opinions about veganism at bay, and never speak about it again. It could save your relationship.
In all relationship advice that ever was given on this planet, the secret that is the all-encompassing key to the survival of a relationship is ba-ba-ba-bummmmm – communication.
Don’t let things bubble under the surface. Small stuff has the infuriating ability to just keep on crawling deeper under your skin. Similarly, don’t let positive thoughts slide away either. Your friend gets a new haircut or aces an exam? Acknowledge it, and compliment it. It’s just plain nice and it lays some solid groundwork for a solid friendship.
It’s hard to avoid corny clichés when talking about how your friendships during your 20s will enrich your life in a unique and valuable way. As Elbert Hubbard said, a friend is someone who knows all about you and loves you just the same.
That sort of unconditional loving should never go undervalued. Your friendships in your 20s could be one of the most important things in your life. Appreciate them and nurture them. You won’t regret it.
Marnie is a Melbourne based freelance writer, spending most of her time in coffee shops or tending to her plant friends. Find her on Instagram @marnie.vinall