Friendship is unencumbered when we’re young, before we have responsibilities, obligations, and complications that keep us from maintaining our connections. By senior year of high school, we’ve probably experienced our first few falling-outs. We may have lost a bestie we thought we’d always have. By the time we start dating [seriously], the wo/man we have as a best friend may be a completely different person than the one we imagined filling the role. If we’re lucky, our earliest friends remain our best friends throughout our lives. But what if we’re unlucky in friendship? What if by our late twenties and thirties, we’ve relocated, started families, and lost those deep connections that once meant more to us than almost any other relationship we had?
In his New York Times article, “Friends of a Certain Age,” Alex Williams discusses the various impediments to forging close and long-lasting bonds with new people later in life:
In your 30s and 40s, plenty of new people enter your life, through work, children’s play dates, and, of course, Facebook. But actual close friends — the kind you make in college, the kind you call in a crisis — those are in shorter supply.
As people approach midlife, the days of youthful exploration, when life felt like one big blind date, are fading. Schedules compress, priorities change, and people often become pickier in what they want in their friends.
No matter how many friends you make, a sense of fatalism can creep in: The period for making BFFs, the way you did in your teens or early 20s, is pretty much over. It’s time to resign yourself to situational friends: KOFs (kind of friends) — for now.
What do you think? Is it any harder for you to make close friends as you get older? Have you been able to maintain your childhood, high school, and college friendships as adult life has increased its demands?