Fifteen years ago, my life was filled with a whole host of friends, mates and buddies I’d accrued from all walks of life.
By my early 20s, my Facebook ‘Friends’ list was heaving and my phone was bulging with contacts, meaning I was never without somebody to text, call or meet. As I’ve got older, my circle has shrunk and I now have just a handful of best friends I spend time with.
Apparently I’m not alone in that. A recent study by the City University of New York revealed everyone’s social networks follow this same predictable cycle, expanding in our 20s – when it’s all about quantity – and shrinking in our 30s – when less time means we focus more on quality friendships.
And that’s not the only change I’ve noticed as the years have passed and my friends and I have gone from a group of single gals to a bunch of married mummies.
Our friendships with one another, once the most important things we had going on, have changed too; they’ve had to. We’re no longer each other’s first calls when something wonderful or terrible happens, as boyfriends and husbands have stepped in to fill the positions of our ‘in case of emergency’ people.
We’ve gone from seeing one another most days and every weekend, to struggling to coordinate a monthly dinner.
My best friend and I once texted every day – a play-by-play of everything that was going on in our lives. I was appalled this morning to realise we haven’t texted for over two weeks! And the way we spend our time together is different too. This same best friend and I lived together for two years in our 20s and would often spend whole Sundays in our PJs, wearing face masks and sipping wine as we giggled about our love lives.
These days, far from a ‘see you at 7.30pm?’ text message, our get-togethers involve a war of the diaries and dates picked weeks in advance. Rather than an intimate natter in our PJs with cups of tea and episodes of Gilmore Girls, we snatch an hour for lunch.
As close as we still are, the ease and familiarity of those years is not the same either. As 20-somethings, my close group of friends and I shared beds, cars, clothes and even, on occasion, toothbrushes. Our friendships were the most intimate relationships any of us had had up until that point. I will always love these girls just as much, they are the people who saw me through everything that has got me to this point, but time marches us on, and rightly so.
So to those for whom friendships can still be your ultimate priority, in the days before husbands and children, enjoy every moment of the Friday nights on the town and lazy Sundays . It doesn’t last forever.