What It's Like When You And Your BFF Are At Different Stages In Life

by Katie Reinhard

As we move through life, it’s natural for us to drift apart from our friends. Time passes; situations change, but most of the time, best friends withstand the tests and are able to carry on like nothing happened.

But, that isn’t always the case.

I played lacrosse at school, so my friends are from all ages and grades in college.

A few of them graduated with me in 2014, but a handful are still at school in various stages of their academic and athletic careers.

While I obviously understand their lives and situations because I’ve been in their shoes, I’m now on the other side of things, and it’s becoming increasingly harder to carry on like the friends we once were.

Not to be too Carrie Bradshaw-esque here, but is it possible to stay best friends when you’re in completely different walks of life?

My gut obviously says yes, but my unanswered texts and FOMO say no.

Here’s why it becomes so much harder to remain tight when you’re in different stages of life from your friends:

Talking every day becomes nearly impossible

You would think it’s innate to talk to your best friends every day, or at least a few times every week.

But, as we grow up and move into different areas of our lives, it becomes harder and harder to even shoot a text their way.

Between work and the day-to-day demands of life, I’m typically up at 6 am, firing texts to my friends who don’t see them until 10 am. I then can’t answer my phone until after work, and at that point, they’re at practice or night class.

Alas, text-tag commences throughout the work week, until the extremely rare occasion we’re both free at the same time.

Daily worries are vastly different

My Monday consisted of ordering checks for the first time and opening a GAP card, while my friend at school spent her Monday studying for a PR test.

Not to downplay her worries or elevate mine, but you can see where we could run into some conflict understanding each other.

I graduated not even a year ago, so I still feel their pain of cramming for exams and having to rush to class straight from practice.

But, because I’ve graduated and now have a full-time job, it’s becoming harder for me to find their worries as grandiose as they do.

I’m texting them how I haven’t stopped sweating because I’m nervous about a meeting, or how I just made a fool of myself trying to chat about the company trip in the kitchen, and they’re telling me how sore they are from the previous day’s practice.

I remember when I was still in school worrying about lacrosse and tests, and having people tell me there’s more to life than just lacrosse.

I remember thinking, “Yeah, right; they just don't understand my situation.” Now, being on this side of it, I see what they meant.

I barely ever have the time or energy to make it to the gym a few times a week, and it’s a part of my friends' daily schedules.

You don’t see each other every day like you used to

A lot of times, you could text your friend across campus, and even if he or she said everything was fine, the second you saw this person, you knew he or she was certainly not “fine.”

When you aren’t seeing each other every day, this can’t happen. You can text and call each other, but things get lost in translation a lot more now because you aren’t seeing each other face to face.

What you say is pretty much all your friends know, and you’re no longer able to just pop over and rectify any miscommunications.

Life priorities are completely opposite

Sometimes, I just want to yell, “IT DOES NOT MATTER WHAT YOU GOT ON THAT BIOLOGY TEST” to my friends who are still in school.

But, of course, I can’t and don’t, and I’m sure they feel the same way when I tell them I don’t know how to make bathroom small talk with my coworkers.

Again, when I was in school, I worked hard to maintain my GPA. If people told me when I was going through it that the dean’s list didn’t matter, I would've told them they’re wrong, it’s crucial to my future.

Yes, good grades matter, but in the grand scheme of life, they aren’t the be-all, end-all.

It has just become monumentally harder to have conversations when I’m sweating and having anxiety about the people I have to interview, and my friends are telling me how they can’t go out that night because they have to meet late for a group presentation.

They’re staying up until all hours partying and drinking, and my biggest priority is getting in bed by 9 pm. 

You want to be happy for them and hope they feel the same way, but being in different stages of your lives makes everything a million times harder.

That being said, my best friends will always be my best friends; it’s just all about balance.

You can make time to talk to them and do your best to understand where they’re coming from, but it’s just a bit harder now and requires a lot more effort.

At the end of the day, you’ll make sure the people you want in your life stay in your life.