You know how you're always talking about how you hate everyone? The thing is, the older you get, the more real this is.
True story: I don't really have friends anymore. I'm super close with my family; my siblings and two of my cousins are my best friends. If you find yourself in a similar situation, you may be wondering why the older you get, the more you hate everyone (or, rather, why more people get on your nerves). I’m here to tell you a personal tale.
I used to have a ton of friends. I confided important things in a couple of people I considered to be my best friends. I felt like they knew my soul through and through; they could see me; they would never go anywhere. In my mind, I thought they would be in my wedding party, we'd have kids around the same time, and we’d raise our kids as best friends.
But as time went on, I graduated from school and got a “real job.” I matured, grew up, and things changed. All of those friendships I thought I couldn't live without fizzled out.
I want to make it clear that I in no way entirely blame other people for my lack of friends. I played a critical role in the deterioration of those friendships. But at first, I felt really horrible about the whole thing. I felt like I was putting in a lot more effort and giving a lot more of myself than I was getting back.
As soon as I stopped giving each relationship my all, the friendships started to decline. Neither of us put in the work to fix what was broken. Instead, we walked away.
That's the thing about some people: They might walk in and out of your life. I've come to the conclusion that the older you get, the harder it is to make friends because you start to realize you’re done with drama and don’t have time for nonsense. And the most important takeaway of all is that it's really OK, because this is your life to live.
The older you get, the less you're willing to put up with.
When you're young, you may have wanted to be friends with everyone. As you get more mature, the less you're willing to deal with anything that’s not worth your time and energy. For me, if someone wants to be a shady, they have no place in my life. If someone isn't going to put the work in to make our friendship sustainable, it can feel disappointing, but I don't have time for the nonsense anymore. If that means losing friends I had and not making any new ones, I'd rather spend my time alone than with someone who makes me feel alone.
The older you get, you might not care about making new friends.
I've gotten to the point in my life where making new friends isn't even on my list of priorities. I'm still a friendly person. I chat it up with people and I hang out with people, but I don't really let them in. I don't tell them secrets. I don't become vulnerable.
I'm past the point of making a new best friend. I have my family, and I'm completely OK with that. When you get to a certain age, making new friends stops being something that’s on the top of your to-do list.
The older you get, you may be less trusting of people.
When you're a kid, you may expect people have your best interest at heart. You trust them with your whole heart. When you grow up more, you learn that people can disappoint and hurt you. It was astonishing to see so many close friends walk away, but luckily, that made walking away myself much simpler. I toughened up because I had to.
The older you get, the less you choose to put anyone before yourself.
I’ve learned that when you put yourself first, that's when things really change for the better. A switch flips somewhere along the road between early adulthood and real adulthood.
You start doing things to please yourself rather than other people. The older you get, the less you stop looking for a ride-or-die friend. Instead, you start improving yourself. Friends may walk in and out of your life, but you will never leave you.
This post was originally published on Mar. 15, 2016. It was updated on Aug. 29, 2019.