Why Outgrowing Girlfriends In Your 20s Is An Important Part Of Growing Up
“She's practically 30 and hasn't had a job in, well, ever," I exclaimed.
I was sitting at lunch with one of my friends, a magazine editor at a top fashion publication.
“What do you mean?” she asked between sips of her latte.
“I mean, she never worked. She never had to, because of her parents," I said.
I felt myself getting more annoyed, becoming a little red-faced whenever my friend Nora* came up in conversation.
What doubled my anger, however, was an incident that had occurred a week before. Nora asked me to go to Mardi Gras with her. I had to decline, knowing I couldn't get off work. She recommended I quit my job because “experiences are priceless” and there would surely be another job waiting for me for when I got back.
“What sucks even more,” I continued. "Is that her boyfriend enables it. He pays for her food, her clothes, everything. Not only are her parents funding her lifestyle, but also her new boyfriend. I'm sorry, what is that?"
I was livid now. As someone who's worked her ass off for everything in life, I couldn't help but be pissed by Nora's very existence. She was a dear friend to me, but also someone who brought out my nasty side.
Nora also made me realize something. Sometimes, it's okay to leave your friends behind.
Our generation is told friends are forever.
Friends are supposed to be there through thick and thin. The longer you have a friend, the more “real” that friendship is. Except, it doesn't always work that way.
I, for one, am a drifter, finding myself a new friend group every couple of years. I grow up at a different pace than the people I love.
My teenage best friend and I met when I first moved to America and were soon inseparable. She was also from an immigrant family and we shared common ground. Her name was Ella, which meant our names rhymed. That's the sh*t movies and terrible sitcoms are made of.
By the time we reached college, Ella was spending a lot of time worrying about her sex life and what her (totally obnoxious) friends thought of her. I was invested in my schoolwork and internships, which felt more important than whether or not some guy in her chem lab was going to text her back.
We were friends for nearly a decade, but we developed different interests. There's nothing wrong with drifting apart because of it.
The same thing happened with Nora, who was a great friend of mine. Still, there came a point when I knew we were incompatible as friends. And it was fine.
At the end of the day, friendships are an awful lot like relationships.
Sometimes, you just end up growing apart and there's nothing you can do to stop that.
It doesn't mean what you had together was meaningless or not worth it. It just means you like different things now and, well, that happens.
That doesn't make it suck any less. When friendships (or relationships, for that matter) end because you naturally drift apart, it's an easier pill to swallow. When you realize you are in two entirely different places with no chance of catching up, it's always the most mature person who has to say goodbye.
After all, growing up is a part of life. We spend our lives in phases. Certain toys, clothes and beauty looks eventually fall out of favor. It's only natural that we would do the same with the people who mean the most to us.