Friend Request: Navigating Friendships in Your 20s

“Many people will walk in and out of your life, but only true friends will leave footprints in your heart”

Eleanor Roosevelt

After finishing my degree and starting my first job during the pandemic, this year has been a strange one when it comes to friendships- and we’ve all faced new challenges when maintaining relationships during this tough year of turmoil.

But when it comes to friendships, it seems it isn’t unusual to see change, differences, and problems as you begin to navigate adult life- even without the added pressure of the pandemic. As you get older and enter your 20s and 30s, friendships change- and I think as your priorities change, so do the people surround yourself with.

I’ve noticed a few changes in my friendships as I’ve left University, especially throughout the pandemic. With the constant lockdown restrictions in place after I graduated from University, my friendships have become more about meeting with smaller groups, and changing my priorities as I get older.

To understand how friendships change and grow as you reach your 20s, I asked 6 bloggers to give me their opinion- and help others understand how to navigate friendship in adult life.

Doubting Thomas

Speaking from experience, my friendships have changed an awful lot as I’ve gotten older. I used to think I was fairly dependant on a large group of friends, however now I can look back and know a big group of friends was just not for me.

As I’ve gotten older and settled down raising a family, I’ve changed what I want out of a friend. Someone with similar interests is important but also somebody who understands the importance of life with a young family and how difficult it can be to find time for yourself! I lost a lot of friends who didn’t necessarily understand that before.

I do think as well that there are people from when you leave school or leave a job that you think you will stay in touch with, but it’s definitely easier said than done! We all have the best intentions of staying friends with people and keeping them a part of your life, but life is busy and it can get in the way sometimes.

A group of friends stand on the edge of a forest, with their arms around each other. They have their backs to the camera
Photo by PNW Production on Pexels.com

Nyxie’s Nook

For me personally, my friendships have become low maintenance. We no longer live out of each other’s pockets. We don’t constantly need to be in contact but when we do get in touch it’s like nothing has changed. Especially during covid when visiting others has been prohibited- we made do with Zoom and a group chat.

As we all grow up, move out, move on, and find our own lives- we still find time to casually fall in and out of each other’s company. But we never find the time to fall out because, what’s the point? I even notice a difference in boundaries and tolerance of each other. We won’t take crap, nor will we allow others in our friendship group to dish it out. We’re upfront because we’re all getting too old for playground nonsense.

Overall, I just feel so much more at peace with my friendships now than I ever did before.

Lauren Ken

As you grow into an adult, you will notice that your friendships will start to change. Situational friendships from school or college might not last like you think they would, but that’s okay! I have found that as you may not get to spend as much time with people due to work or uni, you realise who makes an effort with you, and who you gravitate towards.

I’ve also learnt that you don’t have to be friends with everybody. Mental health is so important, and who you spend your time with has a huge influence on your mental health. My main priority now is spending time with people that make me feel happy.

The Grumpy Olive

Making friends in your 20s is not the easiest. Almost all of us go through that moment in life where there’s school, work, kids, and schedules that make it impossible to meet people. You realise as you grow up that not everyone is there to stay, and that’s absolutely fine. You grow and change- it’s inevitable.

Friendships will be looking different than when everything was about sharing a toy at kindergarten, or a bit of lunch.

All you need to know is that, no matter what the circumstances when you feel at your lowest, the ones that stay will be there for you. Maybe it’s not constant texting as it used to be in high school, but the best you can find is even one person that will be there to lend you an ear and listen or give up on everything to help you.

A group of friends put their hands together, all the viewer can see is their arms and hands.
Photo by Dio Hasbi Saniskoro on Pexels.com

All Booked Up

Your 20s is a transition period. It’s so different post-college because all of your friends are in different stages. Some people get married and have kids right away, others focus on careers and graduate school, and a few do neither or all of the above. It’s harder to stay in touch with people because everyone is so busy.

Friendships become more about quality than quantity. It’s more about taking the time to see and stay in touch with the most important people in your life.

Your 20s is a time that many people outgrow old friendships. People tend to drift apart as a result of shifting priorities and major life changes. Like relationships, strong friendships require open communication and trust.

Ellie Buchu

Friendship in your 20s has been mostly for me figuring out what kind of friends people are, whether they’re just friends you have fun with, or the kind of friends you can call- snot-crying.

Learning to communicate better what we might need from one another is also important. As an empathetic mother-hen I used to give give give to my friends until I had nothing for myself. The past few years I’ve put up helpful boundaries, like delaying a supportive FaceTime if I feel too drained – or asking for help when I need it.

Have you noticed a change in navigating your friendships in your 20s? Are your friends different now than when you were in school? How do you navigate post-lockdown friendship?

Let me know all your thoughts in the comments below 🙂

Happy reading x

Picture credits here

70 thoughts

  1. Thank you so much for having us, Eleanor! I was really glad to read about the other experiences and see that quality over quantity is a comment denominator for friendships as well as better communications in the time you spend together x

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I think this is such a good discussion to have. Changes in relationships can feel like a bad thing, but it really is so natural. Especially at an age or season of a lot of changes.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Such great thoughts from some of my favorite bloggers here! I definitely agree that navigating friendships in your 20’s can be a struggle sometimes. But what DOES happen is that you find out who you really want to have in your life and who prioritizes you as well! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Great read.
    Friendships follow the flow of our lives. Growing older we need those people who understand us and make us feel good. Our time is precious and should be well spent.
    Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I loved reading this! Friendships do change an awful lot as we get older, and I’ve found that now in my mid-twenties. Now, I prefer to have a few really good friends than a big group and I’m so content with that, and that we don’t live out of each other’s pockets anymore like we used to xx

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Making friends in your 20’s is so hard. I had loads of friends in school and sixth form but basically all of them left me when my anxiety was too bad and I was too mentally ill to go out anymore. I was even called a bad friend because of it. So yeah friendships for me have been tricky. I have one amazing friend now who I met through therapy actually!

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    1. I agree, friendships are so difficult and I’m sorry to hear people didn’t stick by you through that- it’s hard when you have to find out the worst in people that way but I’m glad you’ve managed to find your true friends, that’s so important x

      Like

  7. Offer the decades my friendship situation has changed from spending all my times with my friends and needing to be accepted in my school years to seeing my friends a few times a year instead, losing contact with my oldest friends completely

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I don’t think I have any friends left over from my 20s now, they’re all ones I’ve made in the last 10 years or so. I think moving away and starting a family is part of that, but the friendships I have now are ones that I can go for months without seeing in person and then fall straight back into where we left off 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s very fair, things change as you move and life alters! That’s what I love, and I have similar friendships with everyone all over the country- I love when you can slip back into things as they were x

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  9. As you get older it’s definitely quality over quantity when it comes to friendships. I have a very small friendship group, but each person I 100% trust. When I was younger I was part of a huge friendship group however as you get older, life changes, people change, things start to fizzle out. It’s just one of those things & like I say, quality really does prevail!

    Claire.X
    http://www.clairemac.co.uk

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes I can imagine, and I think it’s brilliant to have that small group of friends that you can trust 🙂 Yes I think that’s very common- and certainly a lot of people in this post mentioned that friendships fade as life changes x

      Like

  10. I love reading everyone’s answers! Friendship change when I’m in my 20s and I feel now I understand more what my priorities are. Having a few positive friends are better than a lot of ‘toxic’ friends. Thanks for sharing x

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I really love the fact you got different bloggers perspectives on friendship as it’s so different for each of us! I totally agree with what they’ve said, as you grow older sometimes you grow apart and that’s okay. We each have a road we’re taking and a lot of the time it’s totally different to our friends. Thanks for sharing Xo

    Elle – ellegracedeveson.com

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Really enjoyed this! I’ve definitely found that things have changed as close friends go a different direction in life and the things that we used to have in common no longer bring us together. It can be hard figuring out where to go from there, but it’s just finding those you can really connect with still. Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Such a good read.

    I like that you’ve listed different perspectives but I see a common thread in all of them – quality over quantity, as it should be.

    Thanks for sharing 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Good post! This is so real! I agree with everything these bloggers said about friendship. There’s always a change in friendship and your circle as you grow older and older. There are some friends that will leave you, lost contact with, and no longer close with. But at the same time, you will also meet new friends who are better people, and there are also some old friends returned in your life. It’s just happened that way. So people are meant to be in our life and some are just passers by.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. loved reading about other people’s experiences of friendship in your 20s in this post. I definitely agree my friendships have changed so much over the past couple of years due to life changes and busy schedules and stuff. great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I love that you got the reviews of others too because friendships change for everyone and its important to highlight it. I like my friendships low maintenance now where I do have to speak to them several times each day but when we do catch up, we can have a great time.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Great post, I’m still figuring out who my true friends are. But I have definitely learnt that you don’t have to keep your friends from school – most of mine were toxic and it’s better to just say to myself we had some good times but it’s time to find new friends who will actually take my feelings into consideration etc. xx

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Oh man, this is such a touchy subject for me! haha. I’ve lost sooo many friends after high school and for the longest time I blamed myself but looking back now, we simply weren’t the right fit. I’m friendly to all but don’t expect long-term friendships and I’m okay with it! Love when people share other blogger’s answers! Great job, Eleanor x

    Lynn | https://www.lynnmumbingmejia.com

    Liked by 1 person

  19. This post is pure genius. It’s great to hear it all from different bloggers in different walks of life. I lost a lot of friends in my twenties but actually, it was all for the better. I’m not 29 and on my last year of my twenties. I can look back on previous relationships with 20:20 hindsight and reflections!

    Rosie

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Thank you for this! I really like that you collaborated with different bloggers, bringing out different authentic stories.

    I am introverted and struggled with mental health issues and therefore have a very small circle from childhood. In my 20s I am learning and expanding self and with that growing interactions and getting to know more people who are like me, which I love!

    Thanks for sharing Xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! I agree it was fantastic to hear from different people about their opinions and experiences 🙂 I understand that, everyone grows and changes at different ages and I love that you’ve got to know yourself and others that you love! Thank you x

      Like

  21. I love the collaboration in this post – your 20’s mean so much to different people it’s great to read multiple perspectives! I agree with most that your 20’s are a time of change and transition, there’s so much going on! I’ve found over the years true friends will remain and time can pass without any harm or disconnect in the relationship, that’s so important especially when life gets busy! Thanks for sharing this fun post! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much! Yes they really do, everyone has different life experiences- and it depends where you are in your life as well as your age! That’s so lovely, and I’m glad you managed to find some of the opinions relevant 🙂 x

      Liked by 1 person

  22. I can relate to this post a lot! I used to feel really bad that I had fallen out of touch with a lot of my school and university friends, but I later realised that it’s normal for friendships to drift apart, especially if you live far apart and are no longer seeing each other in class every day. The strongest friendships remain, and we will also make new friends as we grow and change as a person. x

    Liked by 1 person

  23. I am not even 20 yet but I can relate to all of these. I agree with everything that has been said here about friendships. You’ll lose friends and that’s okay. I am still in the process of determining who my real friends are. I am very careful about who I call a friend because your friends could be a stepping stone or a stumbling block to you. Great post x

    Liked by 1 person

  24. I’m 21 but because of covid restrictions the transition phase happened earlier. Its becoming clearer which friendships will be phased put eventually as they seem to have been rather situational. Alsoo as everyone grows paths differ and some personalities and values may no longer align.
    I’m walking into my 20s open to new friendships but with clear boundaries but currently I’m working on connecting more with family because they are the ones that’ll turlyblove you unconditionally

    Like

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