Nothing stays the same after we leave college. There’s more time for naps, we can drink coffee at Peet’s and enjoy the weather instead of staring face-down at illegible notes, and we can read for pleasure instead of doing it out of fear of public humiliation from our English professor. I, on a more annoying hand, was blindsided by how abruptly my friendships changed. We used to be tied by metaphorical umbilical cords and now I’m lucky if I know what part of the country they’re in. It’s pretty jarring when that familiarity is taken away. Our BFFs and BFFLs and BF4Es might not last as long as we thought.
I categorize friendships into three groups now: friends who will be at my wedding, those who are just attending and those not invited. And don’t tell me I’m the only one who’s planned this out in their head super early. Single people can make preparations too.
We already know who belongs in each category: co-workers and the people from high school that are nice to us now, but we know were talking shit about us six years ago, won’t be getting wedding invitations. Our groomsmen/bridesmaids will be the people that know us the best and ask for a shout-out in our column like Julie Athans did (yup, that’s all you get, hun). Who else do you think is going to do all of our bitch work to get wedding events off the ground and not get paid?
We can’t have a wedding party that’s 50 people deep. Come to terms with the idea that not everyone can be your compadre. Since we were in close proximity to people around our age for so long, and probably because we came to college with a total of two friends, we go to great lengths to gain the trust and love of everyone. We’re spreading ourselves thin amongst the people we know instead of giving all of us to a select few. Some friendships will end up falling to the wayside no matter how hard we try to hold on.
It’s not coming from a place of malice when our friends stop reaching out to us the way they did when we lived up the street from them. I was pissed when I wasn’t getting calls or texts from people to see if I was alive. “I’m here, all by myself! Did anyone remember?” We’ll feel sad and furious until we realize there is so much going on in our friends’ worlds besides our lives. As hard as we’re working to get our shit together, they’re doing the same thing. They’re working to afford the move to New York or stressing out waiting to hear back from a potential job or grad school. It’s an out-of-sight, out-of-mind experience that happens no matter what.
It’s best to allot the appropriate amount of time to the people in our second family. The ones you had a few classes or hit the bars with might not be your priority. Make sure to wish them well, hope for their success and be glad that, for a little while, you shared a connection with them. Even if you don’t see them very often, a part of them will stick to ya.
Devote your time and energy into cultivating the relationships that mean the most to you by being more active in strengthening the connection with your besties. Call them instead of writing nonsense on their Facebook wall. Don’t let work or relationships keep you from reaching out. Tell them things about your past or share your hopes for the future. If they don’t seem inclined to share their deepest, darkest secrets, let them know you’re ready when they are. These people that are going to be making toasts at our wedding reception need us even when they don’t ask for it. If you can’t live as close to them as you’d like, go out of your way to visit them for no reason other than missing them. Or be obnoxious like me and beg them to move to L.A. with you until they cave.
Leaving our friends after a weekend vacation is stress-free when we’re with the people we know we’re stuck with for the rest of our lives. When we think about the future, they’re the friends we’ll be having Sunday dinners with and bitching about our kids to. Hell, if they’re able to put up with our craziness, what’s so bad about keeping them around?
If you’re a best friend of JAZZ TRICE, you better’ve read this! He’ll be expecting a call. For everyone else, there’s firstname.lastname@example.org or twitter.com/Jazz_Trice.