Sammy Nickalls
March 30, 2015 6:00 am

Right now, I’m in Massachusetts, visiting my BFF. We met during freshman year of college, and we clicked instantly. We then lived together from sophomore year to senior year, and we were totally inseparable, spending practically every day together.

But then, we graduated, and we moved back home—me to a small town in Pennsylvania, and her all the way up to Shrewsbury, Massachusetts. That means that after years of living together, totally inseparable, we now had to live six and half hours apart. I’ve seen her four times since we graduated about a year ago, and it involves some intense trekking—either her down to me, or me up to her.

Visiting my amazing, fabulous BFF has got me thinking: friendship in your 20s is a complicated thing. Even if you don’t live far away from each other, you’ve both got a lot more going on now than you used to. You both are finding yourself, figuring out what path to go on, and balancing your job with your social life, all while trying to figure out where—and with whom—you want to end up someday. A lot of friendships wither away during this period, and that’s why only the truly special ones last after school.

Here are a few things you learn about friendship when you’re in your 20s.

You start to realize that certain friends were there for certain times in your life.

Maybe back in high school or college, you had three BFFs whom you loved equally, but as the years went on, it dwindled to one. And that’s not because the other people did anything wrong, but just because there are people there during certain stages of your life, and you drift apart as you each are finding new paths in your 20s. Whenever you talk to those other friends, you’re super happy to catch up, but suddenly, you realize they’re not really close to you anymore.

But then there are the rare friends that were meant to be there for every single stage, through thick and thin. You learn which ones these are in your 30s, because friendships in your 20s are like long distance relationships: if they stay strong through that, they’ll stay strong for life.

You also realize that friendship is about quality, not quantity—and it ALWAYS has been.

They say time is money, so let’s consider that your time spent on your friends is one dollar, and each friend is a coin. You can divide that dollar up however you like—100 pennies, 10 dimes, four quarters, you get the picture. But you only get a dollar; after all, you only have so much time.

Would you rather have 100 so-so “penny” friends, or one SUPER close “dollar” friend?

Back in college, I could probably list dozens of people I considered to be my “friends,” but that doesn’t mean a call-at-4-am-sobbing kind of friend. These were “penny” friends—people who I’d love to get a beer with, but I wouldn’t expect to pick me up when my car breaks down. And I think they’re all totally lovely people, but let’s be real here: we were friends because of convenience, simply because you only have so much time in a day. And now, I barely talk to 90% of them.

It’s about quality, not quantity—and your 20s make that abundantly clear.

You and your BFF don’t talk every day. . . and that’s OK.

Think about the person you’d call your BFF now. Before, you probably saw each other ALL the time. Even if you didn’t live together, your interactions were probably way more frequent back in high school and college than they are now.

But that was before full-time jobs and bills and the stresses of everyday life. Now, you guys try to text or Facebook message each other every day to check in, but sometimes, things are just too busy. But you don’t fret about it, because you both know that your friendship is still rock solid no matter what.

That being said, if you don’t hear from your BFF after TOO long, they know they’ll be getting a text demanding to know every single detail of their life, obviously.

You guys become pros at handling crises.

The life of a 20-something is super exciting, tumultuous thing. This is the time for starting—or ending—serious relationships. It’s when you may totally decide to change your career, or when you’ll move to a new city. Exciting stuff, right?

But with that comes some serious “OH MY GOD WHAT AM I DOING WITH MY LIFE” quarter-life crises, and who better to handle them than the BFF? You guys sometimes feel like you’re taking turns helping each other with relationship problems or self-doubt, but that’s totally OK. You know that when it’s your turn to freak, your BFF has got your back, and vice versa.

Your 20s are filled with bittersweet experiences, and friendship is no exception. But your 20s help you learn who is really meant to be there for life. And when you do learn, you’ll want to hug them and never let go. <3

Image HBO

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