You spend your early years learning the fundamentals. You spend your teens perfecting them in high school and college. Once you reach your twenties, it might feel like you’re finally done learning and ready to start living. But in reality, your twenties bring on a whole new set of lessons: life lessons.
Your twenties is all about transitioning to adulthood. You learn about work, relationships, and friendships, and while this new information can seem overwhelming, you’re not alone! Everybody goes through it, and if you’re lucky, you get to do it with a best friend just like C.C. and Hillary in the movie Beaches. Here are 20 things we learned about friendship in our twenties.
1. Being a great friend means being a great listener.
We call on our friends when we need advice, guidance, or someone to lean on — and it’s important to return the gesture. Great listeners are empathetic, mindful of what others are saying, and respond with authenticity.
2. It also means being loyal.
Good friendships need loyalty to thrive. When you confide in a close friend, it should go without saying that your thoughts and feelings are safe with them.
3. And being trustworthy.
Probably the most important thing a friendship needs is trust. It’s important that you trust your besties in many different ways: with your secrets, to protect your heart, to be dependable. When someone isn’t trustworthy, it’s difficult to form a strong bond with them.
4. Every friendship is unique.
No two friendships have the same “how we met” story, and no two friendships look exactly alike. But those differences are what make friendships special.
5. True friends accept you exactly as you are.
Real friends don’t expect you to be perfect. They don’t judge or ask you to change. They respect differences, and even thrive because of them.
6. It can be hard to make friends as an adult…
When we’re younger, there are infinitely more settings for us to make new friends. But in our twenties, we have routines, and those routines don’t always allow for new friends. Fortunately, there are ways to find friends, like volunteering or joining a meet-up group.
7. …but you can find friendship in unlikely places.
If you’re paying attention and you’re open to putting yourself out there, you’ll see tons of potential to make new friends.
8. The older you get, the sooner you can tell if you’re going to click.
When you make friends as an adult, you’re more conscious of what kind of friend you are and what kind of friendship you value. It’s easy to spot who you’re going to get along with.
9. You don’t have to be friends with everybody.
Let’s face it: It’s impossible to maintain a friendship with absolutely everybody you meet. And that’s okay! Be polite, but don’t try to force a close friendship with everyone. Instead, focus on strengthening the friendships you already have.
10. Sometimes, friendships end.
Unfortunately, not all friendships are meant to last a lifetime. It’s sad when a friendship runs its course, but it’s a normal part of life.
11. But when life gets you down, you know exactly who to turn to.
As you get older, you turn to different friends for different needs. One friend might be a great shoulder to cry on, while another is always up for a spontaneous adventure.
12. Above all else, being there is what matters most.
You don’t always have to have the right words to say. Sometimes, just being there to listen or sit in silence is enough.
13. Friendship takes work.
Friendships don’t maintain themselves. Both parties have to make an effort to call, text, email, make plans — to do whatever it is that keeps your friendship going.
14. Communication is key.
If something is wrong, you speak up. If they did something to upset you, you explain why. Not because you want to start a fight, but because you know that communicating is vital to great friendships.
15. Jealousy is toxic.
When someone is your true friend, they’re genuinely happy to see you succeed. Rather than being jealous of their wins, you celebrate their greatness, because they do the same for you.
16. So is comparing yourself to your friends.
You and your friends are on different paths in life. Instead of comparing your accomplishments to theirs, remember that you both excel at different things, and those differences are what make your friendship special.
17. Quality > quantity.
It’s not about the number of friends you have, but the strength of the friendships. We’ll take a few best friends who love and support us over a ton of friends who are only semi-dependable any day.
18. Your best friend isn’t necessarily the person you’ve known the longest.
The mark of a great friendship isn’t necessarily longevity, but rather who stands by your side and makes your life great.
19. Time is irrelevant.
There are some friends you don’t see every day, or even every month or year. But when you’re reunited, it’s like no time has passed at all.
20. Friends are the family you choose.
When it comes to besties, we love them like we love our family. And we think that’s pretty special!