Everybody knows relationships change over time. But I didn’t anticipate my BFF friendships to evolve so significantly as we moved from our 20s to our 30s. A lot of these friendships were lost and I always feel a pang of loss whenever I think about those relationships. It might just be me or it might be something more universally experienced—either way, I felt something shift.
Perhaps the biggest change is the amount of time we spend together. In my early twenties, all we had was time. Whether they lived in another state or just down the road, we saw each other constantly. And we’d take trips together: Vegas, LA, Miami, AC, Newport, Dewey, Richmond. We used any excuse to hang: birthdays, job promotions, new boyfriends, it being Thursday.
My high school BFFs and I did beach trips. We’d talk for hours and hours. We’d discuss work, the future, guys, the good ole days of high school. We’d laugh about life and sometimes we’d cry about it too.
As I navigated my 20s, I’d meet my closest BFFs. In pool league and in Sacramento, CA. Times in my life that I needed a friend and they were right there. Separate worlds, but still like sisters to me. I’d bitch about work or my boyfriend/Husband and they’d do the same. We’d laugh and laugh and laugh. Then we’d borrow each other’s flatirons, put on our shortest-yet-still-tasteful skirts (more her then me) and hit the bars. Usually an obscene amount of dancing would occur (that would totally be me). Some friends I met at various jobs, others while living in new cities. We’d meet for happy hours or days at the beach or go camping for the weekend. We’d talk about writing, turning 30, and whether our boyfriends were ever going to propose (They did.), or whether we should stay married (I didn’t).
As 30 approached, we all started getting married and having kids. Some sooner, some later. Some had a blended family and some were first time parents. Some marriages faltered and some are still thriving. Everyone’s children are gorgeous.
Now I see most of my BFFs once or twice a year. I can’t blame the fact that I live on the opposite coast or in a different county; even when I was one state away, getting together was difficult. Lives are more complicated. Children get sick and weekend trips are canceled. Parents fall ill and summer getaways take a back seat. We’ve traded cocktails on the beach for mimosas at baby showers.
When I call a BFF crying in the middle of the night, it’s not because some guy hasn’t called me back. It’s because I’m wondering if I’ll ever get my son on the right track. We worry about our kid’s schools or whether we’ll ever get our “dream jobs”. We no longer dance on tables together. Instead we dance around our schedules, trying to get a positive image of our crazy lives.
Our phone calls are rare and brief – usually under five minutes – but it’s my favorite five minutes of the day. I FB messaged my BFF for about 45 minutes couple days ago and I’m still smiling from it (although our conversation was of a serious nature, no one but my husband can make me smile more). Sometimes we’ll go a month without contact—but no one gets mad or hurt. It just makes the random texts and phone calls even sweeter. And, we stalk each other on Facebook, of course, so it’s not like we’re completely cut off.
I never see either of them anymore (at least not physically), and only one of those BFF’s is actually what I would still consider a “Best Friend Forever” (funny how that term isn’t passed around as easily either, uh?). So while I may not see or talk to my friends nearly as much as I did when I was younger, I still very much feel their presence in my life. No matter how long it’s been since our last conversation, it always feels like no time has passed. And the time we actually do spend together is richer, more meaningful. Not because we’re older, but because it’s so infrequent and we want to soak it up. And also because we still sneak cigarettes. (Please don’t tell our kids.)