Ah, the early twenties. The days when weekends were spent holding thirsty Thursday ragers, flirty Friday booze nights, and spicy Saturday cocktail brunches.
We drank without the fear of having three-day-long hangovers, didn’t shy away from loud nightclubs and bars (hello, Tonic Bar), and didn’t really care about embarrassing ourselves and our friends.
Then came the mid-twenties. And while we still managed to dress up and go out all weekend, the hype and psych for it all quickly waned, and most of us (especially those with high-pressure commitments – babies, jobs, etc.) spent 80% of those hangouts waiting for one – just one – person to say they ‘wanna goooo home.’
And finally, the late twenties. The years when two glasses of wine send you into a coma, clubbing becomes a planned event (two weeks ahead so your organs are ready), and your social circles start thinning out.
You realize you, Coco, and Kelly are the only ones who show up for friend brunches and night outs anymore. Everyone else is either 10,000 miles away, married with kids, stuck at work, or no longer into the friend group dynamics.
And while the reasons you grow apart from your OG friends make sense in hindsight, this ‘Great Shedding’ (when people around you start drifting away) can make you sad and lonely.
Yes, change is inevitable and awesome, even, but how do you deal with this loss? How do you handle the transition from “where you at, babe?” to “I can’t today. My nanny canceled on me”/ ”the number you’re trying to reach is no longer in service?”
You either bury yourself in work, take a personal wellness retreat to Amanpuri, Thailand, or try these five strategies for dealing with the loss of your ‘OG’ friends.
Realize That No One’s To Blame For The Shift
We don’t talk about or even say this enough. You’ll have fewer friends as you get older – and it’s not your fault or a reflection of your personality. It’s what happens when you no longer share a two-bedroom apartment with your ten best friends, and your full-time focus is no longer ‘who can crush who in a beer pong match.’
The late twenties involve juggling five jobs while trying to get eight hours of sleep, taking some much-needed self-care time for you, and still finding a spare evening to catch up with your BFF, who lives three hours away. It’s a frustrating stage of life, but it’s normal, and it’s OK.
Everyone’s busy, and we’re all dealing with something.
You’ll see less of your friends, and some of those friends will slowly detach from your group. It’s a bummer, but’s it not yours or their fault. It’s a late twenties thing – so stop blaming yourself and everyone for the shift. You’re actually very on-brand for your age.
All you’ll need to do is work harder to make time for the people that matter to you. It’s what every other over 28 Queen is going through, and it’s just life!
Give Yourself Time And Space To Work Through The Emotions
Allow yourself to go through the motions – sadness, anger, embarrassment, or loneliness. While change is a natural part of life, it’s not one of the easiest parts of life. It triggers grief, and you’re allowed to grieve, boo! You just lost your ‘OG’ friends. No one expects you to be Supergirl; if they do, ignore them.
Grief is the process by which we heal, and when you fully immerse yourself in painful emotions now, you’re bound to experience positive emotions (more intentionally) down the road.
Also, try adopting healthy coping skills. If you don’t have someone to rant to, pick up a journal, meditate, or learn a new skill. It helps ease the pressure.
Realize That You’re Also Changing And Need/Want Different Things From Your Friendships
Every eon provides us with an opportunity to grow and change. Things get harder and more fulfilling at the same time. We experience significant successes, world-changing moments, and beautiful beginnings. But we also go through major losses, heart-breaking events, and unbearable pain. It’s part of life.
But this means you’ll need something different from your friendship than you did in your early twenties. You’ll want to have honest, vulnerable conversations with your day ones. You’ll have more pain and heartache that you’ll need to talk through with the friends you feel most like yourself around.
You’ll need to make complicated choices that require blunt (but not harsh) opinions of the people you trust the most.
You are at a point where you’re no longer thinking about that friend-with-benefits that makes you question your sanity. Instead, you gravitate towards more meaningful romantic relationships and long-term career trajectories.
And that means needing something different from your friends than you did at 21 – it’s no longer about crazy mad fun or impressive wants/needs. It’s about needing support as you make smart adulting decisions – you know more multifaceted needs.
Be Open To Meeting New People
We’ll be the first to admit that making new friends is hard (it’s somewhere close to doing your taxes or solving a quantum physics equation). Just the thought of it gives us major anxiety.
But even though it’s as hard as a 1907 prune, when you push past the initial awkwardness, making new friends can be fulfilling and exciting. It allows you to grow beyond your friend group and enables you to meet people who will change your life (for the better, hopefully).
And if doing so has been a challenge for you so far, try signing up for friend apps such as VINA (Tinder for (girl) friends), Nextdoor (if you moved to a new neighborhood), or BrownSkinBrunch (for Brown Skin babes looking to form genuine friendships over brunch). It’s a less stressful way to make friends and allows you to vet people before meeting IRL.