I have friends who are getting married, expecting a child, taking up new jobs, and even, going to study abroad. While all this good news fills me with so much excitement for each of them, I have at times found myself having mixed feelings. No, it’s not jealousy, but a certain sense of uneasiness.
Eventually, I realized that this discomfort was coming from a place of fear. Each of my friends’ milestones has seemed to be less in lockstep with my personal journey, and the question, “God, when?” creeps in.
You’ll agree with me that sometimes it can start to feel like you and your friends have less in common.
Being in a different stage from our friends can be hard. However, it does not have to mean the end of your friendship.
Here is how to maintain your friendship despite being at different life stages:
Remember what brought you together
I made friends out of some of my colleagues in the past. However, when they left for new jobs, our friendship just ended. We were all at different life stages and without any intentionality, our friendship slipped through the cracks.
Sometimes, going back to why and how you became friends is the perfect way to make your friendship last. You could talk about the history you have together, not just face to face, but over text or calls.
Try and find opportunities for you to laugh and even cringe at some of your old memories.
Make time for new memories
Any relationship, even your love life, cannot last unless you set aside time to bond and even create new memories.
You could try out a new activity together which will enable you to catch up as you get some leisure time. In this case, spontaneity may not work and so you may need to plan ahead so that your time is not pushed by commitments or responsibilities.
Take time to talk about your joys and even struggles through meaningful conversations.
Your authenticity will help you better understand what the other person is going through and bridge the gap between your different situations in life.
Label your limits
Although finding time to connect may be an issue, there are certainly other issues that may come into play. Maybe one of you is paying tuition fees for their further studies while the other is trying to balance work and family. Finances could be a huge factor that could affect how often you see each other.
In your friendship, it is important to be upfront about how much you can do and what you expect from your friend. This is a good starting point to find compromises like places that are cheaper. It also helps to avoid any conflict or misunderstanding that may arise.
You could even suggest an alternative that factors both of you into account.
Avoid social comparisons
I’m sure you have compared yourself to your friends before.
When both of you are in different life stages, it is possible to try and determine who seems to be doing better than the other.
Getting caught up in comparisons will only get in the way of your friendship and even take away the present moments you are experiencing.
Instead of thinking about yourself as having been left behind, remember that everyone has their share of ups and downs. You may never really know what your friend is going through or struggling with.
Change your perspective
If you are feeling the pressures of keeping a friendship going when you are in different life stages, focus on the best part about your current stage of life.
I mean, you have the flexibility to do what you want and the ability to be spontaneous. So be happy in your current stage of life.
Changing your perspective on the whole situation is a good option. When you look at your friend who is either getting married, promoted, or having a child, you will even be at a better place to decide if these are things you want for yourself.