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. 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.
I’d meet my college BFFs in NYC or Baltimore and catch up over cocktails. We’d sneak out back for an obligatory I-only-smoke-when-we’re-together cigarette. I’d bitch about work or my boyfriend 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 and hit the bars. Usually an obscene amount of dancing would occur.
As I navigated my 20s, I was lucky enough to snag a few more BFFs. Some 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.)
As 30 approached, we all started getting married and having kids. Some sooner, some later. Some marriages faltered and some are still thriving. Everyone’s children are gorgeous.
Now I see most of my BFFs once a year. I can’t blame the fact that I live abroad; even when I was one state away, getting together was difficult. (I saw one of my favorite people in the world three times in one year – and she only lived ten minutes away!) 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 potty trained. We worry about our kid’s schools or whether we’ll ever get our careers back on track. We no longer dance on tables together. Instead we dance around our kitchens trying to get our three-year-olds to laugh.
Our phone calls are rare and brief – usually under five minutes – but it’s my favorite five minutes of the day. I Skyped with a BFF for two minutes a couple weeks ago and I’m still smiling from it. 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.
So while I may not see or talk to my BFFs 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 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.)
*Originally published on Hello Giggles.