How to be a better friend in your 20s

Tuesday, 18 February 2020

How To Be a Better Friend in Your 20s

I've always felt lucky to have a great number of friends around me, from so many different chapters of my life. Some I've had since my greasy-haired, face full of braces days at secondary school, others from awful weekend jobs to weird and wonderful university days, hobbies and everything else in between. 

Of the few personality traits my friends share, the most wonderful thing about them all is that not one has ever expected too much of my time, rather they treasure the time we manage spend with each other, whether that's once every few weeks or once in a blue moon. However, this has its downfalls as I can sometimes forget to message people back or to arrange plans because they're so chilled.

I only realised recently how hard it is to make time for friends in your 20s, for a host of reasons. This is a time when each friend is on a wildly different path; some are laser-focussed on their careers, working insane hours with little free time for themselves. Others are fast on their way to the married with kids life, already buying houses and settling down. You'll have the friends who haven't yet shaken off the excitement of uni life - perhaps they're still travelling around the world and can't bear the thought of staying in one place for too long. All factors considered, fitting in even one drink with your friends takes military planning, even if you live in the same city!

Right now, I'm straddling a few big life changes that I'm only starting to feel settled with. Those who read often will know that I moved in with Jack into a cute one bed flat in London in the summer last year, and it's been a real learning curve living with a partner for the first time. In December, I was promoted to a more senior position at my PR agency so since Christmas I've been trying to change my mindset and tackle new challenges such as managing other people as well as new clients and sectors. On top of that, I struggled with a huge loss in self-confidence towards the end of the year and I gradually stopped seeing people as regularly because I wanted more time alone.

Essentially, seeing my friends took a bit of a backseat over the last year, and I realised that I've been pretty terrible at keeping in touch with people and what's going on in their lives. This post is an opportunity for me to take stock as much as it is a reminder that friends are amazing and necessary parts of our everyday lives that are there to help and want to see you be happy and successful. I am incredible lucky to have friends that I can turn to when I need advice, from the smallest of things to biig life decisions.

I think it's easy to become too wrapped up in our own everyday worries and stress and we often forget that our friends are going through problems of their own and very likely want someone to talk to, even if they haven't expressed it openly. No one friend I know has it perfect at this point, so it's amazing to have people I can talk to and share what's on my mind when needed, and therefore I'm making a more conscious effort to check-in with people more regularly so that they feel supported and listened to in the same way.

What it really boils down to is the fact that at a time when life's moving fast in your own little worlds, we can forget to look up and check that the people around us are doing okay as well. Pick up the phone more and chat, send the first message even if you haven't heard from them in a while and plan ahead more when you can because they are the ones that have your back when life gets a bit ugly or difficult and are able to cheer you up how they know best.

Thanks for reading - Fi

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