1. The people who you thought would be there for you when it counted are not always going to be there. Sometimes because they quite literally cannot be there, other times because they just don’t want to (anymore).
2. The same will go for you – you’re not always going to (want to) be there for people who need you too.
3. Some of your friends will be more successful than you. And you will be more successful than some of your friends. And this will change over time depending on everyone’s life situation, path, and sheer dumb luck.
4. You will feel like people you’ve known for years don’t know you at all anymore (and you don’t know them either). You will also feel like people you’ve met for five minutes just “get you.” And it’ll be a strange, complex feeling you’re not quite sure how to handle all the time.
5. You’re not always going to like the people your friends are dating, building relationships with, and even marrying. They might feel the same way about the people you’re with too. Deal with it.
6. You will eventually realize that some of your friendships were one-sided. It’s heartbreaking but any kind of love has to be a two-way street for it to work. Let go of these people and feel free.
7. If someone keeps telling you they’re “too busy,” eventually you have to take this as a sign that they’re too busy for you. I was in grad school, running on four hours of sleep and barely any weekends for the last two years of my life. The friends who mattered made time for me, and I did for them. “Being busy” is legitimate until it’s not anymore, and you’ll know when it’s not.
8. You’re not going to feel as close to certain people as you once did. You might still love them and even enjoy their company. But you won’t be as close as you once were.
9. Your old friends will always be a mirror for you to see how far you’ve come. And I mean those friends who’ve seen you through the different stages of your life thus far. You will need that mirror to keep perspective.
10. You will grow apart from a handful of friends because it’s not that people change per se, but their interests and lives change. (But yes, they change too and so do you.)
11. Some of your friends will get married and have babies before you’ve even figured out how to have a “normal” relationship. It’s up to you and them whether this will be a barrier to your friendship.
12. That said if you’re single, you’ll likely spend more time with your single friends. If you’re in a relationship, you’ll likely spend more time with friends who are in relationships too. It’s not necessarily intentional; it’s just the law of social networks.
13. Your close friends will make good friends with other people and you’ll feel like you’re in junior high for being envious about it. And sometimes it won’t all be in your head, people get competitive about friendships. The best thing you can do is not get caught up in anything of the sort.
14. Some of the people you’ll “hang out” with aren’t the same friends who you will call up at 4 a.m. Know the difference and respect the fact that everyone needs someone to grab a beer with as much as they need a shoulder to cry on. Yes, one is more important than the other. And if you find a friend who can do both, cherish them.
15. That being said, it is still better to have two or three solid friends you can count on than a host of people who won’t be there for you when it really matters.
16. You have to really work at a friendship once you’re not spoiled by knowing you will see them in class or at home. You have to make the effort or you will sooner or later find yourself without the support group of friends you once had. People will move on.
17. If you can’t hold onto your friends, it’s not always them. Sometimes it’s not everyone else, it’s you. As for me, I’ve always found (as my parents drilled into my head as a child) that in order to have good friends, you have to be a good friend. If you are, you will always find true friendships wherever you go.
18. Some friendships just die. That’s the truth of it. Don’t try to fight it. Don’t let it make you angry. Don’t blame yourself or the other person or circumstance or anything else. Accept it for what it is.
19. You need to make friends with yourself. It’s corny and it’s cliché but it’s also the truth. Because there will be certain times in your life that it’ll feel like you’re all you’ve got. And when those times come, you have to be enough to get by.