What It’s Like To Be A 20-Something Year Old With No Real Friends

When did the days of slumber parties, best friend necklaces and pinky promises come to an end? When did work and school take priority over the friendships I spent years building? How did the people I was closest to end up drifting away? I ask myself these questions almost every day.

While my successes continue to fuel my drive to become an influential woman in both my personal and professional lives, I often find myself celebrating alone. Despite the odd Facebook comment or LinkedIn like, my past friends and I no longer communicate. From behind my computer screen, I have watched each of them grow within their own lives as they meet new people, pursue new dreams and start new pathways that stray further and further away from where we once stood together.

If you asked me how I felt for my past friends, I would tell you that I am insanely proud, encouraged and overjoyed for the happiness they have found within their new lives. However, I am also extremely envious of them: envious of their ability to create lives entirely separate from their pasts while I continue to find myself caught between what my prior life was and what my future will be. As our plans drove us each in different directions, I felt my friends let go of our deep-rooted relationships while I gripped tighter to ties that no longer existed.

It’s no secret that life can be lonely, but this change in my social circle left my days feeling hauntingly empty. When I first started attending university, I thought it would be like having a blank slate and that I would instantly make new friends. Shortly after O-Week, I learned that you don’t make the kinds of friends in university that you did in and before high school .

My theory is that friends in university fall under one of three categories: there are class friends—those you sit beside each week and know on a first name basis but are unlikely to talk to any other time; work friends—the people who make your shifts slightly better for the select hours you work together but who affect your life in no other way; and lastly, the “I have no idea what your name is and I don’t know anything about you but you always send me your notes so I’ll make small talk in the line for coffee and pretend like I do” type of friends. Now, while each of the three types of friendships benefit my own life in different ways, none of them could ever compare to those who stood beside me on prom day.

Finding real, genuine friends in your twenties is undoubtedly hard as seeking them out can be an exhausting and disappointing process. In addition to my school work, extracurriculars and two part time jobs, I am hardly able to find time to sleep, let alone able to search for friends.

As I continue moving forward in my postsecondary education, I find myself wondering more and more if this is how my life is going to be forever. Will I continue to prioritize my own hopes and dreams above my personal relationships? How will my independency benefit or disadvantage me in my future life? Will I ever have real friendships like the ones I held in high school? And lastly, when—if ever—will I be okay with the loneliness?

While there is no way to truly know the answers to any of those questions, the one thing I do believe to be true is that while friendships fade, the memories last forever and for that reason, I know I will never be completely alone.

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