One word I would use to describe being a twenty-something: instability. So many things are up in the air, including many of our friendships.
Making new friends in your twenties is much like playing roulette–you search for a specific type of person, but can attract SO many other types. Some of these people pass through your life as curious tourists, and some will take up shelter in you, and some will blossom right alongside you. I’m sure I have more “types” to experience, but here are the more common species of Friend or Acquaintance I’ve come to know.
The Fair-weather Friend
This friend comes into your life in a very positive way, perhaps at a social event or from an introduction by a mutual friend. You bond; you have a ton in common, you have great conversation, and are both in harmony with one another.
But don’t be fooled! This friend is only in it for the “positive vibes.” It’s best to stay away from anything remotely serious or deeply personal in conversation. Vulnerability is not ideal around this friend. They are incredibly fun, but keep your distance. This is your “good time” friend. There’s nothing wrong with this type of person–just be aware.
The Bar Friend
This friend is exactly what they sound like: you only get together when there is alcohol involved. These friends have fallen out of my life, as drinking is no longer a priority for me. Bar friends are fun; they’re open to pretty much anything, and when you’re on the same level of inebriated, it can make for some great memories that you may or may not remember the next day.
Like the Fair-weather Friend, the Bar Friend wants nothing to do with hardship, unless they can turn the conversation toward themselves in an effort to be “relatable.” Stick to funny work stories and common issues to complain about, and this friend will always call upon you when the bar down the street is having s $5 tequila shot special.
This friend loves to hear about your personal life. They ask questions, they dig deep… they pry. This can feel good, like, “Wow, this person is really interested in me and doesn’t want to just talk about themselves?!”
The Detective seeks one thing, and one thing only: information. They will not use this information to form any sort of advice or insight. They are just there to take it all in, perhaps seeking to find vulnerable spots. I don’t mean to sound paranoid–there are people who genuinely want to get to know you–but there are people who seek out personal details in order to gain something for themselves. They are hard to spot, but it’s always best to approach them like you do the internet: never say anything that you wouldn’t want everyone and anyone to know.
The Genuine Friend
This friend wants to know all about you–the good and the bad. They keep this information locked away, only using it to get closer to you. This friend fosters deep conversation and acting silly. They forgive you for being distant by initiating conversation; they seek to bring you out of negativity. This is truly a relationship, where you both participate equally and have the same intentions. This friend is worth your time and effort. Recognize their presence as positive, and keep up with their lives and share yours. These friendships have the potential to last a lifetime.
There are no wholly good or wholly bad people; we all make mistakes, and we all have flaws. I have come to terms with the fact that there are people who aren’t in my life for the long haul. There are many people who come into your life, perhaps to teach you an important lesson, perhaps to just visit. There is nothing wrong with these people inherently, it is just important to be able to know how to navigate these relationships.
What types of people have you met, and who has stuck by you? Who taught you an important lesson? I’d love to hear from you!