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Learning To Redefine Friendships: When It's Worth It And When It's Not

By your mid 20s, you have probably accumulated friendships from many avenues of your life. You have friends from your hometown, your high school, from college and from your professional life.

You have friends who you just met and friends from whom you cannot fathom parting ways because of your history.

You will never have as much free time or as many resources as you have now whereas in the future, you may juggle the demands of a job, a family a spouse. When your time is limited, you will want to know that the friendships you have are positive and beneficial.

Use your 20s as an opportunity to critically examine the relationships in your life. Are you using your energy on a friend who brings you down or close to tears?

Do you spend a significant amount of time with people who inspire you, or with people with whom you share a history (and potentially nothing else)?

Dreams and Nonbelievers

Your 20s are for realizing your dreams. They are for dreaming big, planning for the future and trying to figure out what makes you uniquely you.

When you talk about your dreams, your big, shoot-for-the-stars life aspirations, how does your friend respond? Is she immediately excited for you? Does she love seeing you come to life and encourage you to move forward? Or does she take a critical stance and suggest that you aim lower?

There is a time and a place for being practical, but discussions about your dreams in not one of those times. If you settle along the most practical path, you rarely unlock your dreams for the future.

So, dream big. Visualize your future in the way that makes you the happiest. Take little steps every day to make that happen. If you have a friend who does anything but support, love and encourage you — perhaps you need to reexamine that relationship.


Attitude

My mother, the wise woman that she is, told me to surround myself with people who make me feel great at the end of a conversation.

It is a gift when you have friends who can speak with you about anything, friends who can both offer you advice and pick apart your daily horoscope. But to take it a step further, how do you feel after speaking with this person?

If your friend is someone who makes you feel important and empowered, then congratulations, you've found yourself a true friend. But, if you leave conversations more stressed than when you entered, the union may not be a worthy of you.

No matter how huge the issue either of you is navigating, a cathartic chat with a friend should always make you feel better. You may not solve major world issues, but you should feel at least a smidgen better than when you started the conversation.


Convenience

We will keep some friendships active as a reflection of literal proximity. It's important to have friends who go to the same gym, work in the same office or meet for coffee in the same neighborhood. Most friendships start this way, but then, life changes move people away.

Friendships like this are beautiful because proximal people know the daily details of your life that you might not share with friends you're only able to speak with several times a month.

Aside from being a part of your daily routine, who is this person to you? If he or she lived across the country, would you still be close friends? Would you crave this person's opinions? The hallmark of a true friend is someone with whom you can pick up where you left off, no matter the distance.

Life is really difficult. When this gets even tougher, you want to be certain that friends you keep are ones that will lift you up when life brings you down.

Think critically about the energy you put into your relationships now — these will be the people you to whom you turn when you need future assistance.

Top Photo Courtesy: Tumblr

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Bridget Boland

Contributor

Bridget is a writer, a reader and a lover of life. Her favorite things include coffee, all things Minnesotan and laughing.
Bridget is a writer, a reader and a lover of life. Her favorite things include coffee, all things Minnesotan and laughing.

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