When we were kids, proximity was the basis for our friendships.
As adults, we have more control over our friendships than ever before. We get to choose where we’re going, what we’re doing, where we’re living, who we’re calling. And I think sometimes we get overwhelmed with all the choices we have and forget that WE have the power here.
This episode is Part 1 of my conversation with today’s guest, Kristian, who reached out after finding Friendship IRL by typing “friendship” into Apple Podcasts. Kristian is in her 20’s, a phase in life in which we often find we can’t rely on proximity for our friendships anymore.
Our 20’s are full of so many changes – changes that will inevitably impact our friendships. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. These changes also allow us to better understand who we are, what we enjoy, and what we WANT – not only out of life, but out of our friendships, too.
In this episode you’ll hear about:
- How you can be lonely even while having “friends,” and the importance of letting go of being our “best selves” and embracing our messy, unique, true selves
- Harmful societal messages around friendship: put your best foot forward; give a great first impression; the first seven seconds set the tone of your friendship forever
- Making friends as an adult, which often involves deciding who we are; what makes us unique; ways we want to show up; and how we want others to show up for us
- In our mid-20s, friendships often aren’t based on proximity anymore, so for a lot of people, it’s hard to know what friendship looks like during this stage of life
- How our own personal growth and “tweaks” impact our friendships; for example, deciding to stop drinking might affect relationships with people we go to the bar with
- The difference in being nice and kind, in friendships and in life
Did you find your friendships changed when you hit your mid- to late-20s? How so? What were the challenges you found, and how did you work to overcome them?
Notable Quotes from Kristian:
“I found myself becoming extremely burnt out. I am now a reformed super nice girl. No longer doing it. Sorry, can’t. It’s exhausting. So now I just want to focus on being kind instead of being nice, because I feel like people who are nice kind of don’t have boundaries.”
“That’s what I hate about growing up, because I feel like we lose our sense of individuality. In a way, that’s something that I’ve been coming back to in 2022. And let me tell you, that is the key to life. Literally, go back to your individuality. And you will start to love yourself again.”
Notable Quote from Alex:
“A lot of adults have forgotten that “our people” were once just people. They were people that walked down the hall. We knew nothing about them. They didn’t evoke any memories or feelings or thoughts. We just met them. We said hi. We learned some things about them. And slowly over time, we started to care about them as humans. So skipping forward to that part, where they are the closest people, isn’t going to happen. And I think a lot of adults want that right off the bat.”
Resources & Links
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The Shift of Friendships in Your 20s
@itsalexalexander Reply to @jayceerose17 BTW — Work friends are often defined friends. Be sure to come back for that video. #friendshipadvice ♬ original sound – Alex | Community + Friendship
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Podcast Intro 00:02
Alrighty, gang. Here’s to nights that turn into mornings and friends that turn in family. Cheers!
Podcast Intro 00:18
Hello, Hello, and welcome to the Friendship IRL podcast. I’m your host, Alex Alexander. My friends… They would tell you; I like to ask the hard questions. You know who I am in the group? I’m the person that’s saying, “Okay, I’m going to ask this question, but don’t feel like you have to answer it.” And now, I can be that friend for you, too.
Alex Alexander [Narration] 00:51
Today’s episode is with my new friend, Kristian. And I mean, this one went deep and on and like… like, we just really… we went for it. And this combo, the very end, she says to me… is just kind of nervous and uncomfortable the entire time. Like, that’s the kind of conversation we had here. We just put it out. We talked about the real feelings, the shame that comes with friendships, the uncertainty, the fact that the world doesn’t really prepare us for this. I love this conversation, because it’s just like… it’s so real. It really brings to light feelings that I think we’re all having, but nobody is really voicing or saying out loud. So, I hope that you also feel like maybe you’re not alone when you listen to the two of us talk in this episode, that other people do have these feelings too. With that, let’s get to the episode. Hello.
Alex Alexander 02:00
How are you?
I’m good. How are you?
Alex Alexander 02:03
I’m kind of excited that you’re here. And you know what? What we’re going to talk about today, I think is a very, very relatable topic for a lot of people, which is kind of that like, mid late 20s shift in friendships. What even is a friend as an adult? Because I do think that it’s very different. Feels different.
Yeah, I actually don’t even know. I’m in a place where I’m discovering what that means. And I remember when we spoke. Actually, I don’t remember if I said this when we spoke, but I think I realized that I don’t know how to be a friend. And when I say that, it doesn’t mean that I’m like, necessarily the worst person out there, like the worst friend. But by that, I mean, I don’t think I know what kind of friend I want to be quite yet. Or maybe I do, and don’t know how to tap into that fully. And I’m working towards that. But it’s honestly been a lot. It’s been overwhelming. And that’s why I looked up. I literally typed in ‘Friendship’ on Apple podcasts. I don’t know if I told you that.
Alex Alexander 03:09
You didn’t… I love that, because I’ve heard from a few people now who have done that, and that is like, that’s wild, that’s so cool that people are finding it that way.
Yeah, the ‘SEO’ is ‘SEO’ing. So…
Alex Alexander 03:21
Perfect, that’s what I like to hear. But, I think that what you’re saying is very real. People are gonna listen to this like, yes. Because we’re not taught to reflect on what kind of friend we want to be. And a lot of people don’t have great examples, their parents, their elders, their people, like they haven’t tapped into their social wellness, they haven’t considered that. So it’s not like they’re modeling certain behaviors that you can even look at. So, I think we get to this mid 20 stage where friendships aren’t based so much on proximity anymore. Where we don’t see our friends every day. And people just don’t know what this looks like. anymore. I think you’re right, I think you do have to reflect and kind of decide like, what kind of friend are you like, what are you bringing to the friendships? What kind of people do you need to surround yourself with for this like new stage of life?
Yeah, because I found myself becoming like extremely burnt out. I am now a reformed super nice girl. No longer doing it. Sorry, can’t. It’s exhausting. Let me just… so now I just want to focus on being kind instead of being nice, because I feel like people who are nice, kind of don’t have boundaries. That’s a blanket statement. Obviously, there’s nuance in everything.
Alex Alexander 04:56
But, I think you’re hitting on some stuff there.
I’m sure. I would say growing up, I grew up in a predominantly black space for a few years, and I had my whole community and everything that relate to them all the great stuff. And then we moved into a non predominantly black space, and I was not the majority at all. I was the minority by a lot, and so I couldn’t relate to anyone, people didn’t seem to like me, not because of me, but because of how I looked, because I was different. And so, I was just very, like a very lonely kid, I would say. And once I went to school, college, I mean, I think I have become very like hardened on the outside because of the experiences that I had just in the home and in school as well. I wish it was very inward. And so… when I met my friend group in college, I was kind of like a B word. And they were like, “Well, girl, we don’t like that. Fix that. That’s not cute.” And so it’s like, okay, well, in order to like have friends and keep friends and keep people from leaving me, I have to be like, so nice. And so, that’s kind of just what I thought. And that allowed, in my opinion, people to walk over me, and different situations to not be actually genuine I feel. Because you’re not really being yourself. It’s kind of like a trauma response in a way. And of course, there’s people who are just naturally so freakin nice. And that’s just who they are and everything. But I know that I was doing it to hold on to people who I felt, I really wanted to keep close. And with that being said, I don’t really feel like I was really opening up, I wasn’t vulnerable. It wasn’t really a given the take type of relationships that I was having. And so over time, I found myself being still feeling extremely lonely. Yep. Why do I have these friends? If I don’t feel like supported or less alone? Or, you know, and I was just like, is this it? like, is this what life is? Because everyone on social media seems to be like having the time of their lives with their girl. There was their gal pals in there. I don’t know what it called for guys, but whatever with their friends. That just was not my experience for the longest and even still, it’s like a growing space for me. But I would say a few years ago, maybe like two or three is when I was like, um, yeah, no. I don’t like this. So I started to just do some inner discovery. Like, okay, I literally only cry alone. I don’t tell anyone my feelings. I lash out. Because I don’t feel like I have anywhere to turn once I’m like, so fed up with all my feelings. Yeah, people are mad at me for it. But then they’re not there for me. They expect me to be there for them. But they’re not checking in on me. Like what the f? So I think that phase of my life kind of steered me in a new direction. And that’s where I’m at now.
PODCAST EPISODE! Listen to “What is a Friend? and the 4 Types of Friends We All have” here.
Alex Alexander 08:08
I’m really curious. And you’re not going to know the answer. But I’m just curious what like your gut reaction to this question is, do you think the people you were friends with? Were also putting up a front acting a certain way? Or do you think they were really being themselves?
Some I feel like it might be half and half.
Alex Alexander 08:26
Like one of the girls from college, we aren’t like super close as much because we had just like some difficulties with our relationship. But we still remain in contact and cordial and like, in a positive space.
Alex Alexander 08:39
And I know for sure that she was not acting herself because we openly have talked about it.
Alex Alexander 08:44
She too, came into friendship in college with like, preconceived notions and her own baggage and all of that stuff. So I think when you’re in relationships into people aren’t being genuine. There’s no room for like, a healthy relationship. So yeah, I think people were being themselves too.
Alex Alexander 09:04
Some people were and some people weren’t. I’m just curious, like, that’s interesting to me. It makes sense how social interactions would not feel nourishing, or like a reset or enjoyable that they would give you social anxiety. Every time you have to go, you’re already anticipating the fact that you’re basically cheating yourself the entire time, right? Like, you’re hoping they like you, but it’s so much work to become whatever version is likeable. Like that sucks. I feel so much for you a few years ago.
Yeah. No, I still struggle. Now. I have so much… for some reason I feel emotional when you said that the social anxiety thing, because I didn’t really understand the root of my social anxiety and maybe you just helped me unlock that. Literally, I’m filled with so much social anxiety, that I’m so closed off like, it’s night and day, my personality when I’m home and like, around friends where it’s like just me and one other person or other people, versus when I go out to the public, I’m exhausted. I think that’s a trauma response, like I naturally am an extrovert, but I don’t act that way. A lot of people think I’m shy, they think I’m an introvert and that’s not true. I just, I’m anxious. And I think it’s because of the past me still trying to understand how to be my full self, and walk in, like, just being fully I guess, genuine at all times. But you know, I still haven’t healed from.
Alex Alexander 10:43
You’re little like, apprehensive. That makes sense. After a long time of, you know, having the same response, having the same outcome, every time you went to a social interaction, it feels the same way. And the same way being like, it sucks. And of course, you’d anticipate and brace yourself a little bit every time. Like, it’s gonna take a little bit of time to get rid of that. And you were saying the thing about like, the social anxiety, I don’t know where I heard this. And it wasn’t related to friendship, but most of the thoughts I have about friendship come from somewhere else. But basically, it was talking about how the societal messages around friends are, put your best foot forward. Give a great first impression, right? Like all these things, you know, the first seven seconds are going to set the tone for your friendship forever kind of thing. Like, it’s kind of this be the best you. And I kind of think it’s BS. I kind of mean, I totally think it’d BS. Part of me as like, show up as the weirdest you.
Alex Alexander 11:47
Show up as the most unique you, show up as the having a bad day you. Show up in your sweat pants, show up where you haven’t done your hair in longer than you should have waited, like, show up a mess a little bit, because then they’re getting a real taste of the real you. And that’s what we all want in friendships. And the other thing that I think is interesting is I think that we love our friends, like the people we really care about, are because over an extended period of time, we’ve seen their messy, exactly. We’ve seen what makes them unique. And although maybe it makes us cringe a little bit, sometimes. We also love them for it, because it’s them. So if we think about it that way, then we turn around and we think about how we’re trying to push ourselves in this put your best foot forward box. Like that makes no sense. Because the things that people love about us aren’t that. So, why do we keep doing that to ourselves?
Yeah, I definitely would agree. I feel like my closest friends are the ones who are like, we’re super weird. I just woke up and we’re on FaceTime, like, super close to the camera, or we’re hanging out and we’re not even doing anything. We’re just breathing with each other. Because we’re both in a space where we just need to be around someone. The real stuff, the real life, things, I feel like those are ways of genuinely connecting with someone. And so that’s what I look for now. And yeah, it just takes a little bit of time for me to get there at the moment,
Alex Alexander 13:22
Which I think is totally understandable. I don’t think you should beat yourself up about that. And hopefully, little by little, you know, you’ll chip away from it. You’re like, radar, for that moment where you’re like, wow, they’re really weird. This might be kind of interesting. Like, that becomes, you know, your marker, instead of just taking the first impression always. Like, I think it takes time for all this stuff, even though like sometimes I say I think a lot of adults have forgotten that. Our people were once just people, they were just people that walked down the hall, we knew nothing about them. They didn’t evoke any memories or feelings or thoughts. We just met them. We said, hi, we learned some things about them. And slowly over time, we started to care about them as humans. So like skipping forward to that part where there are closest people isn’t going to happen. And I think a lot of adults want that right off the bat. But the reason we have that is because of all those moments where we like sat on FaceTime breathing.
PODCAST EPISODE! Want to learn more about emotional intimacy roots? Listen to my episode on the three kinds of roots here.
Alex Alexander 14:37
That’s what it is, you know, we sat waiting for a car’s oil change, or we got lost somewhere and felt dumb, and just had to laugh about it. Whatever those things are.
Alex Alexander [Narration] 14:51
Where do I break into that? We just covered so many things at rapid fire. But what I want to drop in and say is, this whole thing is a process. So when we’re talking about the social anxiety and how much like it makes sense that you’d have social anxiety when you’re already bracing yourself, for all the moments where you don’t feel authentic, where you’re being judged, unraveling that is a process. And I don’t think we are ever truly going to be like 100% authentic all the time. So let yourself off the hook for that. But what I do think is, it’s a lot of work. I’ve talked about this in previous episode in the managing differences episode. It is a lot of work to anticipate the version of yourself that is palatable to somebody else. And then to act that way, when it doesn’t feel authentic. So that’s a lot of work, to be bracing yourself to then potentially not have anticipated the right thing, or to have done a little bit wrong, and then they don’t like you and you get a weird look. Like it’s just so much less work to be yourself. And if they don’t like you, then they don’t like you. Somebody will. And if nothing else you will because you were yourself. And again, saying this is simpler than it is in practice. I definitely have gotten better at this. I am not 100% authentic all the time. Sometimes we’re all in certain situations where we feel a little awkward or weird or new. And we say something I’m like, why would I say that? Like it happens? It happens. But hopefully we can chip away where you feel more like yourself, or people get to see this weird you, unique you, and they appreciate you for being yourself, and then hopefully over time you’re you have less social anxiety about going out and meeting new people and doing things. Because you have evidence that people do find you interesting and do enjoy your time and think fondly of your quirks even if they kind of roll their eyes a little bit sometimes. Least I know my friends do.
I think it also comes from childhood too, because I think my favorite thing about kids is they don’t care about anything. They just want to have a good time. Like I used to coach gymnastics and cheer and just different activities in the kids who end up being friends are complete opposites. They don’t look like they don’t sound like they don’t like the same things. They just are like “Cool, oh my god! Do you want to see my car?” “Great! Let’s go play, talk outside. My mom said you could.” Like that’s so innocent and cute and just the bare minimum, and I feel like that probably is another reason of why we like desire that from those experiences, I definitely do crave that a lot.
Alex Alexander 18:11
And then you think about it those kids right went outside to play chalk. And then somebody’s mom came outside and said, “You’re not supposed to be drawing there,” right? “And you’ve gotten trouble.” Like as adults, we want to look like we have it all together that we’re perfect. Like those childhood friendships quite often we were so used to getting it wrong or not being perfect, which made us love each other even more.
Hmm. Yeah, that’s a good point.
Alex Alexander 18:35
Just all the imperfections and the real life or the moments where we look back and somebody… you know, a good friend was really awkward at 16. Like, we find that endearing. And yet as adults, we don’t want that we don’t want to be the awkward whenever.
That’s what I hate about growing up, because I feel like we lose our sense of individuality in a way. That’s something that I’ve been coming back to in 2022, and let me tell you, that is the key to life. Literally go back to your individuality and you will start to love yourself again If you don’t, because it just feels better to…
Alex Alexander 19:15
Preach. Keep going. Yeah, this is really it.
You know what I mean? I was like, damn, why am I… person? Yeah, you’re good. I was like, why am I trying to be the same as everyone knowing that I’m not the same will never be the same. It doesn’t. No one’s the same. That’s such a silly weird thing that we do. Yeah, I’m gonna be me. And so I’m just like, alright, cool. Getting back to like dressing however I want to dress, exploring fashion, doing whatever hairstyles I want to do, not the trending stuff, wearing whatever earrings these are my grandma’s earrings, and you know, I think I make them look cute.
Alex Alexander 19:49
I love them.
Thanks and yeah, just literally doing what I want. So I think that has skyrocketed my confidence. And you know, those other areas that I’m still bringing up long to help myself out. But I think that’s the key to life. And I’m going to continue on the path. And I can’t wait to see how much I change this year.
Alex Alexander 20:09
So the interesting thing and thinking about this episode is when I was kind of thinking about that idea of like, what is a friend as an adult? How do I be an adult, a friend as an adult? I kept coming back to when we are kids, the friendships that we are used to right are friendships of proximity. So we go to school, we see the same people every day, we don’t have a choice. Normally, what school we go to, we just go to that school, those are the people we’re gonna be around everyday, but we don’t necessarily really get to pick that. Then you live in a neighborhood, you don’t pick what neighborhood you live in your parents do, or caregivers, we join some sports teams, or arts clubs, or whatever, maybe you get to pick, but you know, like those are still within the neighborhood and the school that you didn’t pick, they’re still the same people, probably, your parents still have some say. So you’re just making friends with the people around you, and you didn’t get to pick much. And we still figured out how to befriend these people in the awkwardness of life. Some people were themselves, other people tried to fit in and have friendships that didn’t feel right. But we were there. As adults, we get to pick everything we get to pick where we live, we get to pick what interests we want to pursue, we get to decide if we’re going to join a gymnastics gym, in our town or one three towns over, we get to decide whether we want to join the gymnastics gym or a chess club or both. We get to like pick where we’re going and what we’re doing. And I think as adults, we get really overwhelmed with that. And we forget that we can pick the people who are surrounding ourselves with. So if you combine the ability to pick are the people we’re surrounding ourselves with, with people who share our interests and values and are in communities that we feel connected to. And then you remember this individuality piece that you have more control over your friendships as an adult than you ever have in your life. And yet, that is not the message we’re sold. Like all the societal messages tell us it’s harder, that these friendships aren’t as easy to make aren’t as easy to keep are rare., all that kind of stuff. It’s like taking away our power.
Yeah, that’s weird when you put it like that. I guess I never thought about it like that.
Alex Alexander 22:53
So to tie that together, I think a big piece of making friends as an adult is deciding what you’re saying? Who you are? What do you care about? What makes you unique? What can you bring to the group? What ways can you help other people? What ways do you need other people to show up for you? That you you get to choose all these things, and then put yourself in the places where those people might be, and if we can actually do that and take control of our situation. I think we’re better set up than we’ve ever been. And yet, that’s not what we’re told until now until I’m saying it. Like that’s the way we need to rethink all this because I really do think it can be better.
No, literally reframing is probably the best tool on earth that I’ve learned. At least. That’s just what you explained in my opinion.
Alex Alexander 23:56
Alex Alexander 23:57
And I think that goes back to like the individuality how you wrap them together. It’s just all reframing like oh, god I hate this I hate that. Okay, well girl, what are you gonna do about it? Are you just gonna just keep hating it your whole life? There’s so much life to live and I’m going to enjoy mine personally. So yeah, I think with that in mind, being able to have so much autonomy over like your life, your decisions, how your circle of friends look, how you show up in that circle of friends, is information that needs to be in school or something.
PODCAST EPISODE! Hear all about why I created Friendship IRL here.
Alex Alexander 24:29
I couldn’t agree more.
Like a baby adult class like Okay, great. You graduated college now let’s enroll into the class of life or something. And so I’m really I’m just thankful that I found your podcast because every time I listen to a episode, I feel like I get some sort of one. It’s like self soothing, almost like, oh, I’m not weird. I probably am but…
Alex Alexander 24:54
That’s what makes us great.
Yes, normal like this is a normal feeling. Other people have felt this. Great. But then you don’t just stop there. You also say like, “Okay, now, if you want to be here instead of there, like this is how you can practically work towards that.” And of course, not everything works for everybody. But I feel like the way that you go about sharing information is very… like you can put your own individuality into it.
Alex Alexander 25:20
I do. Yeah. I mean, that’s exactly what I’m trying to do here.
Well, good job, because you’re doing it.
Alex Alexander 25:26
Yeah, it’s just like, give some options.
Alex Alexander 25:30
And ideas, and people can go try them, and they’re not all going to work because we’re all unique and different individuals. So I’m not going to know what works for you versus works for someone else versus me. Shoot, I’m not even going to know what works for me five years from now, or 10 years from now. Like, I think that there’s a basic toolkit here of all these reframes. And then actually spending the time to be intentional about where you’re putting your energy with these relationships. And then what works for you as far as finding ways to be consistent are the ways you like to spend time with people the things you like to do together, the topics you talk about, and then once you kind of figure that out, you have your individual plan of sorts, where you can keep tweaking what you’re doing, adding new people letting people go approaching it in a new way. But if we’re not taught, which we’re not to think about it this way, you get to your mid 20s, low 20s, you graduate college, whatever we’re proximity, you can’t rely on that anymore. And you don’t have this toolkit. So you’re just out there floating around, feeling real lost.
And thinking that people are going to come to you. Literally, I would say 2022 seems like so many years, because of how many changes I was going through, I believe at the end of 2021, hopefully, he doesn’t ever hear this, but I broke up with my ex. And I think that was the start of when… I’m not liking how things are going for me. Time to like revamp. And I like how you said the word tweaking, I’m going to start reframing, like friendship losses in that way. Because ever since like, you know, 2021 and to 2022, I’ve been just developing and nurturing connection. And that’s just what I’ve been doing. Generally, I haven’t been trying to put so many label on like, you’re my friend, or you’re my friend, or you’re my friend or no, you’re my close friend, I’ve just been trying to try my best to kind of peel back from that and just build connections and just see what feels right. And kind of just go from there. And there hit a point where I was like losing friends, whether it was like the newer friends, or like the newer connections or like, older friends who I’ve been friends with for like 10+ years. And I was like, what the heck is going on? I thought I was trying to build connections. But here I am losing connections. And it was like, for a span of six months in 2022. And so that really got me like down and almost like a little bit depressed. And I remember telling my friend Andrea, like, “Hey, like, is something wrong with me? Or am I just not a good person?” I feel emotional.
Alex Alexander 28:25
I feel for you because this is such a real experience.
Alex Alexander 28:28
I have felt this. Everybody feels this.
Yeah, and it’s like it felt so embarrassing. And I was sharing about it on my social media like my… one where I create content and get a little bit more personal. And just literally feeling desperate almost for tips or like asking people who are older than me, like, have you ever felt this? And then when you get people say, no, I’ve been friends with the same friends for my whole life, then the shame starts. And so not only was I sad, but I was feeling so ashamed that I was losing people. And it all started with me like setting more boundaries and like making that shift from being a nice girl to like, No, I’m gonna choose kindness instead. People not really driving what with that, but you know, I don’t know, at times, you’ll have deep connections with people and they say that they support you. But then when you start to start being healthier for yourself, sometimes they can switch up because they’re not used to that or they don’t like that version of you. And that pain is like, at least for me, I remember for for other people, but that is painful, in my opinion, because it’s like dang girl, you don’t want to see me thrive. We can’t stay connected, and that’s both thrive. So I haven’t known what to do with those feelings and those emotions and I think I’ve just been in a grieving state for a while. But now I’m ready to kind of move forward. But I’m still like, okay, I don’t want to just push away the emotions because I should deal with them. I just don’t know how. So it’s been a lot.
Alex Alexander 29:56
The interesting part. I mean, you said so many good things in there. If you were talking about the 2022 felt like, a lot of years in one year, probably because make sounds like you were a lot of versions of yourself, you are tweaking yourself, you are growing, you are changing, you are letting things go and adding here and there. And when we do that, our friendships are impacted. So a lot of people get really upset, because a friend that they thought was, quote, unquote, their friend, just like blanket, they’re my friend should we want that? right. But we forget that when we change and become different versions of ourselves, it impacts our friends, the ways that we spend time with them. So for example, if somebody stops drinking, and the main way you hung out with your friend was you went out on Saturday nights, you may not want to do that anymore. And now, they don’t have a person to go out to the bars on Saturday nights that impacted their life. Now, I’m not saying they shouldn’t be supportive. But it’s like an interesting thing, because I think that tweaking comes in, of instead of holistically been like, they’re my friend, we can look at it and be like, okay, well, if the only way, quote, unquote, that they were my friend is that we went out on Saturdays, and I don’t want to do that anymore. We either need to find new ways to spend time together, or I have to let this go. You know, if they work in the same field as me, and I just got a promotion. And they didn’t. Society tells us, like, they should be happy for us. Yes, simultaneously if you both spent a lot of your time talking about how you were both going for a promotion, and you got it and they didn’t, that’s probably not a thing you’re going to talk about anymore.
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Alex Alexander 31:51
Because there’s a little spice there. So, you know, it’s just like that continued tweaking of looking at it and be like, okay, sure. They’re in their feelings right now. It might take them a while to come and tell me that they’re happy for me. But you know, what, I’m going to focus on finding people who I can talk about my new position with, I think a lot about, like, when I’m tweaking, we’re arguing the ad. There’s a lot of talk out there about letting go. And I think that’s great. But we got to let go, we can hold on to it all. Totally agree. But letting go, focusing on that all the time, like the void of needing someone to maybe talk about work with is still there. So well, we need to grieve letting that friendship that part of that friendship go and maybe you can reconnect later about something else? What if instead, we directed a little bit more energy into just like finding the new right people and tweaking that, so we did have the support we wanted?
I like that approach. I think that’s what I was doing.
Alex Alexander 32:58
Yes, I think that’s what you were doing too.
Alex Alexander [Narration] 33:02
I heard this the other day, somebody said that there’s no use in chasing nostalgia. Whether that’s true or not, I don’t know. But it kind of hit me because the thing is, it’ll never be exactly the same. Sure, we might have glimpses or moments where it feels like we’re out on the town with our friends the way we used to be, however, many years ago, but it’s not quite the same. Somebody is probably, you know, has some worries. They wouldn’t have had seven years ago on their plate, on their mind. So the reason I’m saying that, is because what we’re talking about here, like when we’re talking about the friend, getting the promotion, you know, you have to grieve that it’s not quite going to be the same anymore. When you used to sit around at lunch and have these carefree conversations and talk about office gossip. You know, now if one of you is a manager, you might have to act a little differently. And while we need to grieve and appreciate that we’re moving on to a new version of this friendship. I also think that chasing that nostalgia of what was like trying to force this new version to repeat those old patterns, causes so much stress in friendships. So grieving what was but then refocusing your energy on what is the new version. What are those moments, those nostalgic moments you’re going to look back on someday? Because this version will also pass. I talked a little bit about well, quite a bit about this in Episode Four about navigating big life changes and I think about it because My friends and I, so many versions have happened rapid fire last five years.
Yeah, I think like, I was like, okay, well, I don’t want this. I don’t know what I want, but I do want this. So, let me just try this. And then like, I went to school for fashion. And I have since after graduating after like a year, I was like, nah… profession, not for me. Let me go into wellness, because I love that stuff like the mental health, physical health, growing up as an athlete. So I’m like, while I try to figure it out, I know what I like, I just am still understanding, like, what I want my career path to look like, I knew what the end goal was, but not the middle. And so I went and got my pilates certification. Coached gymnastics at the same time for more income, did a podcast, had a wellness community group, and then I just was not happy, like I just still was not happy. And I’m like, okay, all of this wellness, because everything, and like the corporate wellness space is always about toxic positivity. That doesn’t feel you. Like it’s not nourishing. So I’m like, dammit, when am I going to feel like nourished? Like, when am I going to feel fulfilled? And so I think that’s the approach that I took. And 2022 I’m like, all right, my whole point of bringing up the fashion school was, I had since stopped caring about the way that I presented myself. And that was something that was like a huge deal for me. Because in my world, it’s an art form to put on an outfit that makes you feel like you in that particular day. I want to feel comfortable for a day, but I also still want to look super feminine. And achieving that, that is like the best dopamine ever. For me. So I got back to that. And I’m like, okay, great. I love that. But I don’t feel like my style is fully there. Let me keep exploring. Okay, well, who I like, okay, now I’m adding that. Okay, great. I don’t really like my job. What do I want instead? Okay, great. Let me add that. So I just feel like that adding process is honestly, like the best thing I’ve done in a while. So I 100% agree with you and how you’re saying, like, getting rid of something doesn’t fill that void? Is 1,000% accurate? Because I’m like, okay, great. Let me get rid of the corporate fashion. And to do that, no, grow, I’m still feeling unfulfilled. So yeah, I think finding that balance or trying to understand that toolkit, as you put it, it’s a trial and error thing.
Alex Alexander 37:35
Oh, it’s definitely a trial and error thing. Because, again, everybody’s toolkit, although might have some of the same categories, Matt’s gonna put it, the categories are the same. But what the tools are in the categories are going to be individual. And the way we all do it as individual. So I guess that’s what I’m trying to do is like, offer up the categories and offer up some examples of the tools you might choose, but they may or may not work. And that’s kind of the point of this podcast, who is that I am only me, only one person, I am not some expert Guru, I don’t know at all. But I do love this enough to have conversations where I can talk to people, and they might say their tools that I’ve never thought of, like I live in my own world perspective, as much as I try to see everyone else’s, like, that’s impossible. I am well aware. I don’t know it all. Then we talk about these things and people get their own tools and build their own toolkit. And they try things and they work or they don’t and they switch again, the same exact way that you were talking about getting dressed and approaching your closet, moving through finding careers that feel right. Even the same with like the friendships piece, like what relationships feel nurturing right now, might not a year from now or only a part of them feels nourishing. The part you connect on, fashion. But you’ve moved on in career and they haven’t. And like that piece isn’t maybe shouldn’t be the focus of all your conversations anymore. And you just kind of keep adjusting, tweaking a little here and a little there to like, slowly build what feels right. And you said earlier, you’re talking about you know, the friendship shame piece and asking people, they have like “tips”, quote, unquote, and they’d say, like, “Oh, I’ve had the same friends my entire life.” This just goes to show how little thought and conversation there is out there about these friendships because if I dug a little deeper with those people, I would bet you they would say something like, yeah, I’ve been friends with these people for a long time. And at certain points, I felt really close to these people. And at other points I felt really disconnected. it. And our friendship looks so much different than it did 10 years ago, and I did 20 years ago, and I did 30 years ago. It’s not the stagnant line, like, oh, I’ve just had them my whole life, I just found these friends and I’ve kept them. It does not feel the same on the inside. It does not all these friendships go like, up and down and up and down. But no one wants to admit it. That was all the thoughts, all the feelings on friendship, good, the bad, the highs, the lows. And I’m here to tell you that this is only part one of this episode. There is a second half. And I split it because one, it would have been a really long episode. But two, I think there’s such a great transition, the first half that we just listened to, like really talks about kind of our internal feelings what this feels like the second half, we have a lot of conversations about what that actually looks like in the world, like how to handle it when these changes happen, when we are having to tweak and change our friendships, like what are we doing to move through the world with all these feelings? She has some really great questions that I would bet a lot of money a lot of you have as well. So, check back in next week for part two.
Alex Alexander [41:35]
Thank you for listening to this episode of Friendship IRL. I am so honored to have these conversations with you. But don’t let the chat die here. Send me a voice message. I created a special website just to chat with you. You can find it at alexalex.chat. You can also find me on Instagram. My handle, @itsalexalexander. Or go ahead and leave a review wherever you prefer to listen to podcasts. Now if you want to take this conversation a step further, send this episode to a friend. Tell them you found it interesting. And use what we just talked about as a conversation starter the next time you and your friend hang out. No need for a teary Goodbye. I’ll be back with a new episode next week.