Don’t forget what’s important. Without people, being rich would be very boring. No one to share with, no one to have … You know what I mean? You’d just be a rich person, one person on the planet — just, like, well then what do you do? -Jay Z, New York Times

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Friendship is more nuanced as an adult, particularly in your late 20’s and 30’s.
This is the time when people begin to take life more seriously and the ‘you’re grown AF’ realization finally starts to sink in. Major life decisions like choosing a spouse, buying a home or ruthlessly pursuing dreams start to take priority over everything.

It also happens to be the most crucial decade for professional success. Demanding jobs and strategic networking can leave less time and energy for casual socializing.

Those weekly ‘kickbacks’ and weekend club adventures slowly take a backseat to corporate ladder climbing and entrepreneurial endeavors.

So, now that we’ve gotten the facts out of the way, how do we deal with the harsh reality that comes with losing friends that you’re slowly evolving away from? Here are a few tips that can help you deal with the inevitable horror of losing some of  your buddies while on the path to success.

Realize that it happens to everyone
Great friendships are deeply personal so it’s easy to assume that drifting apart could be attributed to something you did or didn’t do. However, you have to remind yourself that growing pains happen to everyone. Most adults can tell you at least one story about a lost friendship, be it because of an actual unresolved issue or just…life.

Keep reminding yourself that work-Life Balance is an ongoing process
While sporadic phone calls and random mall dates might have been enough to sustain a friendship when we were in college, ample free time is a foreign concept as an adult. That means you have to get creative when trying to adapt your social life around your new obligations and responsibilities.
Finding the sweet spot in work-life balance is extremely challenging for ambitious millennials, but it’s entirely possible to make time for friends even with a chaotic schedule. If you stumble or flake every once in a while, it’s ok to forgive yourself as you’ve exerted a large amount of energy to adulting already. If your friend is also pursuing success, they’ll more than understand.

Be intentional
If your friendship means the world to you, it’s up to the both of you to invest time and resources into keeping it intact. That might mean treating it like everything else in your life: practically. Just like you have to schedule time with your colleagues to discuss that new project, you might have to pencil in 10 minutes on your calendar to send your old bestie a funny meme to let them know you’re thinking about them. It may sound silly, but there are times when we all have to think outside of the box for those we love.

Prepare yourself for being okay with letting go
The length of time you’ve been friends with someone does not correlate with the strength of your friendship with that person today. Early friendships are usually formed through proximity and common interests. As we grow and are exposed to more things, what we once found bonded us to our friends may be a thing of the past. What’s important is how the relationship makes you feel right now–not when you were an adolescent.

Nevertheless, it is deeply painful settling on the realization that your friends won’t be walking alongside you on the winding path to success. Be prepared to struggle with FOMO or to feel like you’re falling behind while everyone is off accomplishing great things OR on the flipside, to experience the passive, misplaced jealousy from your friends if they aren’t where they want to be in life. Emotions like anger, envy and resentment can turn toxic and dampen your motivation. That’s when it’s time to take a step back and let it breathe. If the friendship is meant to withstand, it will. But in the meantime, no matter how difficult it may be, you can’t allow anyone to deter you from reaching self-actualization.

Let us know if these tips helped!