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I’ve been thinking a lot lately about different types of friends. The summer’s a time to reflect about relationships, especially since a lot of people are gone due to vacations to beach houses or outdoor plans. Friends aren’t all the same – some are there for all of your life and others for a short time. Some friends come and go in your life, popping up only when you really need them, while others never leave. The friends you make in your adulthood are a usually a different caliber than the ones you make in your childhood – those who’ve known you the longest know all your awkward years and times where you’ve been trying to find yourself, yet the friends you make later in life only know you as how you’ve evolved and changed. While a lot of people put stock in the amount of years invested in a friendship, there’s something to be said for someone who knows you better than the rest. There are many who can be your friend for years, yet never reach the core of who you are. Another possibility is to have friends who have known you since elementary school, yet they don’t allow you to grow or change because they still see you as the person you were when you were seven or even sixteen. It’s okay to have those types of friends, though because having a varied repertoire of people in your life is important. While there are types of friends who encompass both ideas – the long-term friend and the one who knows you best, it’s good to be aware of the types of people you’re around and appreciate them for their place in your life.

Types Of Friends:

Childhood Friends – These are the friends you’ve known since you can remember. You might have met them in the sandbox when you were four, for example, or maybe you were sitting in a story time in grade school and they just happened to be your reading partner. No matter how you met them, they’ve been there since the beginning. They know about the ridiculous haircut you had in third grade and your worst crush story from seventh grade. You’ve always been partners in crime, but now you’ve grown up. Gone are the days of braces and learning to tie your shoes, proms and sleepovers. It’s a new time in your life, yet they’re still there and it’s hard to forget about embarrassing moments from the past when they’ve seen it all. They’ll always remember you as the young child you used to be and know your history, which can be good and bad. While you embrace these friends with open arms, just because you’ve known each other so long doesn’t mean they know or understand the person you’ve become. It’s a process of getting to know someone again once they change, mature, and eventually grow into the person they’re meant to be. They might not always understand you and vice versa, but at least they’ve proven that they have staying power, despite differences that develop overtime. If you don’t have loyalty, it’s impossible to have a lasting friendship and childhood friends are very special in that regard. However, as I continue talking about friendship, there’s also something to be said for making friends in different stages in your life, as well.

Adulthood Friends – These are the types of friends you meet in your late teens – early twenties and continue until the later years of your life. You’ve already formed your style, personality, etc. and now you’re just looking for like-minded (or completely different!) types of people. These newbies come into existence to either complete or completely change up your friendship circle. The start of adulthood ends up being a time where friendship changes are made, either due to going away to school and leaving your childhood home or a job move – anything that picks you up from where you grew up and brings you into contact with a completely different circle of people. From experience, it’s a breath of fresh air to meet people from different places – they don’t know who you’ve been and you can just be yourself without them knowing your whole history. It ends up becoming a learning experience because you’re starting from scratch and get to tell childhood stories to a fresh face. You end up making new memories with these people and these can end up being more mature friendships if they’re based on common interests rather than vicinity. When you grow up, you meet people in your general area and this helps form bonds. When you’re able to travel by yourself to a new area or even simply engrossed in a new situation (ie. college, new job, traveling), you’re able to reinvent yourself. The bonds that brought you together with childhood friends are formed differently in adulthood – you don’t become instant friends just through being around them a lot. Friendships can be hard to cultivate during adulthood, as you’re constantly on the run to your job and/or balancing a husband and kids, but the worthwhile friends stick around. You’re able to overcome obstacles of time and location because you like each other, regardless if you’ve known each other five or twenty five years.

Mixing Childhood & Adulthood Friends – Some people lose touch with their childhood friends completely or end up having two separate groups that encompass two different eras of their life – it depends on how close you were with these friends or how much of a “new start” you want in adulthood. Occasionally intermingling of friendship groups could occur, but in general, childhood and adulthood friendships tend to be on two completely different wavelengths. From personal experience, I feel like I can change my eccentric persona a bit while meeting new people as an adult, whereas when I see my childhood friends, the silliness and hilarity is amplified. As the cliche quote says, you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. Said in other words, once you’ve developed a routine with childhood friends, it’s hard to break it. However, while making friends at an older age, the friendship is fresh and you’re able to direct it in diverse directions. For example, if your oldest friends are very focused on having a good time when you’re together and not having serious discussions, your adulthood friends could be your outlet for intellectual stimulation. If you’re looking for friends you can go out with on the weekends, there are always other groups of people you can meet that can satisfy that need. There are all types of friends and no two people are alike. It all depends on how much you share and how many experiences you have together that determines the intimacy level in the friendship. Both childhood and adulthood friends have the capacity to be close-knit and strong – it just depends on how much change and differences affect the ones that have seen it all.

All friendships are different, but it definitely depends on how much you can grow with them. The ones that have stuck by you since youth must adapt to your changing persona in order to stay true to “friends forever,” while the ones that start seasons later have to have an understanding of your past to bring you into a strong future. Meshing these groups together brings diversity of experience and in general, a different take to the title, “soul sister.” “Soul sisters” are linked through experience, understanding, and a true sense of womanhood that transcends the mere “acquaintance.” Whether they’re a friend from the start or someone who came in during your mid-life crisis, all friendships bring something special to the table. They’re just different in the way they met you and how much time they’ve been around you. It’s not the quantity of the the time they’ve known you, but the quality of the time you’ve spent together. Some of my best friends are people who I’ve known only two years, but that doesn’t mean I don’t know them well. We’ve spent quality time together, therefore, the friendship has become more important to me as the months and years have gone by.

Strong female friendships can be hard to come by sometimes due to drama, man issues, or anything that makes trust become a problem, so it’s important to keep your sisters close! Learn to love all your friends, despite how long you’ve known them – it’s the bond that counts. There are different types of friends and once you recognize the limitations of each group, you can learn to love the advantages of having many sisters in your life!

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