Do Friendships Become Exhausting After A Certain Age?
There comes a time in every woman’s life when it gets taxing to take out time for friends with they were once as thick as thieves. By the time you are knocking at the thirties, some of them have vanished into thin air, some only correspond on birthday or Friendship day, while some are consciously avoided.
Wonder why the very friends who were an inseparable part of your childhood or youth, become tiring? Not just that, but after hitting thirty, most women struggle to make new friends. It feels like a job which requires too much labour and women often choose personal space, rather than allowing more intrusions. The thing is that while we do need friends, we run out of the steam we need to bear with the baggage a friendship brings along.
Better lonely than exhausted?
A friendless life is a dreary one, as it keeps us from enjoying the company of people who are not family or workplace acquaintances.
Friends are people whose moral expectations are much lower, and who will talk to us about other things than the kids, studies and marks, the grocery bills and EMIs. With most women in our country, settling down by thirty, that is what our daily interaction with other humans revolve around. What sabzi to cook, which clothes need to be washed separately, why is the peanut butter jar empty when it was bought two weeks ago? Their home their families and their jobs become the centre of their lives. All these duties and emotional labour put into raising children and maintaining a marriage past its fervour leave them exhausted.
- There comes a time in every woman’s life when friendships become exhausting to maintain.
- In most post-twenties female friendships, the other party often gets treated like a counsellor- someone on whom we can dump this excess emotional baggage we carry 24 by 7.
- If women seek meaningful friendships, then they have to stop treating their friends as agony aunts.
Whereas in youth a friendship’s baggage is endearing. It is a mark of trust if someone chooses to confide troubles in you. You feel special to be the shoulder on which your friend cries, or comes asking for help when in trouble. Even fights over favouritism is a way of showing that you care and are willing to make efforts for the sake of friendship.
Now we are too busy tending to families and saving our jobs. Hence the will to put in efforts to maintain the rapport of youth slacks off. Often we also outgrow our friendships and while concern for a friend remains, our lives and interests grow so diverse, we eventually lose the will to connect.
Also in most post-twenties female friendships, the other party often gets treated like a counsellor – someone on whom we can dump this excess emotional baggage we carry 24 by 7.
And guess what, the other party wants to do the same. Occasional virtual or face-to-face exchanges come laden with expectations of sympathy and a very patient ear. We all want to have a say but we all run out of temperament needed to just listen. And why not? With our personal share of stress and worries, there is no scope in our brains to absorb someone else’s problems. So slowly friendships dissolve.
The diluted friendships these days are about forming a WhatsApp group with friends and striking up conversations on the golden past, keeping it as light and generic as possible. We gossip, we gush over photographs of each other’s kids, we share recipes and forwarded messages and we then we go back into our individual shells. Even the new friendships we try to strike post-thirties are forged on grounds of measured casual mingling. Our behaviour perhaps stems from our brain’s immune response to protect us from all the hurt and suffering which may come with a toxic friendship. The unnecessary intrusion, the demeaning comments on personal choices and unending favours which come our way in the name of friendship sometimes. There is no way of knowing how a friendship may evolve, but do we have the stamina to endure the hurt, if it comes our way?
Women exchange the will to form a deep connection, which our energetic twenties permitted us to have, with a no-nonsense attitude and solitude.
If women seek meaningful friendships, then they have to stop treating their friends as agony aunts. There are other things to talk about. Besides not talking about your problems is also a good distraction, and it may rejuvenate them. They have to remember that friendship is not just about getting support or favours out of friends. It is also about just being there with each other, not expecting anything and trying to bring a smile to each other’s faces.
Picture Credit : Levi Guzman, Unsplash
Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is a writer with the SheThePeople team, in the Opinions section. The views expressed are the author’s own.