Can you have friends after thirty? YES. A friendship case study.

Can you have friends after thirty? YES. A friendship case study.

In 1989, at the age of 3, I moved in next door to a family I would adopt as my own.  Over the 20 years, we lived on Early Street. the children of both families became close. Especially myself and the two youngest next door.  The three of us would eventually become best friends; No that’s not right. We became sisters.

It wasn’t always roses and butterflies.  I was a mean son of a gun.  I pulled them downstairs, threw sand in their face and bossed them around like I felt comfortable not just talking to them but being mean! Truly a good sign! I don’t know if they see it that way! Love you guys!

We didn’t see each other all the time.  In fact, they went to the Catholic school and I went to the public school. My homework took two seconds and theirs took hours. We didn’t see each other often at all for those nine months.

Summers, however, we were inseparable.  I believe we were even told by our parents to take a breather from each other at least once. I could be honest and open with them. They supported me through thick and thin and I would like to think I’ve done the same for them.

College came and we still saw each other but not as much. We had one in Chicago, one in Urbana and one in St. Louis. Then grad schools, law schools, marriage, Ph.D.’s, and a baby.

Now we are here. It’s not that our friendship doesn’t exist.  Outside of my amazing family, they are the two who have always been by my side.  If something terrible happened, I know they would drop everything to be at my side as I would for them.

Sadly though, I think I can count on my hand the number of times I’ve seen them this year.  Phone calls don’t happen as much as I would like, not because of them, but because we are all living our lives. I’m busy with family, grad school, and work. They are busy with doctorate programs, being a lawyer, being a mom & wife, and living in the kick-ass city of Madison. We have our things.

Recently I was talking to the older of the two, and she mentioned someone at her job said that you don’t have friends at our age, just acquaintances. It really got me to thinking. Is that the case?  I have friends at work but if we didn’t work together, would we be friends? I have a couple friends I kept from college but I’ve seen them minimally at best.

And the girls next door? We are indubitably always 100% going to have fun when we are together playing Careers, chasing people who try to steal our tennis rackets, and dressing up for Halloween.  We are always going to be there for each other 100% for the big moments in life.  We just can’t always be there for the small moments.

I always imagined pictured our friendship is a little more involved when I was younger.  You know seeing each other at least every couple weeks. Spending the small holidays together. Talking on the phone once a week. It’s just not realistic.

So I guess the question is what is a friend? What is an acquaintance? To be a friend do you have to talk every week?  I wish I could talk to all of my friends every week, but it’s just not possible. We live busy lives.  To be a friend do you see each other once a month? Not us.

Or to be a friend do you have to be there to support each other and cheer each other up and love each other unconditionally? Because we sure have that down pat.

I think friendships definitely change after thirty. But true friends, the kind like good old Nikcourkat Molison (our combined name why of course) will stand the test of time. I think if we don’t count as friends, there is no such thing as friends.

Friendships take work just like any other type of relationship. They take time. They take effort. They take honesty and respect.  So from here on out- I vow not to ever let my friendships fade.  Especially the ones that matter more to me Riesens, Pepsi, Cheese Its, pretzels, queso dip and fudge combined.  You know who you are!

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