Being A 20-Something: Recognizing The ‘Real’ Relationships You Have


Ever heard of misery loving company? You should never have to feel as though you are betraying yourself. I know first-hand how even some of the closest people to you can make you feel guilty when you don’t conform to their version of what “loyalty” is. I don’t know about you, but I want to be happy, and sometimes the only way to stay free of drama and unhappiness is to let some people be. It’s like “I love ya Mom and Dad, but like, I can’t let you get in the way of my happiness, you know?” Sounds kind of selfish? I know, but it is even more selfish to threaten your relationship/write off someone you really care about because they don’t see the world as you see it. This is what my parents do.

If “loyalty” means supporting people through hard times to make yourself feel better about yourself (only hoping to get something back in the long run), and then suddenly stopping when no one has the energy left to listen to your EveryOneIsOutToGetMe/Me, Me, Me (ness) , then they are not being “loyal” to you rather. When someone gives you an ultimatum and it doesn’t feel right inside, then they are basically asking you to betray yourself and to join them in their unproductive shaming, blaming AND to be honest, ain’t nobody simply got time for that!

Who do you trust? People from every corner will pull you in every direction and tell you to look out for no good people and to carefully select whose advice you want to embody. This advice alone makes everything out to be black and white when the truth is, the true truth is never that easy to come by. There are these moments when you question everyone’s integrity. It’s like there is something valuable that everyone has to say, because, at one moment in time, each and every one of these people were credible.

From friends to lovers, you can have some people in your life who claim to be “in your corner”, when in reality, it seems like all they ever do is listen to themselves talk. They object to any ideas or points of view that you have and reroute the conversation back to them. These are the same people that you have to watch out for. If you’re going to take credible advice from anyone, you might be better off taking it from the people who normally follow their own advice.

Friendships shouldn’t be about occupying each other’s time and mindless chatter. Gossip is entertaining in the short run, but gossip is not enough to sustain any “real” long term friendship. Friendships are challenging in themselves, but the kinds of friendships that withstand the test of time are the ones who are built on more than just hearsay nonsense and more on ideas, ambition, the sharing of political and emotional perspectives alongside a mutual interest in hobbies. It is very difficult to grow a friendship when everyone is on a different frequency. A lot of times, you’ll find that most people want to stay at the same pace in life. They may say they want to do x,y, and z, but when it comes down to it, they want nothing more than to maintain a situation that doesn’t seem challenging for them. Thus, they get frustrated with you when you want to shake things up a little, talk about something else, and extend your maturity. If they refuse to compromise, rather than seeing that same person every day, then maybe you might just need to only associate with this people during x amount of times during the month instead. It’ll be better for the both of you in the long run.

I am not so convinced that my twenties, the “defining decade” (as Meg Jay so eloquently puts it), is a 10 year excuse to be misguided and reckless. Perhaps, the naïve Liberal arts/”real foods” eating/progressive in me is speaking, but, how can you expect to “grow” from the most uncertain time of your life if you are consciously making mindless and unproductive decisions? It’s like you’re cutting yourself short before anything good ever has the chance to happen to you. Many of us do endure underemployment, the fallout of friends and lovers, or experiment with drug and alcohol culture during the brain’s most critical period of change as statistics point to. For me however, the point of this so called “defining decade” is to become more aware of the bullshit. If anything, this is when the relationships you thought you had become more transparent.