Your Crew will Evolve

I think it’s important for people who haven’t reached their late 30s and early 40s to know that your crew will evolve. People that you are close to in the early stages of life often drop off. People change. Values change. Priorities change. Economic status change. Availability and access change. Life has a way of re-ordering how you experience people and what you do with them. I felt obligated to share a few lessons I’ve learned.

I’m in a really strange season of life. I can’t say I have a particular word to even describe it. I don’t know other people in my circles who can identify. There are times when I feel that I am in certain circles to meet others’ needs rather than for us to meet each other. This is particularly true for seasons of loss, grief, or shifts. It can feel as though the people you were there for aren’t there for you. Some people simply don’t know how to be present for other people.

We also live in a world where people don’t operate with empathy for others. When you are in your 40s, you need a lot of empathy, if not sympathy. Life will find you managing a career, a household, a marriage, older parents, and whatever community affiliations you have. In all of these relationships and connections, you have elevated conflict depending upon your involvement and investment. You need people around you who can listen intently, support without judgment, give you a hug for no reason, drag you out of the house for social interaction, pray you through, laugh at your jokes, etc.

So… here’s what I think about building and sustaining a solid crew as life changes:

  1. What’s your primary identity and who in your crew matches that identify? Are you a new parent? Are you a caretaker for an older adult? Are you the President/CEO? Whatever that identity is, be sure to have people in your circle who understand where you are “at.”
  2. This sounds terrible…. but you have to know what some people are in your life for. If you have a friend that has no care in the world and can get the party started with ease, you can’t “break up” with them. You just have to manage your relationship so that you are beneficial to each other. NOBODY can plan a toddler birthday party like the single aunt with no kids! Apropriate their skillset. Don’t quit them.
  3. Just because your friend is at a different stage in life doesn’t mean they aren’t valuable to you. That doesn’t mean that your friendship won’t survive. It means that expectations for friendships have to be re-established. That may look like telling the crew that you want to be in the group text but you may not respond as much. It could mean, “include me but don’t be mad if I don’t come.”
  4. In your 40s, you need a good balance of family circles and non-family circles. Someone will ALWAYS be on your nerves in some way, shape or form. You need people to vent to that aren’t related to the people you are venting about.
  5. In your 40s, your “work friends” are just your “friends.” If there’s someone you connect with at work, you don’t have to be so firm on your boundaries like you were early in your career. Work friends are good for play dates, passion-based activities and celebrations. You DO have to pick carefully. You also have to set boundaries. If we meet up to go to the Home and Garden show on a saturday or meet for a play date with the kids, you can’t start talking about work! You pick these folks based on yolur shared identities and passions, not your shared employer.
  6. Some people are good for talking on the phone to. Others are not. Some friends are good for texting while others don’t know how to use their phone. Meetg people where they are.
  7. Mature friendships require clear communication. If you are just venting, say that! If ytou want advice, say that! If you just want company, say that!
  8. It’s okay to just have associates that you do friend-like stuff with. There doesn’t have to be any strings attached! In these cases, make sure they have what you have. Don’t go on a trip with an associate if they don’t have a ny money. You will be carrying the bill!

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