This may come as a surprise: friendship ranks last in the relationship hierarchy as compared to marriage, family, work, etc. In other words, romantic partners, parents, children and others all come ahead of it.
By this point, you may vehemently disagree. But the cold reality is that friendship gets sacrificed to other life’s priorities such as family, work, etc. Ultimately, it is up to us to decide if we want to maintain a friendship or let it die.
While voluntary and least structured, friendships remain important in what they offer: Somebody to talk to, someone to depend on, and someone to enjoy with. In other words, friends make life more enjoyable and bearable.
In childhood, friendships is visceral. Pure and simple. Young adults spend most time with friends. But as we grow older, the demands of life increase. By process of elimination, we become more selective in our friendships.
Interestingly, after retirement, we are more free to choose friends. Using the lifecycle model, friends are other kids who are fun to play with (childhood), hit or miss (adolescence), active & social (young adulthood), being there or drifting apart due to family and work (middle age), reconnect (retirement).
How many childhood friends do you still have?
Click: How Friendships Change Over Time – The Atlantic for the full article.