Well, “hate” might be a strong word, but if you’ve noticed that as you mature, you’re less inclined to please people, can’t stand small talk, and refuse to have your time wasted by other people, then you’re not alone. It’s not uncommon for someone to go from having 20 “close” friends to just 1 or 2 in a fairly short period of time, and there’s a pretty good reason for it.
Yes, in the height of the social media age, most people have a lot of connections, but the truth is real relationships have become much more rare. Studies have illuminated the fact that people have fewer confidantes now than they did 25 years ago (1). Only about 50% of people will actually confide in a close friend about a personal matter over the course of six months!
Why Do I Care Less For People With Age?
So, what is it about people these days that makes them happier with fewer real connections? Here’s what’s really happening behind the scenes if you’re noticing the change in yourself:
1. You care less for making new friends
Once you’ve graduated from school, your social life undergoes a pretty drastic and sudden transformation. Where you once spent every weekday with dozens, even hundreds of people you’ve grown to know well, your opportunities for actually making new friendships become far rarer. You might meet people at work or (if you’re the type of person who seeks these out) a club for people with mutual interests like books, knitting, or Scrabble.
But generally, it’s hard to make new friends in adulthood, and the friendships you once thought would last a lifetime can easily die out as people relocate for work and gain new family commitments.
Nevertheless, you adapt. You get used to spending more time with family and less time with friends. You start to look forward to monthly phone calls with your best friend rather than weekly dinner outings. And that’s okay. Because your life is full too.
2. You aren’t interested in foolishness
Hindsight really is 20/20. The more life experience you have, the more you learn more about yourself and more about the people who have always been in your life. In your 20’s, it can be hard not to get caught up in family drama or a friend’s relationship woes; after all, these are people you care about and want only the best for. But over time, you start to notice the trends in people’s lives and can learn when it’s okay to step away from a situation.
With maturity, you realize that you can’t help everybody, and while you wish them the best, you can recognize that getting involved can be a big energy and time suck that you simply aren’t willing to participate in.
3. You have a low tolerance for wishy-washy people
We’ve all been guilty of this white lie: “Wow, it’s been so long! We should get together sometime!” In early adulthood, everyone really means it. It’s easy to feel isolated while you’re grappling with new responsibilities, new people in your life, and new scenery, so meeting a blast from the past can be really exciting. But the fact is, it’s easy to get caught up in the moment of running into an old friend, and it’s hard to actually commit time to catch up with them.
Here’s a secret that mature adults know: if you can’t decide on a date and time right then, “we should get together sometime” really doesn’t mean anything. Do yourself a favor and just say, “It’s so nice to see you” instead. No guilt, no wishy-washiness, and no hard feelings.
4. Your time gets more precious
When you’re young, it can feel like you have all the time in the world. Carpe diem means doing something wild and exciting while you can. But with maturity, you realize that seizing the day is really about making the most of the finite time you have to do what really matters.
In your 20’s, you would love to go to that play with that group of people whom you sort’ve know well. Down the road, you already know you would much rather spend time playing games with your immediate family, cooking a healthy dinner to surprise your parents, or treating yourself to a quiet night in because not only do you need it, everyone around you probably does too. The bottom line is, with maturity comes a clearer sense of your real priorities. And most of the time, all of those extra relationships just don’t quite make the cut. And, that’s okay.
At the end of the day, your priorities might be appalling to your younger self, but the older you knows better what really matters, and that’s what allows you to enjoy your most important relationships all the more.