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After four years of sharing everything from clothes to meal swipes, falling out of step with your college BFF can be really confusing. Sure, you both might have more in common with newer pals, but it's hard to get past the nagging feeling that drifting apart is your personal failure.
“School is the first way we develop friendships,” says psychologist Shara Brofman. “You connect deeply based on your shared experiences with your classmates.” Once this common ground is taken away, it can be hard to maintain the same connection.
If you feel an old relationship losing steam, work to respectfully lay the bond to rest without beating yourself up about it. Then, consider the fact that this opens up time and space to forge connections integral to who you are now. Remember how friendly you were toward strangers on your floor freshman year? Drum up some of that extroverted bravery and apply it to signing up for a recreational sports league solo or asking a new coworker to join you for happy hour.
Whether you're dealing with layoffs, burnout, or simply itching for something more than what your current job has to offer, shifting careers requires a hefty dose of courage. To keep natural panic in check, remember that it's totally normal to change up your job in this day and age. In fact, the average millennial only stays at a position for three years, so a little bit of career hopping is not about to make you forever unhirable.
For those thinking about giving notice, but not yet ready to pull the trigger, Brofman suggests taking some time to really consider why the job, or even the industry, isn't working for you. Are you less than enthusiastic about your potential trajectory? Is the type of work a poor match for your skills or personality type? Simply verbalizing — or jotting down — why you're ready to move on can help bolster your nerve to set out in a new direction.
Once you're ready to start looking for something new, use the findings from your reflections to narrow your job search. Going into an interview knowing that you're a prime candidate — thanks to only applying to positions that mesh with your passions — ups the odds you'll land a new gig you love.
By now, you've probably figured out first-hand that it's nearly impossible to avoid a handful of painful breakups in your twenties. While these are anything but fun, they do help us figure out exactly what we're looking for — and trying to avoid — in our next partner.
After spending as much time as you need in post-breakup mope mode (we suggest a slew of friend dates and a strictly enforced social-media ban), Brofman recommends considering your former relationship, sans the love goggles we all wear when we're coupled up. What qualities in that partner did you respond well to? What patterns can you avoid in the future?
Dating is in no way, shape, or form easy, but being armed with knowledge and experience about what does and doesn't work for you is like having a running start when you reactivate your dating apps and start nagging pals to intro you to new prospects.
As kids, our parents are essentially superheroes, not humans. Once we enter adulthood and experience the personal and intellectual growth that comes with it, however, we gain the capacity to understand their struggles and their flaws.
If that makes you feel weird, don't fret. "It's normal to be a little uneasy about the idea of our parents as real humans," says Brofman. "But we must keep in mind that these relationships will continue to shift over our lifespan as we become parents ourselves and our parents grow older."
Feeling a bit shaken by this? Check in with your friends — they're likely experiencing something similar. Reach out to your parents, as well, and establish a regular FaceTime date. Even if you can't see each other in person as often as you would like, this will open the lines of communication and allow you to ease into getting to know each other in fresh ways. Yes, you might lose your "superheroes," but you stand to gain two important, life-long relationships.