Why we "click" with only certain people

When I consider my closest friendships, I always ask one thing:  Would we have clicked in the same way had we met a year later?  Five years later? Ten years after?

Chances are, we would not.

The reasons why we gel more with certain people are almost self-explanatory.

In general, most of our friends are close to us in age. It's not at all surprising given we probably met them in school or doing some activity that people in our age bracket might enjoy.

I met my closest friends in different stages of my life: one in elementary school, one in middle school, one in high school, one in college, and one at my second job out of college.

Three of them are single guys with no kids, while the other two -- the best man at my wedding and a female coworker I recently addressed in a prior post -- are married with children. Can you guess which of these friends I see and talk to more?

Indeed, my friendships with these two latter friends has changed drastically since they became parents. Luckily, though, I'm able to see them once or twice a year for a birthday party or other special occasion.

If I had met these two now, however, my relationship with them would be markedly different. For example, the female coworker is mostly hanging out these days with other fellow moms, whereas five years ago she'd be game for anything from ballgames to concerts with my wife and I.

Because we have drastically different lifestyles, we just wouldn't click like we did five years ago if we were to meet now for the very first time.

As for the best man, our friendship almost came to an end a few years back because we had trouble reconciling our very different lives. I wanted to continue our routine of playing basketball and shooting pool; he wanted me to join him and his wife and kids on family-friendly outings to water parks and kids' playgrounds.

Thankfully, we learned to accept that we are in different life stages and don't have to like the same things. From then on, we've limited our outings only to neutral locales like malls and restaurants.

Sometimes I miss how my friendships with them used to be prior to their getting married. Now they have different interests and priorities. The things that might have made them laugh five years ago tend to fall flat these days.

But I have to accept that kids are a game changer. I know I'll learn this firsthand if/when my wife and I have kids of our own. It's all about adapting to a new reality.

I'm always interested in reconnecting with old friends who are in the same stage as my wife and I, or meeting new ones. I hope to do so in future jobs or even in the master's program I'm considering enrolling in.

Isn't life funny? The people you call close friends one day might become total strangers in the future. Because of changing lifestyles and circumstances, people are constantly streaming in and out of our lives.

It really makes you wonder who we'll call our close friends toward the end of our lives.

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