How to Deal When a Friend Matures Faster Than You
At the end of every year, you probably look back and think about how much you've changed. Would you even recognize yourself from three years ago? Probably not. As a teen, our bodies and attitudes rapidly grow and change. But you know what else is changing? Your sense of self.
What you once found fun might now seem childish and boring. You've gotten used to clear objectives that you typically overcome with your classmates—moving on to the next grade, not having a homeroom anymore and so on. But, at some point, some of your classmates or even close friends, might go through various life stages on a timeline different from yours.
So, how do you deal? Let's break it down, scenario by scenario.
If they start dating:
If your friend starts crushing on someone and confiding in you about their new love interest, what are you supposed to say? With no experience in the world of dating, are they actually expecting you to give advice, or to just nod, smile and listen?
Unless they're specifically asking you for advice, don't feel the need to give any relationship feedback. If they start talking about something that makes you uncomfortable (making out, for example) let them know!
If they get a job:
When a friend of yours gets a job, they're not going to have as much free time to hang out. If they work somewhere you can visit, like a restaurant or movie theatre, grab a group of friends and surprise them. As long as you behave, they'll be thrilled to see you.
They'll also start to get paychecks, something exciting and alien to them. They might start suggesting more expensive things to do together, like eating out, going to a concert or more shopping. If you're not comfortable with it (or, let's be honest, jealous), tell them. They'll be more understanding than you think.
If they start going to parties:
It's bound to happen—one of your friends will be the first to start going to parties. They'll become more social and expand their friend group—but where does that leave you?
If you want to go to parties but your parents won't let you, find other fun activities to fill up your time. Hang out with some of your other friends and go shopping, see a movie, grab dinner or have a night in.
If you don't yet feel ready to go to parties and your friend is pressuring you to join, let them know you're not interested in going. If they insist, tell them you feel uncomfortable and to not bring it up again. They should understand where you're coming from, and if not, you're the mature one in the friendship.
If they get their driver's license:
Chances are, you're not the first out of your whole friend group to get their license, so how do you deal with the friend who won't stop talking about their newfound motorized freedom?
First, let them know you're happy for them and can't wait to be in the same position. Second, tell them how it makes you feel. Does it seem like they're rubbing it in your face? Have they stopped hanging out with you so that they can go off and do other things? Whatever the case may be, the solution is to have a candid conversation.
If they start hanging out with people in college:
Some of your friends might feel comfortable hanging out with people who are older than them. If you're not one of those people, you're not alone. Spending time with college students when you're still in high school is super intimidating.
They might not live at home anymore and are experiencing real freedom for the first time. You might not know what to talk about with them or you simply don't share any common interests. Don't feel pressured to spend time with them; let your friend know you'll catch up with them later and that you're cool with them hanging out with other people—you just don't want to be there when they're with them.
If they start seeing R-rated movies:
While the policy at movie theaters clearly states that you have to be 17 or older to see an R-rated movie without an adult, some teens see them at a younger age with a parent's permission. If your parents want you to wait until you're 17, or you don't think you're ready for that kind of fare at the theater, you're not alone. Do what's right for you.
Skipping out on a few nights at the movies is no biggie. Either watch something else that's more up your alley, or ask if your friend is open to seeing something PG-13. If your friend respects you, they'll be compassionate and compromise.
Can't seem to get along with your more mature friends anymore? HERE'S what to do when you've outgrown a friend group.