This debate between friends vs. career tends to have polarized opinions from people on the internet and also people I know.
I focused on my career too much in my early 20s, and I lost friends because I ignored them, I also did the opposite of that for some periods of time before that and even a bit after, and I can tell you that happiness is somewhere in the middle at least for me.
What helps me now to avoid focusing too much on one aspect of my life is the fact that I consider success as a balance of several plans. Here is what I focus on:
- Having a happy relationship.
- A good financial situation(career+investments).
- Good social life.
- Being in shape and healthy.
- Having enough free time to enjoy life(I don’t work more than 8 hours a day)
Of course, there are rare moments when all of those are great simultaneously, but at least when one is not as great, I know that life isn’t that bad, but rather that plan is not great at the moment, and I have to put more effort in that direction.
However, this is not where the article ends but rather when it starts because I want to talk about what circumstances can affect which one is more important if it’s unavoidable to lose friends while focusing on a career and how you can focus on both.
Friends vs. career – Which one is more important?
You can argue that a career is more important because it gives you a salary that keeps you safe and you can provide for your family, it will be with you all the time, you spend most of your time at work and so on.
However, ending up with a good career but without any friends is tough. It might make you less happy than other people with a worse career but many friends.
That being said, the worst part is that losing your friends because you focus too much on your career doesn’t guarantee that you will have a better career than someone who doesn’t.
Many people lose their friends and have a hard time making new ones in their 20s, not because this is the only way to end up with a better career but rather because they don’t know how to work efficiently and do not spend more time than necessary at work.
I know so many people that are always stressed about work, even when they are with their friends, not at work. Of course, this is a sure way to distance your friends, but is it necessary?
The bad part is that it also doesn’t help them to get promoted or have a better career.
Knowing how to make the best of every moment is the key. When you are at work, focus 100% there, don’t chat with friends, and spend time on social media. Also, when you are with friends, be 100% there and have a good time, and ignore work problems, you can’t solve them anyway.
Read Also: 5 Reasons Parents Care About Kids’ Grades
Are you supposed to lose friends because of your career?
It is not necessary, but it happens for most of us, especially in the beginning when we don’t know how to manage our career and everything work related seems more important than friends.
However, if you realize that and you start to make a conscious effort not to lose your friends, you can have both. It is a bit hard because your friends will most likely focus more on careers as well.
It is very important to be the one with initiative if you want to keep your friends, especially in our 20s and 30s when friendships are not as important as career and relationships for many people. We also take friends for granted because we had an easy time making new friends in high school and even college.
What I noticed is that people in their 30s that have a good social life are the ones that also call their friends first, you might want to be careful with that to not end up in a one-sided friendship, but if your friends are happy to accept your invitations and they actually enjoy that, there is no problem in being the first one that calls.
You just have to understand that those are pretty busy years, and people don’t focus as much on keeping or making new friends, and that’s all in many cases. I don’t say that this is ok but it is what it is, and you can’t control other people, all you can control is what you do about that.
What can you do to have good friendships and a good career?
The first thing is to realize that you must prioritize both of them for this to work and make an intentional effort in both directions.
The second thing is to manage your time better. We often don’t have time for friends because, aside from work, we also spend time on social media, watching videos, playing video games, and so on. So, time management is crucial when it comes to having a good social life and a good career.
The last thing is to have the initiative, as I said before, you should not let your ego come in your way when it comes to friendships. The fact that some of them don’t have the initiative might have nothing to do with you but rather with them and how they manage their time.
You calling and asking them to hang out with you will make them prioritize their time better and put this into their agenda. Yes, it doesn’t sound good, but this is how we see our friends when we have a busy life.
Read Also: 5 Reasons We Lose Friends As We Get Older
Both of them are important, and one does not exclude the other, so you can have good friends and also a successful career at the same time.
I hope this article helped you understand that this topic is more nuanced than it seems and also gave you an idea about what you can do to not lose friends while focusing on your career.