2 Reasons Why You Need To Keep Investing In Your 'Lagfree Friendships'

If it feels like no time has passed whenever you see your bestie, that's a sign that you should keep them close.

Mark Travers, Ph.D.

By Mark Travers, Ph.D. | February 16, 2024

Think about those friends you might not see or speak to for months, or even years, yet when you reconnect, it's as if no time has passed at all. These "lagfree friendships" are a unique and precious kind of relationship, offering comfort and a sense of belonging that withstands the test of time.

It's common for people to gradually lose touch with friends as they transition into adulthood, especially after the age of 25. This shift often results from a combination of factors such as increased work responsibilities, marriage, starting families and evolving personal interests. As lives become busier and more focused on these areas, maintaining the same level of contact with friends can become challenging.

The fear of losing touch with friends is a real concern for many. There's often a worry that taking an unintentional "break" from friends could weaken the bond or lead to a permanent disconnect. This is where the concept of lagfree friendships becomes particularly comforting and valuable.

Here's why some friendships don't erode as a consequence of time and distance.

1. Having Such Friends Can Stabilize Your Self-Concept

Your interactions with others significantly shape and reinforce your sense of self. And, according to a 2021 review published in the International Journal of Adolescence and Youth, a strong self-concept in our teenage years is key to experiencing a sense of balance in our adult lives.

Now, think about your lagfree friend. Were you already close friends in your teenage years? Chances are your friendship can be traced back several years, and it's quite likely you were around for each other's key developmental stages.

Psychologically, our identity is partly constructed through our social interactions and the way others perceive and interact with us. According to a 2018 study published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, your close friends play a unique role in this process.

These enduring friendships feel so core to our identity that we almost instinctively accept them as a permanent part of our lives. This acceptance creates a level of comfort and eliminates the potential awkwardness that might arise in more casual relationships. With lagfree friends, there's an inherent understanding and shared context that doesn't need to be constantly reaffirmed or recalibrated.

2. Such Friends Tend To Be Extremely Reliable

There are some friends you can always count on to help you navigate a tough spot in your life, no matter what. Their reliability stems from the shared history and experiences you've had together. They've seen you at your best and your worst, and they've remained steadfast.

This reliability extends beyond just being there in times of crisis. If you need an opinion on a difficult life decision, you know you are going to get an honest, unfiltered opinion out of them. There's no sugarcoating involved, and you can trust that they have your best interests at heart.

If you need to celebrate a positive life event, they tend to be a part of that as well. In fact, these might be the friends you wish to celebrate a joyous occasion with the most. This unspoken rule that you will be part of each other's core memories makes flitting in and out of each other's lives seem like a minor inconvenience to plan around rather than an awkward chore.

Ultimately, we need to accept that certain friendships will strengthen as we grow older, while others will weaken with time. More often than not, this happens unconsciously. Though unconscious, our willingness and eagerness to include them at every major life event can reveal to us how much we value their friendship. If your friendship with someone is truly lagfree, there's a good chance that it has to do with them being essential to who we think we are today and who we want to be tomorrow.

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