What we talk about in our twenties


Over the weekend, I had an interesting chat about chatting.

What we talk about with others.

How we handle social situations.

I’ll admit to getting a little anxious in big groups, and sometimes I feel like I have “nothing to say” — or nothing interesting to say, anyway. Because I write a personal newspaper column, most of my “good” stories become fodder for my work. It may not seem tough to write a measly 450 words twice a week, y’all, but trust me: it gets challenging.

Sometimes I sit around in my pajamas and eat cookie butter out of a jar. Other times Spencer and I watch “Manhattan” and surf eBay and hang around drinking coffee, then do some laundry or pull weeds or whatever. All necessary tasks — but not exactly compelling.

When my sister and I had the chaos of planning two weddings last year, we always had something to talk about. Joint bridal planning is a unique brand of chaos that provided constant conversation with everyone we knew for a solid year, and I’ll be darned if I didn’t milk that for all it was worth.

(I did. I know I did.)

Regarding social occasions, I find that so much we want to share with others — IRL, if you will — has already been “shared” elsewhere. We post photos of vacations on Facebook; share milestones on Twitter; Instagram the heck out of an awesome meal. By the time we actually see someone, they’re well aware of what we’ve been doing and eating and thinking about.

For me, there’s another component: because I blog. And beyond that, friends may read my column and have already “heard” everything cool going on in my world.

I’ve gotten kind of used to this. It is what it is. The fact of the matter is, you know, I’m kind of boring; I only do so many “interesting” things in a day. And when I get together with folks I haven’t seen in a while, there aren’t always that many fascinating anecdotes to relay.

And that’s okay. It doesn’t matter.

Because sometimes? It’s enough to just be together. Without iPhones, without Facebook, without Gchat. It’s enough to sit and drink a cold beer on a friend’s new deck and blow bubbles with a 3-year-old and all watch the sun go down. To brush mosquitoes away from each other’s legs, hold up a beer and mouth “Another?” and laugh about silliness from five years ago — because we can.

Sunset II

I haven’t had a large crew of friends since high school, back when we bonded through theatre in the way that only in-the-trenches teens can. As an adult, I was folded into a large group of friends via my brother-in-law and sister — and my husband was been welcomed, too. I’m so grateful for all of them.

Maybe our conversations are about work, or houses, or children . . . maybe a little travel, if we’re lucky, or movies we’ve seen. Plans we have. Food we’ve made. Or money because, you know, we all only have so much of it; budgeting has become a common talking point.

I’ve learned from them. Been comforted by them. And even if it’s not all groundbreaking stuff, it’s more than enough for a group of twenty-somethings who have ushered in many life phases together. Though I didn’t meet the crew until we were all out of college and making our young way into the world, I’ve known them all longer than I’ve known my own husband.

It’s good, really — to look out at a porch now filled with newborns and toddlers, friends who have moved away and come back, those of us who have coupled up and married and now throw bashes in new spaces. We can’t all get together without mentioning how “things have changed,” often jokingly and innocently . . . because they have. Change is everywhere. It fills the cracks of every conversation.

But that change feels good, too — solid, real, reassuring. As we enter different phases at different times, we lend support and camaraderie. One couple actually bought their house the day before we did, and we’ve bonded over unpacking and adulthood in new ways.

Things change. Things stay the same.

And when we talk, we make the words matter.


79 thoughts on “What we talk about in our twenties

  1. Lovely post Meg, and beautifully written! My gatherings with friends sound very similar to yours, and casual gatherings catching up are my very favorite moments. Glad you have a group like that, where you can always pick up where you left off. And also, sometimes no news is good news! Enjoy the time when nothing earth-shattering is going on :).

    • Excellent point, Jenn — and we’ve certainly gone through periods where we had way too much happening, and none of it good. Last year alone, this same group gathered around following a death in the family and were the last ones to leave my sister’s wedding and my own — because they were helping us clean and organize. In their dress clothes. After partying all day. I told my sis over and over, “See these people? These are your people.”

  2. Thankfully most of my friends don’t read my blog, so we seem to have plenty to talk about when we see each other! Making the words matter is definitely important, though, especially as we get older and always seem to have less time to spend together!

  3. Loved the way you penned this. Indeed, the easy camaraderie we share with some people is worth pursuing and protecting from being jaded over time. Making words matter, of course, is extremely important. πŸ™‚

  4. Love this, Meg. And so interesting what you say about being in tune to other’s worlds through social media, there’s some fragility to that…I, too, crave being together, real conversation, real people, real words that matter.

    • Fragility is such an interesting word, Melissa — not one I would have come up with on my own, but you’re absolutely right!

  5. And that’s what’s nice about being together…the comfortness of it and even the talking about new stuff that goes along with growth and change!

    • Definitely, Patty — it’s fun to reminisce and talk about the here-and-now, something that we can’t do in the same way through social media. πŸ™‚

  6. This was a lovely post! My friend + I were just chatting about this same thing the other day. We met when I was 19, so now almost 10 years later, our conversations have changed so much through the years. We used to talk for hours about boys + make-up, and now our conversations wiggle around her kids, homeschooling, what’s growing in the garden, and what creative hobby we’re into. Life certainly changes + curbs many conversations over the years, but like you — I think there is beauty, comfort + happiness in the ordinary moments + conversations. There’s a magic in being able to watch the sunset with happiness in your heart, without having to fill every second with a new thought or chat. Beautiful thoughts + pictures here, Meg!

    • Thank you, Caitlin — and I’m glad you relate! It’s fun to see the natural evolution of our relationships, and I can only imagine all that’s to come.

  7. I had one of those moments last weekend where I felt really old and married. Which is stupid because the people I were with were older than me, and also another is in a very serious relationship despite rings and vows and things. But I just felt so uninteresting, like I didn’t have anything to contribute to the conversation and I felt like fleeing. This is weird for me. I’m super social, I always have a lot to say, and while I did leave early, I went home and fretted all weekend about friends in groups and making new friends and if anything is actually wrong with me. AH. This is a total tangent form your post, I know. I love that you have folded into a group and you have people to talk to about those things. It seems my new friends are ones I’ve met via internet first & then in real life. Sometimes I wonder about that and then I get insecure because I do have friends from forever too? Does any of this make sense? It’s interesting when you have history vs. new friends who you click with so quickly. It feels the same but it’s not always the same. Still, I am appreciate for these candid moments where I can say whatever I need to and I’m not judged. Those are lovely and make me feel warm inside. ❀ P.S. I love your posts & wish were were closer so we could chat in real life! We'd have tons to say. haha

    • Estelle, I would meet you for coffee and cupcakes in a New York minute! πŸ™‚ I think we have all felt this way — and I certainly have. I tend to feel like I don’t “fit in” with people my age, which is weird? But true. My husband has also been labelled an “old soul” from a young age, but I’m learning to embrace that about myself — and us as a couple. πŸ™‚

      Totally feel you on making friends online and then meeting in real life . . . I have formed so many connections that way. In all honestly, I never feel “lonely” because I have all of YOU here with me. That may sound strange to some, but I know that you are only a tweet or email away . . . and there is so much comfort in that. xo

  8. I’ve always been a loud-mouth who’s a little shy…. weird, right? But once you get my mouth open – about anything… well LOOK OUT.

    • I actually understand perfectly, Sarah! I tend to come across as quiet and serious, but when I’m comfortable and with people I know well? I can be a stone-cold mess! And a total chatterbox. We all wear many hats and are many things to many people, eh? πŸ˜‰

  9. Beautiful. I often clam up in big groups. I want to leave and go home to snuggle up with a book in bed. But I often find that if I push myself to share and to engage, I find connection. It’s hard for me but worth it.

    • I know that feeling quite well, Monet, and completely relate! Though I often feel nervous heading into social situations, I never regret pushing myself to put down that book and really connect. πŸ™‚ It’s funny because my sister, brother-in-law and husband are all totally “people people” who thrive in social settings, and I’m the oddball biting her nails like a weirdo. But I am getting better. πŸ™‚

  10. This is a beautifully worded post. I completely agree most times it’s just about being together.. and even sometimes when you think you have nothing to say, or have “said it all” to certain friends, being together can still spark hours of important conversation.

  11. I totally get what you mean. Sometimes it can feel like there aren’t that many interesting things to talk about. But when I started my Five Things for Friday, I was amazed that I am almost always able to think of 5 interesting things from my week. It’s been a great practice in finding fun moments in the everyday. I do have to write them down throughout the week so I don’t forget by the time Friday runs around, but there is always something!

  12. Megan, hi! I’m also Megan (25). I also love cupcakes, writing and travelling πŸ˜‰ This is beautifully written, I look forward to reading more of your lovely thoughts.

  13. Loved this post. I can relate so much to it. I got married last year and a couple who forms part of our group of friends also did about a month later and after all of the wedding chaos was over and especially after the moving was done, it felt like we’d have less to talk about with everyone. We do have less to talk about but it’s true that it feels better, more stable and I think we’ve learned to enjoy this stage in our lives as well.

  14. Thanks for the good read! I am 21 years old and will be entering my senior in college in a couple weeks. My friend group has definitely changed, including the things we talk about. I liked how you described that “it’s okay” to sit on a porch and blow bubbles with a child, and slapping mosquitos on each other’s legs. I feel that it’s important to appreciate the little things in life, because they are often the big things we don’t realize.

  15. Someone with 20,000 blog followers clearly has a great deal to say that people consider worth hearing. And what it takes to put these things in writing is exactly those quiet moments and “unimportant” conversations. But I think you already know that. And I hope you will continue to know that even when change is neither solid nor reassuring. Because it will still be true.

  16. it is interesing the things we talk about and to actually think about the things we talk about. Mine right now are Travel, Moving country, Food, Going out and gossiping about other friends

  17. Hi , it’s awesome to see your blog in freshly pressed , so happy for you . As always I enjoyed reading your writings. That’s exactly my situation , writing keep satisfying me … May we don’t have much to say in from of others , but a lot in our silent.
    Invite everyone to my blog : wwww.asilentashout.wordpress.com
    Let the words talk to you …
    See you all there…

  18. Hopefully, there is also room in your circle for those you knew when you were younger and who have taken different life paths than you have, either by chance or by choice. Those who are still single, can’t afford to buy a house, maybe even have found themselves unemployed. Please don’t forget to be inclusive of those who most need your support.

    Very well written post and congrats on being FP’d!

  19. Your words are beautiful, as are your photos. Time and change are incredible things – not always positive, but always consistent. It’s really the small things that count, isn’t it πŸ™‚

  20. This was a soothing post. Agree that the little things in life matter. The everyday moments are just as precious. I felt you spoke much truth about my own life. Thanks for sharing.

  21. I’ve really enjoyed reading your post. So much can related to my experiences as well. There were things that i’ve reluctantly accepted about changes in friendship and career goals when passing through early twenties to mid twenties. Your last words on this post certainly grabbed my mind and leave this comment.

  22. I’m 21 and I loved this post, towards the end it made me feel warm and positive things that are to come in the future. πŸ™‚

  23. Good stuff, Meg. I have my best friend since high school here this weekend and it is reassuring that some things just feel right, no matter how much our lives change.

  24. Very perspective post….reminded me of my friends while reading, and reminded me to drop in a hi to them….talking and leting it out is such an important part of life….and ur blog just reinforced that!
    That you for reminding me to be in toucn with friends, old and new, lovely post!!

  25. The title of your post made me ask myself what I spoke about in my 20’s compared to how I chat now. I suppose I usually thought about how age can effect you physically but it was interesting to think outside this ‘box’. In our 20’s we talked about how our jobs would get better/unsuitable boyfriends/how we were going to change the world. Now in our 40’s we reminisce about our 20’s and discuss the same subjects! Our current ups and downs can be a little more serious but with the bonus of our life experiences we offer each other slightly more sensible solutions now. In our 20’s some things were solved with a drink or two, or another romance! With newer friends there is less to reminisce about (depending on how long you’ve known each other) but conversations can often be lighter, occasionally even less fulfilling. Good friends who share your history are precious. So, what different things do we talk about now? Ask me the same question in another 20 years.

  26. I finally figured out how to log back into my WordPress account, so YAY! I can comment again! And I have missed you Meg!

    So, first, love the new design. Second, you’re the second person in a week to mention cookie butter and I’m beyond intrigued.

    And, as for this post, I loved it. It’s incredible that the more things change, the more they stay the same.

  27. Beautifully stated!!! It’s nice to think that in a couple of years, I can relax and enjoy what you have described! I do agree and feel like social networking does remove a certain excitement from conversation, but it also offers the user a way to get instant gratification when they have important and exciting news to share. The question is do the pros outweigh the cons.

  28. I love your post. It’s well worded and thoughtful. I can relate to the whole biting nails thing, etc. Social media definitely makes the world a little too small sometimes.

  29. Great post but this is where everything you have to say is about or related to your kids and you realise to your horror that it’s all you ever talk about or write about but that’s because they take up so much of your time, bring your greatest challenges and frustrations and your greatest joys, this is where life stops being about you for a while and you turn into a gushing parent like it or not. They provide a wealth of new material.

  30. Very true. The older you get, the less time you have to chat. And when you do find time, every word and moment matters. Even the trivial issues are discussed in the serious sense. Adulthood may not be all fun but it is an experience worth having.

  31. A great blog! Loved reading it! Well yes things change and they remain same. Words matter. I might burst out in flames while writing something like this on my blog. You got the courage! Thanks to write it up.

  32. In my twenties, it was about education, partying, and…more partying. Now, its about family, education (getting doctorate), and sometimes friends come into the picture. Life changes so fast when your twenties are a few year behind you. Sometimes I wonder, what is my purpose in life now? great article!

  33. I am in my twenties now, my early twenties, 22 to be exact, and your post couldn’t ring truer! So much is going on amidst so much uncertainty that sometimes it is hard to slow down and really think about it.

    I’m only one week into the first semester of my M.A. course (English Literature, what else!) and things couldn’t be more hectic. I can only hope and pray the things I love most–reading and writing–don’t get shoved into the backseat.

    Thank you for this insightful post. I’m stoked; I’ve become your latest follower!

  34. I’m so glad I came across this post. Totally get what you’ve put across. The other night I was chatting with an old friend of mine and though we stay abreast of each others social feeds, we had so much to talk about. And it all mattered πŸ™‚ just chatting endlessly…life et al.

  35. The topics will evolve over time. I look back in my twenties and I find myself rather amused at what kind of issues my friends and I had back then. Thank you for this post. It’s like I travelled back through time. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

  36. Love this!!! Great post πŸ™‚

    “To brush mosquitoes away from each other’s legs, hold up a beer and mouth β€œAnother?” and laugh about silliness from five years ago β€” because we can.”

  37. Great post. It reminds me of the days when I was in my 20’s and living on my own in San Francisco blowing around the city… renting one small room to another across the peninsula. I used to frequent a coffee shop where my favorite conversations came from a long list of colorful characters: an cigar smoking, ex-chess champ who wore two baseball caps at the same time, a gay male nurse who once applied for a job with the FBI, an autistic Korean man that had a photographic memory, and a comical Buddhist man from Singapore (all middle aged). You can only imagine the crazy conversations I was lucky enough to have with these men. It was a relief from the banal conversations with my 20’s-something friends back in San Diego. But it was my Buddhist friend who taught me the value of words….and that sometimes silence is the most interesting conversation. Love your work. Keep posting!

  38. lovely post. though i don’t have a lot of friends and i’m still in my 20s, it feels grt to get together to talk about how far we’ve come and where we’re going…

  39. I really enjoyed reading this. Although I totally resonate with “It’s enough to just be together” (again, that’s so right!) there is something special about telling a story by spoken word. If they’ve read it before, maybe that’s just… okay. When you retell a story impromptu, little details are added or dropped that weren’t in your article, and your listening friends could both appreciate the story more, and you, as you, more too. Just a thought. πŸ™‚

  40. Loved this post! It’s so spot on. I am a college senior who’s getting married next year and it’s so easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of wedding planning, classes, internships, and “what you’re going to do with your life”. It’s seriously the best times just sitting and breathing in the moment of watching a sunset with my fiance or drinking coffee in the mornings with my parents when I visit for the weekend. I’m new to blogging but could see what you mean about there not being anything to chat about because everybody basically already knows what’s been going on.

  41. I truly enjoyed reading your post. It made me think how we tend to use our social media almost like our “second life” to which we sometimes pay more attention than needed.I also thought how pleasant it is to be accompanied by someone to do nothing with, without feeling uncomfortable by the void. As an introvert (or selectively social person), I dislike feeling obligated to participate in a group conversation by talking when I am content participating by listening.

  42. It was very interesting Megan, but I got a real big problem with your text. *What is it? Suspense…*

    I’m young. I’m desperately young. I’m, in fact, So young that I only understand your speech as a “I-am-old-enough-to-talk-about-the-past” speech, and I’m Just asking to myself: “Hey, Ad *It’s my name* What are you talking about with your friends?” and the answer is something like: “nothing more interesting than music and mangas”. So, I want to ask:

    What were the topics you used when you was young?

    I Just want to know if the topics of my crew will change, or if they always will be futilities.

  43. Pingback: For the times they are a-changin’ | Breakfast With Bentley

  44. I wonder if by reading this I’m actually reading a future blog post I’ll write when you’re age. I’m still in college. Just about to completely forget some traces of high school memories and immersing myself in the real world.

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