Close your eyes and think back to the best moments of your youth—a lot of them probably involve sleepovers with your best friends growing up, right? From big sleepover parties that involved multiple pizzas and dozens of sleeping bags on the living room floor to the one-on-one BFF moments where you stayed up all night whispering about inside jokes, sleepovers defined so much of our time from childhood to young adulthood… and then, well, we grew up.
Now that we’re older, the vibe of hanging out with friends somehow changed from sleepovers to catching up over drinks or dinner or lunch or brunch. And even when you do invite friends over to your place, it’s for just a few hours for a party or a meal or to watch a TV show premiere, and then everyone goes home. But when did we decide that sleepovers were only for middle schoolers?
Maybe when you become an adult you shed the braces and upgrade your not-as-cute-as-you-thought-it-was crimped hair and grow out of your favorite ladybug print pajama set from Limited Too (note: I’m describing myself as a tween so I hope you can relate or this is just embarrassing), but I don’t think you ever become too old to have sleepovers with your best friends.
Here’s what I know: Sleepovers, much like pop music and anything else associated with teen girls, are often dismissed as something childish, but that’s trivializing something that’s actually really important. Those late nights staying up in your pajamas are much deeper than they appear on the surface—they’re about bonding and establishing intimacy in your friendships.
Sure, you can bond and get close with your friends over coffee dates, but there’s something special about being your most honest, pure and sleepy self with someone that really cements a friendship. It’s why losing your childhood friends often stings so much more than when your adult friends come in and out of your life—you may have been giggling together over boy bands and playing Dream Phone with zit cream on your face, but in doing so, you were forging a bond that felt unbreakable.
I’m approaching 27 and I still have sleepovers regularly, sometimes out of necessity (like when I’m traveling to visit long-distance friends, or they’re coming to visit me), but mostly just because it means I can spend more time with friends I wouldn’t otherwise get the chance to. One of my closest friends lives about an hour away, for example, so our hangouts almost always end in a sleepover—and the traditional morning trip to get bagels, of course. But even for the friends who live 15 minutes away and don’t require a trek to see, sometimes a sleepover is what you really need.
Some of the best nights of my life have been impromptu sleepovers after a late night out, or even the times I’ve ventured over to a friend’s apartment last-minute, toothbrush-in-hand because they had a bad day and didn’t want to be alone. That kind of closeness is something I wouldn’t trade for the world. And don’t get me wrong, I love catching up with my friends over brunch at our favorite restaurants and running into them at different parties and events, but honestly, nothing compares to a night in in sweats with a pizza, a bottle of wine, and 2 AM memories to be made.
So, if you haven’t had a sleepover since you graduated high school, consider this your permission slip—don’t worry, I promise you don’t have to turn in your “adult” card (besides, you’ll be having too much fun to care, anyway).