Maintaining Friendships In Adulthood: It Takes Effort
As adults, in the hierarchy of relationships, sometimes friendships sit at the bottom. Parents, romantic partners, children tend to come first.
As we grow older and enter different areas of our lives like marriage and starting a family, work and family time tend to top our priority list among others.
Sometimes, it can feel hard to maintain the same connection with friends when we’re so bogged down by responsibilities.
Have you ever experienced a conversation where you or a friend claim you both need to meet and catch up but don’t do so until months later? It’s also a common scene in an adult friendship where text messages take days to get a response. Granted, this might not be the case for everyone but if this particular scenario hits home, then you know it’s time to do some adjustments in your friendships. Friendships are unique because unlike family relationships, we choose to enter them. And just like relationships, an effort is necessary when maintaining friendships.
Sure, friendships lack some formal structure. You wouldn’t go months without talking or seeing your significant other, but you might do that with a friend. No black and white rule states how many times you and your friends need to be in touch with each other in a month. But this where it’s tricky because here’s where you need to work to make the friendship strong. It should never just be one-sided.
Here are some reasons why it’s important to keep and maintain friendships as adults.
Birthdays, weddings, graduations, are typically celebrated by people considered friends and family. What’s a birthday celebration without friends? Blessed are the people who have their family members to celebrate momentous occasions with, but it’s also nice to be surrounded by friends who care too. Also, who says anniversaries are only meant for work and romantic relationships? It’s a wonderful thing to be celebrating friendships that have lasted years?
Friendship is part of a healthy lifestyle. Besides family, friends are there to laugh with, cry and have adventures with. That phrase – ‘friends are people who make your problems their problems, just so you don’t have to go through them alone’ is pretty apt. There are things you might feel you can’t share with family members. Friends can be your shoulder to lean on when you go through rough times. Knowing you have people to turn to for company can truly serve as a buffer against hardship.
Friendships add fun into your life many ways! Having solid friendships can have a powerful impact on your physical health too. Lack of social connection may lead to a sedentary lifestyle because too. Maintaining a rich network of friends can help to improve your mood due to spending time with happy and positive people. Having an active social life can help reduce isolation which is a major contributing factor to depression.
If you feel like you’ve been lacking in the friendship department, it’s time to bulk up! Here are some things you can do to strengthen the connection with friends.
Pick up the phone and ask about their well-being, if it’s hard to meet in person.
Show up for people who matter to you – whether it’s for birthdays, funerals. Physical presence makes a huge difference.
Don’t flake out. If you plan to meet up, then go forth with the plan. Don’t cancel last minute just because you don’t feel like hanging out.
Organise gatherings or activities to participate in together.
Keep the communication going. Friendships aren’t static. They require work from both sides.
Let your guard down and be the bigger person in reaching out. Don’t wait around for the other party to come forward. It doesn’t hurt to make the first move.
(Photo credit: Helena Lopes / Unsplash)