dulthood changes the circumstances of life as we progress. If you went to college, maybe you moved out of town for your new job. Or your school friends have all seemed to move away to different places. If you didn’t go to college, you may have chosen an alternative route such as trade school. Either way, as we grow older we can’t expect things to always stay the same. This includes our relationships like friendships.
Like many things in life, friendships come and go. We’re happy to create new friendships, and we can also have mixed feelings about losing friendships we’ve had. Sometimes it is for the best to move on from certain friends, or perhaps we just didn’t put in the right effort to keep the friendship intact. Friends are there to help us through the difficult times and support and celebrate us during the good times.
Here are some key benefits to consider when it comes to having friends:
- Friends increase your purpose in life.
- Friends reduce stress.
- Friends can help to improve your overall self-confidence, self-worth, and self-esteem.
- Friends can get you out of bad habits and encourage better life choices.
- Friends can encourage positive growth and change.
Friendships correlate to our overall health. Having strong social connections as an adult can help reduce a number of health problems. These problems can include depression, high blood pressure, and unhealthy BMI. Studies have even found that older adults who have more meaningful social connections are likely to live longer than those with less connections. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to have a large number of friends, rather the friendships you create should be of good quality. Friends that you can count on to have your back and guide you through thick and thin.
How can I meet new friends?
Think of where you work or what activities you are involved in. Have you met anyone who has stood out to you in some way or have made a good impression? Maybe you had a really good conversation with someone about a favorite TV show, movie, celebrity, musical artist, etc. Either way, pay attention to the people you feel happiest and most comfortable with and surround yourself with them.
Ways to make new friends:
- Attend community events: Look for clubs in your area that are centered around one of your hobbies or interests. Community events are a great way to meet new people and create friendships. We bond best with the people we have things in common with.
- Take up a new hobby: Maybe there has always been a sport you’ve wanted to try but have never gotten the chance to. Or, maybe there’s other hobbies such as sewing, knitting, and art you might want to give a chance. Go out and find a hobby you haven’t tried before! This is a great way to expand your interests and ultimately meet new people.
- Offer and accept invitations: Invite people you work and participate in hobbies with to do things outside of that particular setting. For example, if there has been a coworker at work you’ve been getting along with well recently invite them out to lunch! The same goes the other way around. Say yes when people invite you to do things. I get it, sometimes we second guess ourselves or don’t really feel like hanging out with anyone. However, to show interest in maintaining relationships with people we should take up offers to do things.
- Try out friendship apps: Yes, there are friendship apps out there! Download an app such as Yubo to check it out for yourself. Yubo is a social network that allows you to connect with people based on similar interests. You can chat, play games, live stream, and more.
How to maintain friendships
Instead of being able to make friends initially, maybe you find yourself struggling to maintain good quality friendships. Adulthood is a busy, stressful, and unpredictable time for many of us. In order to maintain friendships, we simply need to take accountability and make a bit more of an effort. A healthy friendship does, however, need to involve BOTH friends doing equal work on part of the friendship. Many times people lose friends because neither person would make the effort to reach out and communicate properly.
Here are some tips in maintaining healthy friendships:
- Show kindness & patience: The world could use some more kindness, and I’m sure some of our friends could as well. I know it’s easy to be the most mean to the people we’re closest to, but treat your friends with kindness! They may be going through battles you have no idea about even though you think you know everything about them. Be patient with them when they are experiencing hard times, and give them space when needed.
- Show them that you care: This shouldn’t be difficult if you truly care about someone, but find simple ways to show your love and appreciation for your friends. Treat them to something special every once in a while, maintain proper communication both over the phone and in person, and don’t be afraid to tell your friends how much you care about them!
- Provide support and honesty: Support your friends in endeavors that are best for them. Give them encouragement when they are taking on new opportunities. While you should support and encourage your friends, you must also remain honest. If they are engaging in actions that are harmful or you know are not good for them, please let them know. Let them know when they are doing wrong and hold them accountable for their actions. This will only be helpful for them in the future!
- Remain trustworthy: People hold on to those they can trust, so if you want to have solid friendships make sure you are someone a friend can trust and rely on. Be dependable, transparent, and keep your commitments.
- Treasure the little things: Real friendships are built on kindness, connectedness, and love for others. Remember and embrace the little things! Truly cherish and enjoy every minute you spend with your friends, and treasure every piece of your friendships including the little things like going out for coffee.
Let go of toxic friendships
Just like relationships, many of us can find ourselves involved in toxic friendships even in adulthood. Maybe it’s a friend we’ve had for a while and have just started to notice some unhealthy behaviors. Signs of a toxic friend can include someone who is overly competitive with you, degrading, prone to gossip, and likely to encourage bad or risky behaviors. Bad friends can impact our entire life and the choices we make.
Some bad friends may even try and steer you away from your good friends. As hard as it may be, the best thing you can do is to simply cut ties with friends you feel aren’t good for you. It may be difficult, especially if you have known them for a while. However, the friendship will just continue to get worse and you will be wasting your time if it continues.
Maintaining healthy relationships in your life has a direct reflection on your self worth. If you love yourself and have confidence in who you are, the people who surround you will reflect that. You may find it difficult to keep friends because you don’t value yourself in a positive way and struggle with self confidence and self esteem. If you want to continue having friends throughout your life, you must do the work in making the best version of you possible. Get yourself out there and out of your comfort zone, and confront those inner demons. Don’t create negative assumptions about how people may respond to you when interacting. Remind yourself of all the likable qualities you possess. Just be yourself and you will attract the right people.
All in all, friends come and go and hopefully the good ones stick around for a little bit longer. It can be difficult to make friends and maintain solid friendships as an adult, but it’s definitely possible. Get out of your comfort zone, get involved with the community, and do the work to maintain the friendships you do have. Treat your friends with the proper love, respect, and attention they deserve! Be sure to set boundaries when needed and keep your friends accountable for their actions as well.