All throughout our childhood, we had endless opportunities to meet new people. We had the chance to grow our circle of friends with each new grade, after-school programs, extra-curricular activities, and jobs in our teen years. It was so much easier to say we had large groups of friends because we had the chance to interact with others more frequently. When you become an adult, you start going through this phase of friends suddenly disappearing. Suddenly, you spend more time alone and going out less. Finally, you realize friendships in your 20’s are TOTALLY different from what they were when you were a kid. This week’s blog post is about the lessons I’ve learned about friendships as an adult.
Five Things I’ve Learned About Friendship:
- People have lives. Now that we’re adults, we all have fallen into routines – Work. Gym. Class. Kids. Relationship. Whatever your individual routine is, be understanding that everyone else has one too. The time we used to have is now spent on our own priorities. One of my closest friends only lives 20 minutes away and I see her every 3 weeks, not because we’re not really good friends, but because life happens and our schedules totally differ. If nothing else, it makes the time we do spend together more meaningful.
- You’ve got to be purposeful in making friends. Adult friendships don’t fall out of the sky! Unlike when we were kids, making connections requires effort. If your work life is what consumes you, it is natural that your friends might also be co-workers. However, if you want to meet other people – join a class, volunteer, join a professional network! I’ve recently just joined the Media Woman’s Connect (Shoutout to Tiana and Briana! lol) and in such a short amount of time I’ve gained a such a large group of connections – women I relate to professional AND personally. Though we reside in different states across the country, we are purposeful about coming together to support each other.
- Everyone isn’t your friend. When we were young we were encouraged to “make friends”, but when you’re grown you learn that everyone isn’t supposed to be close to you. There are some people that are just associates and you should be clear about the distinct difference. My parents always said, “If we haven’t met them or you wouldn’t bring them to our house – they aren’t your friend!”
- History never matters. Too often we hold onto friendships with people for the sake of saying they are our “day one”, rather than acknowledging that you’ve out grown the connection with them. Friendships can run their course and you need to be okay with letting them go. You will meet and build new connections with people that will challenge you, grow with you, and support you more than people you’ve known since elementary school.
- Commonalities Matter. At this age, we’ve all found some of our own interests and hobbies, therefore it is easier to spend time with people who are like-minded. No, I’m not saying you shouldn’t have friends that have a variety of interests and different personalities, but those friendships require more effort. If you are a daily gym junkie, you are likely to spend more time with your friend that duals as your gym partner rather than your friend that hates the gym. When you’re a homebody, sometimes it’s hard to catch up with your friends that would rather go to happy hours after work and clubs every weekend.