I’ve been banging on a lot about kids friendship lately, but you know this stuff doesn’t just stop at childhood. It becomes something that happens throughout life really, doesn’t it? We make friends, we grow close, shit happens, sometimes we pull through, sometimes we change and grow apart. It’s never really easy to deal with.
For most of us, we love having friends. You know, those like-minded people who just ‘get’ us, who we can talk to about things and make a dick of ourselves around and it’s ok.
As adults, sometimes it can be even harder to make and maintain friendships than when we’re kids. Because there’s so much stuff going on. Moving, changing jobs, going in different directions, family and kids taking over time, and everything else in between.
In adulthood though, we need friends more than ever. To help when the going gets tough, and provide support to deal with… life. And selective hearing exhibited by children and partners. Holy shit, that is a killer. Social connectedness has been proven time and time again to be uber important in overall happiness and wellbeing.
But what if it’s not working out? When we enter into a friendship, is it a binding life-long contract? Can you get a friendship divorce?
While like any relationship, you gotta work at it, there may be a time where it stops being worth it, and the bad outweighs the good. And that’s ok! People change. While you might have been bonded over Take That and scrunchies at one point, you might have changed your tastes and gone with East 17, while your friend is still president of the Take That club and you find that you don’t have the bond that you used to. So we’ve got some options- we either try and resurrect the friendship, see the signs and let it go, and then move on and try to build new friendships. The world is our oyster, clearly.
What can we do to build our friendships? If you think it’s worth saving, there’s a few things you can do:
- Check in. Don’t wait for them to make the first move. If something you see or hear makes you think of them, let them know!
- Be honest about how you’re feeling. Sometimes it’s good to clear the air first, and hear what they have to say before you let the friendship fizzle.
- See the best in them. If they haven’t gotten in touch, or if they’ve been a little aloof, maybe something is going down with them, and it’s not that they’re trying to avoid you?
How do you know when it’s time to let a friendship go?
- When you’re panicked at the thought of calling or hanging out
- You have nothing to say
- Neither you, nor them make an effort to stay in touch
- Or you’re making all the effort and not getting much back
If this is the case, and your gut is telling you it’s time to move on, be open about letting things go, allow yourself some time to grieve, and focus on building new friendships, or fostering ones that you already have.
And one of the hardest questions to ask as an adult? How do I actually go and make new friends? It’s pretty freaking tough. Because we’re all creatures of habit and let’s be honest, this shit is hard! So we can:
- Start off online. Join in with interest groups. If you like photography, search for a local group. If you’re in need of some new mummy friends, there’s alike a gazillion groups on Facebook and the like. Sometimes it’s easier to chat online and forge some bonds before venturing into that scary territory of face to face
- Get out there! If there’s a social event on, give it a go. Join a sporting group. Take an art class. Try new things. New friends aren’t going to come and knock on your door.
- Be open. Sometimes we have an idea of someone already in our minds, but maybe we’ve jumped the gun a bit.
- Make the first move. Maybe ask someone you’ve been chatting to for a bit if they’d like to come and have coffee? Yeah, I know it’s about as smooth as trying to arrange a first date.
And if all else fails? Then it’s not the right time. Chill, and plot the next move. Keep trying. Or you could just binge on Netflix and make friends with all the TV shows on offer. Not that I’ve done that or anything…..
How are your friendships as an adult? Do you have close friends? Or do you struggle to keep a hold of friendships in adulthood?