Friendship is something many of us desire, especially as adults. When you were a child, teen, or even a young adult, it may have been easier to make friends, since you spent most of your time in school. You may have also had a reliable friend circle, but with time and circumstances, your circle may have broken apart. Your best bet is to make new friends, but that’s a lot harder than many think. For some, making new friends as an adult feels nearly impossible.
And by friends, you mean ones with whom you have a genuine relationship – ones that you regularly talk to, and may even visit. Not just social media connections where neither of you messages each other or interacts through a few taps on the screen.
So, why is making true friends so hard as an adult? Here are a few reasons.
The Obvious One: You’re Adults
Perhaps the biggest reason is that you are adults with busy schedules. You might have jobs where the day-to-day schedule may change due to the projects you have going on. You may have families you have to take care of, with little time, energy, or resources to have someone watch the kids in order to allow you to see your friends. Friends who you grew up with move away, or you’ve moved from where you grew up, and it can be harder to reunite beyond a casual conversation on social media.
When you were younger, you had fewer responsibilities (although school may have felt like a large one at the time). It’s unlikely that you share a workplace with your friends, let alone just one. Instead, you probably have coworkers who you have little in common with, and have even less desire to get to know outside of the workplace.
You Seek the Past
Often, it’s hard to find new friends because we are accustomed to the past. You think about the good times you had with your old friends, and you just want that again. Because you tend to be focused on the friends you were raised with (as they likely were your first reference point for friendships), newer friends may never feel the same.
Technology Doesn’t Help Any
Another reason why many adults have such a hard time making and keeping friends is because of technology.
Technology was a lot less prevalent when you were younger, but times have changed dramatically.
With many of our communications over social media being instant and digital, it’s easy to miscommunicate, misinterpret an action, and react brashly. It’s easy for anyone to be cut out of a friendship with the click of a ‘block’ or ‘unfriend’ button, and that’s the end of that.
Social media can also make you feel like you have too many ‘friendships,’ due to connections and a constant feed of information, but you are missing the true personal and deep connection a friendship should have. You may have hundreds or thousands of “friends,” and it’s highly unlikely that you have bonds with all of them. People aren’t meant to have deep, intimate relationships with everyone they know – instead, relationships are more likely formed briefly, then lost and moved on from. A truly satisfying friendship is harder to come by because of how instantaneous and trivial social media has made ‘friendship’ to be.
Forgiving is Hard
Friends are likely to have conflicts. Have you ever squabbled with a friend, been mad at them for a while, but then buried the hatchet and continued on with the friendship? This may have been easy to do as kids, but as you grow older, it can be harder to do.
The quick ability to block or ‘remove’ people from social media makes forgiveness harder because ending the connection is a quicker option. Forgiveness can also be more difficult because as you grow older, you tend to have less patience for people, and thus you may end up severing ties from a friend just for one argument for the sake of saving time and energy.
What Can You Do to Make Lasting Friendships?
If you want to make new friends as an adult, it can be difficult but is doable. Here are some ways you can make some true friendships.
Get Off of Social Media (or Use it Less)
Social media can be a valuable tool to network and meet others, but it can also feel like it destroys friendships at times. Get off of your devices (and your couch) and go to places where people who share your interests may be. Bookstores, comic shops, places of worship, open mic nights, recreational sports leagues and drop-in games can be good places to start.
Don’t Be Afraid to Talk to People
While technology makes communicating easier via text or messaging, don’t underestimate the importance of face-to-face or voice conversation. Try to talk to new people in social situations and be polite and approachable. You may end up having a chat that may lead to a productive and fruitful friendship down the line.
Remember, Friends Will Fight
If you had a fight with a good friend, and the relationship is salvageable, don’t be afraid to talk to them about how you both felt about it, and what can be done moving forward. Many people like to throw the burden of breaking the silence on the other person, but being the bigger person may result in the greatest good for both of you by saving your friendship.
Talk to a Counselor
Finally, if you are having a hard time making or keeping friends, considering talking with a counselor or a therapist. They can help work through this with you and can assist you with exploring and identifying solutions to establish lasting friendships.
This is a featured post by site sponsor Better Help.
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