It’s easy to be friends when everyone’s 18. It gets harder the older you get, as you make different life choices.
Think back to your earliest memories with friends.
Did things feel… simpler? More complicated?
Whatever your social life has looked like over the years, one thing’s certain:
Adult friendships are their own thing!
Continuing our new series on friendship, today we’re debunking 3 adult friendship myths:
1. The more, the merrier.
If a few friends are good, then a LOT of friends must be even better… right? Not necessarily. While it’s not uncommon to surround ourselves with large circles of friends during childhood and adolescence, it’s the quality of those relationships that seems to matter more as we enter adulthood. Even a few close friendships can help promote emotional wellness, happiness, and a sense of connectedness to the world around us.
- Who in my life do I feel closest to right now?
- Why do I feel this way about these friendships in particular?
- How can I continue to cultivate these friendships over time?
2. The best friendships last forever.
Of all the adult friendship myths out there, this one likely accounts for much of the frustration, disappointment, and loss we experience in our social lives. While it’s true that some friendships span decades, many others last for just a few years, months, or even weeks. It’s absolutely natural for some friends to grow apart over time as their identities continue to evolve, especially in adulthood. Again, the emphasis is on the quality of these relationships: Genuine connection and meaning can be found in “short” friendships, while it’s also entirely possible for some long-term friendships to lack the same level of intimacy.
- Which friendships have meant the most to me over the years?
- Why were they so meaningful to me?
- Is there anyone from my past who I’d like to reconnect with? Any current friendships I may wish to let go of?
3. All friendships are created equal.
From fond memories of your “squad” of college buddies to the sting of envy you might feel observing others’ friendships, the belief that all friendships are equal is simply untrue. As we grow and change, our needs often shift, as well. And this evolution influences our choice of friends, whether we realize it or not. Relocation, partnership, schedule demands, parenthood… there are so many factors driving our social needs as adults. Most adults actually have a variety of friendship types, from close confidant to casual acquaintance. The key to enjoying each friendship for what it is? Managing our expectations.
- What are my expectations of my friends? What might they expect from me?
- Where are there opportunities to adjust my expectations of my various friendships?
- How might it feel to allow my friendships to exist independently from one another, rather than comparing them?
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