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How To Make (and Keep!) Friends As An Adult

adult friendship

Photo by Womanizer WOW Tech on Unsplash

I think we can all agree that making new friends is one of the most stressful experiences an adult can have! As we age, friendships can take a backseat to families, intimate relationships, work, or even caring for others. Yet humans are hard-wired for connection and intimacy and to feel we belong with others. Creating space for friendships can have huge improvements on life!

Are Friends Important?

A study by Kara Takasaki showed that people who have at least two close relationships with someone that wasn’t their spouse allowed them to have a higher quality of life regardless of other relationships, versus someone who did was likely to consider their happiness dependent on the relationship with their spouse or intimate partner. She noted that many participants in the study felt that friendships were just as durable as family relationships and offered “multiple perspectives, opportunities for individual growth, access to resources, social capital, and diverse compatibilities to meet the individual needs” that partners cannot. Having a balance in our support system can be helpful and encourage us to make hard decisions with less guilt.

In her same study, Takasaki notes that many “wished they still had access to a unique environment, like college, where they could easily establish social networks and long-lasting friendships”. There is difficulty in finding people who represent ourselves in the ways we are looking for when a natural environment no longer exists! 

How Can I Make Friends?

Remember, you don’t need to be friends with everyone to have a meaningful life. A few close friends that really support and connect with you are more than enough. Friendships are about quality, not quantity.

How Can We Make Friendships Last?

You’re going to make mistakes. You might read the situation wrong or share something that may not go over well, and that is okay. Remind yourself that gross feelings will pass and continue putting in the work and meaningful relationships are right around the corner.


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