Making friends used to be so easy. In school and college, you were surrounded by diverse, interesting people of your own age. It was natural. But as an adult, as we all splinter into our own careers and families and goals, it’s a lot harder to find your tribe. Sometimes the struggle can leave you feeling lonely and adrift, especially challenging during the rigors of adulthood.
But all is not lost. Here are some tips for maintaining this precious commodity: adult friendships.
As many of us become parents or serious professionals, maintaining friendships can feel like a chore. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing: you schedule time for chores, for work, for the gym. Friendships should be treated as part of your schedule. Keeping appointments for lunch dates, the occasional weekend getaway may feel clinical, but it’s also effective.
With social media, it’s also important to reach out to friends who live further away. Make a point to check in regularly with old college or childhood friends.
As adulthood takes more of your time, be selective with who you invest your time in. Have rigorous criteria for your friendships. Don’t feel obligated to hang out with someone: do so because you enjoy their company, have a shared activity, or feel a spark. This may sound obvious, but it’s shockingly easy to fall into boring or even unhealthy friendships just because of the need to have friends.
Following that, just because someone isn’t your new BFF doesn’t mean they have to be a stranger. Different friends serve different purposes. Maybe you and a coworker have nothing in common, but understand each other’s career struggles. Maybe you have a buddy to watch basketball with, even though conversation outside of that can be awkward. If you and a friend fill niches in each other’s lives – even if that niche is small – nurture that. It’s good for both of you.
Are depression, anxiety, or other mental health issues getting in the way of your friendships? Azevedo Family Psychology can help! Cognitive behavioral therapy is a great way to change unhelpful thought patterns and reshape your life for the better. Contact us today, and let’s get started.