You know when you’re young and you think you have all these friends and that you’re gonna be besties forever?
Then graduation comes and goes, and one by one your “friends” begin to disappear over the years. People grow up and we go our separate ways in life. That’s just how it is most times. Some friendships just aren’t meant to last forever and that’s okay.
If you’re one of the few people that are still friends with everyone from your childhood/school years, I’d say you’re pretty lucky. Maintaining friendships get harder the older we get but they are still just as important as maintaining romantic relationships.
I’ve been thinking a lot about friendship lately, what it means to me, and also ways I can be a better friend. In my opinion, having friends is extremely important. They’re the ones you can depend on, confide in, have fun, and grow with. If you’re someone who doesn’t have friends at all, that’s honestly a problem. I’m not saying you have to have a whole bunch of friends, 1 to 2 close friends is just fine. It’s all about quality over quantity anyway.
My personal experience with making friends as a kid/teenager.
It was super easy making friends growing up. I don’t know how I did it considering I was so “shy and quiet” but people have always naturally gravitated to me. I guess I been THAT girl, haha. Anyways, in middle school (6th to 8th grade) I had a solid group of girlfriends that I could actually say were my best friends at the time. We hung out after school and did fun things like go bowling, skating, camping, or just hung out at the mall or the library- yes, the library was fun somehow. I wouldn’t consider someone a friend if we didn’t hang out outside of school and if my family didn’t know you. Cause according to my mom, “everyone is not your friend” and she was so right.
Going into high school, me and my best friends from middle school all got split-up in different schools and began to lose touch. I was forced to start over fresh and make new friends which again, was not hard. I literally sat down beside a girl in the cafeteria and we became friends. I think I was also gravitating towards people who were just like me, personality-wise.
I liked the unproblematic people that were nice, goofy, smart, and got their work done. And stayed far away from the ones that were loud, “popular”, and were simply doing too much but at the same time I was likable by everyone. I could talk to anyone, if I really wanted to. And my REAL friends all knew I wasn’t shy and innocent like the majority of people thought. I definitely got caught up in some drama but that’s besides the point. I’m still innocent in God’s eyes 😇.
The downside of being likable was that I attracted too many damn people of the opposite sex. I quickly started to have more male friends and associates, and that wasn’t necessarily always a good thing. It became very annoying. And because of that, as an adult, I do not like having a lot of male friends. One is enough for me because most of the time, they all have ulterior motives and want to be more than friends. Like bro, chill out.
Which leads me to the question of- can women and men have strictly platonic friendships without one of them developing feelings? I’m still on the fence about it. Cause some people will literally friend-zone themselves with hopes of you taking them off the bench at some point like nah, keep that bench warm beloved.
And, Are you okay with your partner having friends of the opposite sex? I’m somewhat okay with it only because I have a male friend of nearly 10 years:
But if I’m really being honest, it does make me feel jealous in some ways. The only problem I have with it is if they’re spending too much ‘one on one’ time together, texting and kee-keeing on the phone all day and night, and calling each “brother” and “sister” knowing damn well they not related. And I don’t know who needs to hear this but: Your EX is not your friend. That’s an automatic turn off for me.
My personal experience with making friends as an adult.
As an adult, I believe it’s harder to maintain friendships than it is to make them because everyone has things going on in their life. We’re working fulltime jobs, we’re taking college courses, some are trying to run or start a business, some have kids, and a whole lot of other responsibilities. It’s hard to keep in touch and hang out as often. Which is why I don’t judge my friendships on who I talk to or see less/more. I know I have my moments where I don’t want to talk to anyone for days so I try to extend that same grace and understanding to others.
I love those friendships where you can go a long time without speaking to each other, and the moment you link back up, the vibes are still the same- maybe even better. Distance makes the heart grow fonder, let me miss you a little bit.
I have met most of my new friends while on-the-job. Which means my coworkers have become my friends but certainly not all them. You see these people 5 days a week, maybe more, so you get to know them pretty well over time. At every job I’ve had in the past 5 years, I’ve made at least one good friend. I feel like once you no longer work with someone, then you can begin to have a stronger friendship. Because being friends while you’re both working together can bring drama. You have to be careful about what you share and talk about while at work.
I feel like most people meet their life-long friends when they go off to college. I never had that 4-year college experience so I missed out on being able to join social groups or a sorority. But maybe there’s still hope for joining an alumnae chapter.
What do I expect from a friend/what do friendships mean to me.
I don’t like to put a lot of expectations and pressure onto people because that leads to disappointment. All I ask for is friends who are supportive, encouraging, has a great sense of humor, reciprocates good positive energy, have good morals and standards, are ambitious, and have something going for themselves.
I want to feel light and safe when I’m around them. If I can’t get drunk around you and know that I’m going to get home safely, you’re not the one.
I don’t see friendships as- only speaking to them when I need something, asking them for money, calling them just to dump all my emotional baggage onto them (it’s okay to vent but there needs to be a limit), or expecting them to always save me and pull me out of dark times. That’s when friendships become a burden and I don’t want myself or any of my friends to feel like that.
Also, I don’t like having friends that as soon as they get into a relationship, they drop all of their friends and start acting brand new. Like why you being weird to me?! Cause when that relationship fails, who you gonna come crying to? Not me boo. Keep that same energy.
What has prevented me from making new friends.
- I’m still learning how to be vulnerable. I don’t think I’m very good at giving advice but I do provide the best hugs, a shoulder to cry on, and a listening ear. It takes me a long time to open up to people if at all, but I’m very emotionally intelligent and empathic.
- I hold grudges like nobodies business. I forgive, but I certainly don’t forget. For example, is it petty that I take remembering birthdays very seriously? If a friend doesn’t say happy birthday to me and we’ve been friends for years AND we’re on good terms, I will most definitely be pissed off and I’ll purposely return the favor on their birthday. I’m not asking for no long heartfelt shout out but it’s the thought that counts. It’s a red flag when your friends don’t remember important dates and events.
- Me being an introvert. This is only a problem when my extroverted friend(s) don’t understand why I don’t feel like going out and/or partying all the time. But all of my friends pretty much understands this now, so I never feel forced to go out.
- Stuck on the past. I always find myself trying to re-kindle old friendships, I have a hard time letting people go if we had history.
- Only Child Syndrome. I need to learn how to share my friends with their other friends without feeling jealous if I’m not invited. And I’m definitely the type of person who always asks: Who all gonna be there? Before I agree to come haha.
How to make new friends as an adult.
- You have to be open and vulnerable. You can’t expect your friend to want to confide in you about what’s going on in their life if you’re constantly being secretive about yours. I like to believe that I’m 100% independent and that I don’t need anyone, but it’s always nice to have somebody in your corner at the end of the day.
- Find hobbies and put yourself out there. There’s nothing like connecting with like-minded people who have similar interests as you. If you love to paint, join a painting class and meet other painters. Don’t be afraid to shoot your friendship shot, I certainly have slid in some DMs and it has pretty much always worked out for me. You can simply start off with a compliment to spark up a conversation. If you’re trying to make friends online: like and comment on their posts (but don’t be creepy with it) or join a Facebook group of your choice.
- Set boundaries just like you would with any other relationship or job.
Navigating various friend groups.
I think it’s possible to have various friend groups. You can have your party friends, your brunch friends, your travel friends, your school friends, your church friends, etc., which is fine but I think that can become a bit too much to maintain. I’d rather have friends that can do it all. Are they really your friend if you only want to hang out with them in that one social setting? Debatable.
But I must say, not all of your friend groups can be mixed together. There are different factors like personality types and different age groups that simply won’t work together. I typically don’t like mixing all my friends together in one setting because I prefer more intimate settings. For example, I like hanging out with friends in groups of 2 or 3, but no more than 4. Trying to entertain and talk to a large group of friends and make sure everyone feels included is overwhelming.
The importance of sisterhood.
I would hate to have a wedding with no bridesmaids, a birthday celebration without people to celebrate with, or going through a pregnancy without the support of a strong sisterhood. I don’t have any blood-related sisters so building my own sisterhood is something that I always desired.
Friendship break ups.
Friendship breakups are tough too. There are former best friends of mine that I still think about to this today. I wish them nothing but the best although we didn’t make it as friends. There’s no bad blood or hate in my heart for anyone. Normalize grieving friendships as a thing. And normalize letting them go when it’s time to.
That’s all for now!