The Types of Friends you Need as an Adult
Maintaining friendships is one of the biggest challenges of adult life.
Suddenly work, relationships, families and a forever growing list of priorities takes up most of our time and energy. Rachel says like any relationship, friendship requires commitment, “Maintaining or making new friends in adulthood takes effort, time and energy to initiate, grow and preserve.”
Why should we care about friendships though? Friendships have a range of benefits in our adult lives, which contribute to good physical and mental health. The National Library of Medicine has shown that good friendships boost happiness and belonging, improve self-esteem, reduce loneliness, increase your sense of purpose, and even promote positive social development as you face the challenges that come with adult life.
“It’s very important for our mental health and sense of wellbeing to feel connected,” explains Rachel. “We are a social species who very much need each other. Having people we can share with, trust and have fun with is strongly correlated with better health, both mentally and physically.”
Studies have shown that you only need three friends to improve your life satisfaction. Here are three types of friendships you need:
- The non-judgemental friend
The three factors that someone needs to maintain intimacy is understanding, validation and care. If we shut down due to fear of judgment, then we lose any intimacy that friendship may have had.
“One of the reasons we sometimes avoid friendship is that we, as humans, have a very deep fear of rejection and judgment,” Rachel explains. “If we feel that a friend is comparing us or judging us, we will tend to share very little about our authentic self and true experience as a way to protect ourselves.”
“Non-judgment and trust in relationships go hand-in-hand, as these qualities make us feel safe in our connections to both friends and partners.”
A person who seeks to love and care for all parts of us in a non-judgmental and understanding way, is one of the most treasured connections we can experience as an adult.
- The objective truth teller
This the friend who tells us how it is. You may not like everything they say, but they have your best interests at heart. Just as the non-judgemental friend gives us space to process our most intimate thoughts, this friend keeps you grounded and reminds you of the facts. How your ex-partner was not worthy of you or how you need to put yourself first and think of your own wellbeing.
“The relationships we have with ourselves is the most important, because how we view ourselves – what we believe about ourselves, and how we feel about ourselves – shapes how we meet the world,” Rachel explains.
As we get older, we tend to not need as many friends as we have more life experiences to draw upon. We feel more secure in our relationship with ourselves. When you are a true friend to yourself, you will not shy away from new experiences or standing up for yourself, making this one of the most important friendships you need to develop.
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