Friendships in Adulthood
Why is friendship so important – what are the benefits
Friendship brings connection, and it is very important for our mental health and sense of wellbeing to feel connected. We are a social species who very much need each other. Having people we can share, trust and have fun with is strongly correlated with better health, both physically and mentally. Quality friendships in life can improve your sense of self-worth and confidence, reduce feelings of isolation and loneliness, and promote a greater sense of belonging, connection and purpose in life.
Why is it harder to make friends as an adult?
Like any relationship, the preservation of friendship takes work and requires serious commitment. Maintaining or making new friends in adulthood takes effort, time and energy to initiate, grow and preserve. As life gets in the way and we find ourselves involved in work, life, relationships, family and other commitments or responsibilities, it can be all the more difficult to find the time and energy to make new connections. This is typically why we find it harder as adults to make friends – we only have so many hours in a day! Another factor can be if we have had difficult experiences with friends in the past – whether they had let us down or broken our trust – we can become more wary about seeking new friendships. As the saying goes, “once bitten, twice shy” and we often don’t want to take the risk again. But it is important to take a leap when re-approaching new friendships to find connection and a sense of belonging.
What are some good strategies for making friends later in life?
There are some great ways to approach making friends later in life. Making extra effort with people that are already in your circle, such as from your workplace, in the school community, or people in your neighbourhood, can bring connection and friendship. The extra effort to go a bit further with people you know can help build a deeper friendship. Another strategy may be saying yes more often to invitations that you would otherwise not have the time for or tend to avoid. The more you say yes, the more likely you are to expand your circle with new people.
There are also great resources within our reach, such as local neighbourhood groups, Facebook groups or applications that are specifically designed to help adults make new friends. Apps are not just for dating! Meeting new friends through these groups or apps allows us to connect with people through common activities and interests. It can feel like a big step and people often feel anxious about giving it a go, but taking that leap can make all the difference when it comes to making new connections.
Finally, reaching back out to old friends who you have lost touch with can be a great way to rebuild and reignite an old friendship. It may feel awkward and like you have drifted away from each other, but giving time and energy to that connection again can help accelerate a deeper, newfound friendship.
This article contains original content from The Relationship Room.