What is Friendship as an Adult?

I’ve written in the past about making friends but now I want to talk about keeping them. When you were a kid, did you do sleepovers at Patty’s and meet up with the whole gang at a pizza shop after school? When is the last time you did anything like that as an adult? Now, some of us are extremely content just having our spouse to pal around with and if you follow me on Instagram, you know that my husband and I date like young rabbits. But there are just some things my husband can’t do for me.

No matter how how sweet he’s trying to be, “Everything looks beautiful on you!” is never going to be a helpful answer to which dress I should wear to the wedding. He’s never going to understand why turquoise is not the same as green, he’s never going to want to go paint pottery on a Thursday night, and he’s definitely never going to understand why it bothers me if so-and-so doesn’t like me. There are just some things I need girl friends for!

The problem is that female friendships never seemed to take off for me the way I’ve seen them take off for some. You know, like the people in my feed who did everything together in high school and are bridesmaids in each other’s weddings now. I don’t know how they did, it seems harder than maintaining any other relationship in life. What makes friendship so hard as an adult?

Time. Time seems to be everyone’s first answer and I can certainly see how keeping small humans alive plus maintaining homes and jobs would be time-consuming. My life is very busy and I tend to keep my schedule full because I actually really enjoy being busy (Don’t tell my husband, he HATES when he sees a booked calendar!) but I always make time for people I care about. If I have to squeeze you in between putting a kid on the school bus and a doctor’s appointment, I will do that. If you want to call me, I’ll do the whole ear-to-shoulder thing while I make dinner and try to hear you over the sound of my kids arguing again. We can make this work…if we want to.

The question is: Do we want to? Since I’ve moved here, I’ve had so many fleeting friendships that were great for a while and then went kaput suddenly. It’s actually exactly like breaking up with a significant other, right down to the fact that I try to completely avoid them because I have no idea how not to have a panic attack when we run into each other. For a time, I’d do everything with these people and my kids were best friends with their kids and then we’re not part of each other’s lives at all. It’s rough!

One consistency that I’ve noticed in these friendships is that instead of reaching out to me and trying to communicate about a problem, people just walk away. I would try to ask and either be ignored or assured there was no problem and things had just changed. I think a common problem in our society, and likely a huge reason why the divorce rate is sky high, is that we don’t talk about problems with each other. Facebook feeds pump out the “cut out toxic people” propaganda daily but are there really that many toxic people in the world? Or are we just not trying to understand each other and give the benefit of the doubt? I’m inclined to believe the latter.

Unlike most bloggers, I’m not writing this post because I have the answers. This isn’t one of those list posts where I tell you how to be a better friend or how to maintain lifelong friendships with six special steps. I can’t give you answers I don’t have because I still haven’t figured it out. I think I’m writing this because I want people to work on the friendships they have instead of saying things like “some friends are only for a season” or “we just didn’t work out”. Life isn’t Facebook, we shouldn’t just unfriend people every time we have a problem. I want people to communicate. I want them to care about each other’s feelings. I want to see that at 89 years old when her husband passes away, a woman has her three close lifelong friends to help her pick up the pieces of her broken heart. This #squadgoals thing people post about, I want to see it come to fruition with love, support, and communication.

5 thoughts on “What is Friendship as an Adult?

  1. I’ve wondered this very same thing. I don’t have any close female friends anymore. I used to. I just don’t know what happened. I know that, for a while, my life was so complicated, that having a friend seemed like too much effort. I miss having a friend to talk to and hang out with.

  2. When you’re married with kids, it’s so nice to find another couple with kids the same ages to be friends with and do things together often!

  3. Making friends as grown ups can be difficult – I’ve learned that I keep and lose friends more frequently as an adult though because I’m more conscious about the time I spend with people that I truly enjoy versus people I’m hanging out with just because.

  4. My best friend for 19 years and very close we calls each other sisters and we try to make a weekend getaway or a week it’s depends on my schedule because I’m rising my grandkids and helping watching my two grandsons and two of older adults that has special needs

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