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Fostering Friendships As An Adult

Let’s be honest…making and maintaining friendships as an adult can be incredibly challenging, to say the least. Research has shown that healthy and stable friendships can have a great impact on your mental and physical health. People who have strong social support systems often have decreased likelihood of depression, an increased sense of belonging, higher self-esteem, longer lifespans, boosted immune systems, and overall greater well-being. In childhood and young adulthood, the school system is set up in a way that encourages community, and with fewer responsibilities, we had much more capacity to focus fully on our friendships. However, hope is certainly not lost, and making and maintaining friendships as an adult is not an impossible feat. Curious about how you can foster friendships as an adult but not sure where to start? Read along for tips to keep in mind when exploring how to have friendships in adulthood that thrive.


1) Put In The Work

To maintain friendships and make new friends, you are going to have to put in an intentional effort. Make time regularly to focus your efforts and attention on fostering your friendships.
This can look like calling a friend to catch up, making (and keeping) plans for grabbing a bite to eat, responding to your friend group text chats, and more. It can certainly be challenging to carve out time in an already packed schedule but the effort will be well worth it. Friendships are like plants…for them to flourish it requires care and attention. That is incredibly cheesy BUT it rings true for all types of relationships! Relationships take work and you get out of it what you put into it.


2) Find Your Community

Utilize your interests and values to search for a community! If you find delight in running, yoga, hiking, reading, crafting, singing, activism for a cause you believe in,…(and the list goes on) there may be a group or class that meets nearby that you can check out! You may find that engaging in activities you enjoy allows you to show up authentically as yourself and reduce the awkwardness that comes along with meeting new people. You will have a built-in conversation starter due to the shared activity or cultural group you choose to engage in! Make it a point to show up a little early and hang around after the class has ended to strike up a conversation with those around you.


3) Focus On Quality, Not Quantity

One supportive and stable friend can be so much more fulfilling than 20+ acquaintances with surface-level superficial connections. Instead of reeling over the number of friends you have, focus on nurturing friendships that leave you feeling rejuvenated and joyous after you spend time with them. However, it is also important to be mindful of what your preference is and what kind of friendships you are hoping to have. Some individuals thrive off of being surrounded by large groups of people while others take comfort in a few close friends. There is a need for self-exploration and awareness before you seek out friendship so you can be clear in your intentions and efforts. Fostering friendships takes time and work, don’t be discouraged if a connection is not formed immediately. Be patient and be kind to yourself as you put intentional effort into fostering healthy friendships.


4) Allow Yourself to Be Vulnerable

Whether you are trying to make new friends, reconnect with old friends, introduce yourself to your neighbors, or trying to gain a relationship with your colleagues…it can be very nerve-wracking and intimidating to put yourself out there. Permit yourself (while keeping your boundaries in mind) to be vulnerable and open up to others. Being open about your personal experiences, worldview, and values can foster intimacy and connection with a friend. You don’t have to dive into the deep end and share your deepest and darkest secrets in the first conversation. Pace yourself and feel out the relationship and level of trust with each individual you wish to become closer to. Trust your gut, show up just as you are, and you will attract the friends that are meant for you.


We hope this blog encourages you to put yourself out there and seek friendship. It is entirely possible to gain new quality friendships and to maintain old friendships no matter your age. If you need assistance navigating the challenging feat of fostering friendship as an adult, our counselors are here and ready to support you. Reach out today to schedule a free 15-minute phone consultation to see if we would be a good fit for you!