Seriously, why is it so hard to maintain friendships as an adult?
As a child, meeting new people and maintaining friendships is incredibly fun. You sleep over at each other’s houses. You do everything together; you are inseparable. There’s unlimited time and almost no obligations to stop you from spending nearly every moment with your “besties.” Friends are some of the best parts of childhood and adolescence.
I often reflect back to those days and think, “If only adult friendships could be that simple.” Personally, I think it is so difficult to keep friends as adults because we’re all so busy. People grow up and start families, marriages, and careers… and that’s okay.
As adults, we try so hard to keep friendships alive, exactly as they were during our childhoods.
We try to stay connected with our high school squads or college study buddies, thinking that things will stay the same forever. As we grow older, though, people change and, for better or worse, so do our relationships with those people.
We can try to force these relationships and do all that we can to keep the flame alive. In reality, though, that just doesn’t work. Sometimes friendships just aren’t meant to last forever. Instead of trying to piece them back together, we need to learn to let go and move on. When we keep gluing together friendships that are constantly in disrepair, we aren’t allowing space for new, healthy friendships to develop.
I also think we carry incredible amounts of guilt in our adult friendships.
You feel guilty for not spending time with certain friends. You feel guilty for not attending major celebrations or even small gatherings. It becomes an endless cycle of emotional turmoil as you struggle to keep up with not just one friend but all of them. We use social media as a temporary fix for our guilt. We keep up with our friends through their posts and pictures, but it’s never the same as truly being present in someone’s life.
The most important thing to remember about friendships is that the amount of friends you have doesn’t matter; friendship is about quality, not quantity. Best friends are your roots; other friends are just the leaves just passing through. The more we put this into practice, the less stressed we will feel about maintaining broken relationships. Take a step back, stop stressing over the friendship guilt, and think about how you can best maintain your adult friendships.