The fact of the matter is that people are busy. When you have to juggle your work, family responsibilities, chores, and other obligations, things can slip through the cracks. More often than not, it’s your friendships that take the fall. However, it’s equally true that relationships are important, whether they’re romantic, familial, or platonic. It’s almost a stereotype that adults lose their friends as they get older, especially once they move to a new area or start a family. But this doesn’t mean that this is how life should be.
THE IMPORTANCE OF PLATONIC FRIENDSHIPS
Friends are more than just people you happen to spend time with. As a child, you may have gained a whole group of friends just by happening to be in the same class at school or living in the same neighborhood. You can gain lifelong friendships this way, but many friendships fizzle out when you get older, your interests change, and your responsibilities get in the way.
Childhood friendships are important to help children to develop socially and emotionally, as well as to help them learn necessary skills for life. Friendships give them a perspective that adults can’t, for better or for worse. Also, friends are fun. Fun is sometimes seen as a frivolous thing, for children and irresponsible adults. But fun is there for a reason. If you don’t have fun, then it’s impossible to enjoy life. Life comes with stress and obligations, but friends can keep you strong during tough times and remind you that there is more to life than necessities.
As an adult, your friends will be fewer, but any friendships that you can maintain can be more meaningful for it. Your friendships are also at least as important as they were in childhood, just in a different way. People are always growing and changing, including adults. Your friends can keep you grounded and help you to develop good qualities.
Healthy friendships can help you to keep a healthy lifestyle going. They’re most obviously good for your emotional wellbeing, as they can provide needed support during difficult times and build your confidence and help you to have fun at other times. But friends can also be good for our physical health. If someone cares for you, then they’re more likely to encourage you to maintain healthy lifestyle habits. Sometimes, your friend can even be your gym partner or join you in other exercise-intensive activities. It’s even been found that having a close circle of friends can increase your life expectancy, possibly by boosting your mental, emotional, and physical health.
FINDING + MAINTAINING FRIENDSHIPS
So, how can you find and maintain these all-important social connections?
One way to find new friends is to meet new people. You can do this by finding a local meetup of like-minded people, perhaps in a bar or a park. Here, you can meet other people around your age or with similar interests to you.
Whether you’ve made new friends as an adult or you’re trying to hold on to an old friend, it’s important to make time for them. If you need to, then carve out a block of time in your schedule so that you can spend time with your friends. While it seems unimportant when compared to other responsibilities, the fact is that friendships are a vital part of your life, even in adulthood. Once you find that you keep turning down invitations, you have a problem. Keeping a friendship going is more viable than constantly losing and making friends.
As well as accepting invitations, make the effort to arrange things yourself. The summer is a great opportunity for this because the weather is usually nice enough to go outside. Arrange a hike with your friends or a trip out. If you’d rather stay at home, this is a great time to get out the barbecue and cook your friends a killer meal. These events are also often cheaper than everyone going out for a meal, and allow you to spend time together without other people around.
If you share interests with your friends, then make sure that you keep that interest going. Are you in a band? Then don’t neglect practice. Do you play a sport? Then keep playing it with your friends. These activities round out your life and make sure that there are more than your responsibilities. If you have children, then try to spend time with your friends and other parents in settings with and without kids. Children’s parties and hangouts are great, but give your friend some time as well.