Repeat after me: Friendship is a two way street, but being a good friend starts with me.
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned there are several things grown folks never seem to have enough of. We never have enough sleep. There never seems to be enough money. And we never seem to have enough friends. While all of those things are important, only one of them makes life worth living and feel more whole. And while most people agree that this observation is true many of us ask ourselves silently how you make friends as an adult. And once we make those adult friends, we find ourselves asking how to keep friends as an adult.
In my opinion, it’s never difficult to find people to be friends with as an adult. People are everywhere. You can find potential friends at work, at the gym, the grocery store, etc. I actually found one of my closest friends at an eye check up. She went from checking my husband’s eyes, to shooting pool with us at the bar right after meeting at the appointment to becoming life long friends. See, potential friends are everywhere. The problem that adults run into is the follow through of keeping friends.
If you’ve been a regular follower of my blog, you know that friendship isn’t exactly my specialty. I’ve had someone who I once considered a good friend hurt me intentionally and a friend who suddenly decided she didn’t want to be my son’s godmother anymore (though it was a misunderstanding). And on top of all of that, I’ve actually never had a best friend
However, I do know the importance of feeling loved, companionship and showing your heart to others. And after all that hurt I’ve experienced with the friendship stories mentioned above, I’ve finally figured out the key to keeping friends as an adult. It’s really quite simple and in true adult fashion, we’ve found a way to make it complicated. See, it all comes down to a text.
Nobody wants to walk through life alone – even if you don’t ever want to get married or have kids. Yet, that’s how it often feels sometimes. In the chaos of making meal plans, going to work, cleaning the vents, working out, volunteering, balancing budgets, keeping up with hobbies, folding laundry, bathing the kids, and showing affection to your spouse, reaching out to your friends slips through the cracks. It happens to everyone and it doesn’t make you a bad person. Simply put, life happens. However, one text can change it all.
That one “hey, I was thinking about you. How are you?,” text can be the difference between having a friend with a deep connection and an acquaintance that quickly fades out of your life. Yet, so many of us ignore and dismiss it’s significance.
We all know what it’s like to have the passing thought, “I haven’t spoken to my old colleague in a while. I should call her,” and then getting lost in cooking dinner and helping kids with homework before even picking up the phone. It happens over and over again and the next thing you know you haven’t spoken to that colleague in weeks. Weeks turn into months and months turn into years. Before you know it, you’ve lost a good friend.
Had you just sent a text the moment your friend first entered your mind, there’s a chance the friendship wouldn’t fizzle and the bond would still be intact. Though brief that simple text does so many things. It helps your friends feel loved. It lets your friends know you care, available when needed and that she matters in your life.
Though, I’ve never had a best friend I’ve found that much like parenthood, 90 percent of friendship is just being there. Sure you may not be perfect, struggle with picking a movie to watch together and sharing the appetizers equally but you are there when it matters most. I understand that it’s not always possible to be available for every birthday, wedding, wine down wednesday, and baby shower. But that “how are you doing?” text lets friends know that you are present anyway.
“I may not always be there with you, but I’ll always be there for you.”
Should you be the recipient of said text, responding truthfully is all that’s required of you to keep that friendship alive. So if your friend asks how you are doing and you say, “Fine” even though you are not fine, you become part of the problem. Tell her the truth. Or if your friend texts “Hope all is well” and you know things are better than well, share because that’s what friendship is. Friendship is maintained by reaching out randomly and responding truthfully to keep that connection going.
But what about the friends who disappear and won’t send that text?
Should that person who you called a friend suddenly ghost on you, I urge you to not take it personally. Every now and then, people go through a personal journey that requires isolation. Rarely is it about you. Instead of cutting that person off because you feel she’s gone inexplicably absent, be the person to reach out first through text. Maybe she’s dealing with mental health issues, a period of discovery or even a divorce that can make her closed off. Sometimes friends go through things that are intended to be walked alone. Instead of taking it personally, be a good friend and send that reminder that you’re always walking behind them. Luckily, sometimes all you need is the brief text to drive that sentiment home.
That’s it people. Keeping friends as an adult all comes down to one text.
How have you managed to keep friends as an adult?
TERRIfic Quip – Find your tribe and love them hard.