My sister’s core friend group consists of the 4 or 5 women that she met as a child in elementary school. She’s known them almost her entire life. Generations ago my sister’s story might have been a lot more common when most people never left their small communities. Today people are much more likely to go through several cycles of friends as they take on new and different roles. If you’ve ever found yourself in a new job or in a new city then you can probably relate.
In today’s world how do you make new adult friends? It’s a skill that’s not taught nor is it talked about very often. We’re all expected to have a set group of friends but no one every really tells you how to go about getting them. Personally I’ve always had a natural ability for making friends. It’s not something I concentrate on but rather just a natural occurrence. It’s one of the reasons why I felt brave enough to move across the country. Even though I only knew one person in Dallas I somehow knew I would land on my feet socially. Unfortunately not everyone is so lucky and finding adult friends can be genuinely hard for some people. I really feel for those guys because having friends or at least one best friend is one of the things I value most in life. A best friend will keep you grounded during times of triumph and keep you afloat during times of failure. Everyone needs a best friend.
Making friends as an adult isn’t the only challenge. There is a whole separate set of skills needed to maintain those relationships once you find them. One of the toughest lessons you’ll learned as an adult is that most friendships have an expiration date. My sister is a perfect example of someone who grew up thinking that once she found her best friend(s) then it was a done deal for life. Unfortunately that’s usually not true for most of us. It sounds sad but most friendships will not last a lifetime. So many of the people in our lives are here due to outside factors like proximity, common interests, or even just a lack of other options. If you move, change jobs, give up drinking, or find a boyfriend then your circle of friends is bound to go through some changes. I remember when I graduated college and moved back to Connecticut. I met a new friend just as I was starting to get out and meet people. We were extremely close friends for about a year and we would talk every day and regularly hang out. He was just out of a long long-term relationship and we both had very similar lifestyles. After a while he met a guy and they quickly went from a first date to marriage. Once he found a guy he didn’t feel the need to go out as much or do many of the “single” activities we had done before. On my end I started to get to know more people in the area and I found a group of solid friends that I really fit into. There wasn’t a friendship break-up in our case we instead just drifted apart. Truth be told now that I look back on it we really are very different people at our core and our friendship grew out of very specific circumstances. We both happen to catch each other at a very specific point in our lives were able to foster a friendship. While I haven’t spoken to him in years I have no hard feeling and I assume he feels the same way. Our friendship ran it course and we’ve both moved on.
When I moved to Texas from Connecticut many of the inner circle close friends I had at home quickly turned into an occasional Facebook like or comment type relationship. I knew there would be a change but I was surprised at which friends actually stuck around and which fell by the way side. There were the obvious friendships that were destined to end due to the stretch of distance. Those bonds that were already weak or one-sided to begin with. However some of the guys who I considered more of a casual acquaintance have stuck around and still make an effort to see me whenever I am home. It goes to show that you never really know with people. I can’t be mad at anyone I lost touch with because it’s really difficult to maintain a friendship when so much changes. The close friends I don’t talk to as much anymore still have a special place in my heart because I learned that just because a friendship has ended (or changed) doesn’t make it a failure. Those relationships had value at the time and they were a stepping stone to get me where I am now.
At this point you might be thinking that every friendship you have is doomed to end at some point. You also might be thinking that I burn through friends like a chain smoker waiting on blood test results. I think as we grow up and go through different stages in life our friendship needs change. Many of the stories above were from my twenties which was a decade filled with change and exploration. I was figuring out who I was and that sometimes mean trying new friends on for size. So while there are those friends that have come and gone there are also the select few that have stuck around. I still gave a small core group of friends in Connecticut that I text with on a daily basis. When I moved our friend group wasn’t very old and it could have easily broken but to my surprise it’s flourished. I’m extremely lucky to have had them stick around because it’s been a major help having that support system. The biggest lesson I’ve learned from them is that friendship can last as long as you make the effort. There are some days when the texts don’t stop and then there are the times when we are all silent and busy. Regardless we try to check in with one another at least once a day and I appreciate that they still keep me in the loop. Friendships can’t be taken for granted because life will go on no matter what and no one is required to sit around and wait for you. Remember that it takes just as much effort to keep friends as it does to find new ones.