Is it me or are forming real friendships harder as you get older? When you were younger, meeting new people came a lot easier; most of the time, you made friends with the kids you went to school with; same with college. But what happens after you graduate? Sure, there is always work but sometimes professional boundaries make those relationships less organic, and depending on what you do, competitive which is not always the best foundation for tried and true bonds. Also, as a “grown up,” there is the added bonus of balancing the other responsibilities – work, money, love, family, and just living in general. So I pose this question: how do you make friends as an adult?
When I say the word “friends,” I am not talking the superficial relationships where you tolerate each other and make polite conversation because you are in the same social circle or feign excitement at social gatherings. Let’s be clear, those are not your friends. I am talking about creating meaningful connections; your vibe tribe, the small loving group of people in your life who support you, are radically honest with you, challenge you, and grow you. Your people.
It’s taken me a few years to figure out how to find real friends as a certified grown-up but I think I have FINALLY figured it out. And it is so simple! How do you make friends as an adult? The answer is that YOU are the key to making friends as an adult. The benefit of being a grown up is the autonomy of our choices, and if you want to create meaningful bonds with your fellow man (or woman), I’ve broken it down for you even more:
- Be SELF-AWARE about the ENERGY you give. – You attract what you put out so if you want positive people then your energy better be just as positive. Like attracts like.
- Be HONEST about who GIVES you energy versus who DRAINS you. – Life is too short & our time is too precious to surround yourself with people who suck the life out of you. Boundaries are important to ensure that you are allowing the right people stay in your life. The people you choose to have in your life should be helping you raise your vibrations and give you more life.
- Be ALIGNED in energies, mindset, & values. – You don’t have to be twinning in every aspect of life but I have noticed that the friendships that have stood the test of time for me are those have had these 3 foundations aligned with mine. I have noticed that while I can make initial connections with those who differ from my energy, mindset, and values that those connections are often short-term and those relationships aren’t as rich in conversation. That’s something I personally need.
- Be REALISTIC in your EXPECTATIONS of others.- Be sure your friendships are created, maintained, and sustained for the right reason and that your expectations are not solely self-serving or unrealistic. Friendships are for support not validation or ego.
- Be OPEN in mind and heart. – You never who you’ll meet or when you will meet people who will change your life. A few of the closest friends I met this year were completely at random, in the weirdest places, and have inspired me and changed the way I love. Be open-minded and open-hearted to the possibilities to those that you may get to call “friend.”
In reality, good friends are hard to come by but they don’t have to be. Like everything in life, who we choose to let in to our hearts and our lives is up to us. It’s just also a good reminder that in order to love others that you have to really know and love yourself in order to have the kinds of relationships we crave.