While some adults are able to maintain friendships with seemingly little effort, many of us have difficulty keeping friendships afloat as we get older. Between work, family obligations and various adult responsibilities, fitting friends into a packed schedule can prove immensely challenging. However, this isn’t to say that adults should simply give up on making – and keeping – friends. By understanding the most common reasons for which adult friendships fall apart, you can provide yourself with the knowledge needed to ensure that your friendships remain strong well into adulthood.
Lengthy Gaps Between Communication
If you’ve gone many years without contacting someone, you shouldn’t be surprised if they’re less-than-thrilled to hear from you out of the blue. This doesn’t necessarily mean that they find you bothersome or have any problem with you as a person – they’ve simply moved on emotionally. Although many of us miss friends with whom we’ve lost contact, we eventually get past these feelings and start thinking about these individuals less and less.
While it’s entirely possible to reconnect with people you haven’t contacted in a long time, it’s important to understand and accept that certain friends may not always be on board for this. Depending on how long it’s been, the party in question may have formed new connections and/or undergone dramatic changes in personality. It’s also possible that they simply have too much on their plate to dive back into a friendship with you at this juncture.
Lack of Effort
Although many of us bemoan having fewer friends in our adult years, very few of us are willing to put forth the effort to maintain friendships as adults. And while doing so may seem like an enormous undertaking, it’s actually far less work than you may think. Touching base with friends on a regular basis is fairly easy thanks to social media, text messaging and video chats. Even if you’re unable to consistently meet up with someone in person, there’s no reason you can’t devote a few minutes a week to sending a few messages their way.
Avoiding flakiness is another important tenet of putting forth the effort to maintain adult friendships. So, if you’ve developed a habit of bailing on plans made with friends at the last minute, don’t be surprised if people become less and less willing to do things with you.
To be clear, this isn’t to say that canceling plans with friends is always unacceptable. In fact, there are a variety of scenarios in which canceling is in everyone’s best interest – if you’re sick or dealing with a family emergency, for example. However, if you don’t have a good reason, last-minute cancellations are liable to be interpreted as flakiness – and very few people are eager to carry on friendships with a flake.
A Lack of Shared Interests
Many friends stay connected through shared interests. While it’s not uncommon for people with differing interests to pursue friendships with one another, being into the same things certainly makes friendships easier to maintain. For example, if there are any hobbies about which you and a friend are deeply passionate, this can serve as the basis for many of your interactions. Unsurprisingly, many of us find it easier to enjoy ourselves around people who like the same things we do.
Of course, this isn’t to say that hobbies are the only common interest that can unite friends. Charitable causes in which you both believe can serve to keep you connected with a friend for years to come. So, if there’s a certain charity that reflects beliefs or morals you share with a friend, consider seeking out ways you both can get involved. If the two of you are passionate about national security, for instance, seek out counterterrorism organizations in need of support and donations.
As people get further and further into adulthood, priorities shift, free time becomes scarcer and personalities change. Unsurprisingly, all three of these factors contribute to a general decline in friendships. Although expending the time and effort to keep friendships alive as an adult can seem like an uphill battle, it isn’t nearly as hard as many of us make it look. So, if you’re looking to maintain quality friendships in your adult years, take care to consider the advice outlined above.