Making and Maintaining Adult Friendships

This month, we’re celebrating one of the most important (and yet often most neglected) parts of our lives: our friendships. Far from being an ‘optional extra’, healthy adult friendships are one of the best ways to ensure that the rest of our lives are healthier too.

In fact, those who prioritise their friendships tend to be happier and even have better heart health too!

Still, finding the time (and people) to really connect is easier said than done, so we’ve laid out all the inspiration you need to make and be better friends – long after you’ve left the playground behind…

5 Ways To Make & Be Better Friends

Befriend yourself first.

Self acceptance is the most precious gift we can give ourselves (and in turn, those around us). Indeed, our relationships with our selves needs to be healed before we are able to have healthy relationships with others.

Why? Because we can only accept the love we think we deserve.

If you didn’t have healthy relationship models growing up, start by creating a healthy relationship with yourself. That starts with how you speak to you: when you’re anxious, speak kindly to yourself.

When you make a mistake, tell yourself it’s OK and you’re proud of you for trying. When you’re tired and feeling irritable, give yourself a break. Soothe your body. Treat yourself the way you would treat your loved ones.

Now is the time to meet (and make peace with) yourself.

Gossip girls are so last season…

Gossip is saying things behind people’s backs that we would never say to their face. Flattery, on the other hand, is saying things to people’s faces that we would never say behind their back. Both are forms of manipulation and the fruit of toxic friendships.

Mocking or teasing someone is a way emotionally immature people cope with feelings of jealousy. Not giving this behavior a response shows a person this isn’t the way to get your attention or validation.

Friends aren’t carbon copies.

Emotionally immature people cannot tolerate differences within people. They push their own perspective and shame those who disagree. Part of maturing is understanding that (for many reasons) people won’t always see things the way that you do. And that’s not just okay – it’s great!

Learn to listen, really listen…

Active listening means listening from a space of curiosity. It entails listening without interruption to fully understand another person’s perspective. The best kinds of friendships have this kind of listening at the center—leading to loved ones that feel really heard and seen.

This applies to marriage and parenting too: Mark Kopta, a professor of psychology, says to parents: “My golden rule is when you have trouble with a child, listen to them first and then empathize with them before you say anything.” The same is true when we have trouble with a spouse, a colleague, or a friend.

Asking for help is healing…

Believe it or not, it still takes a village… not only to raise a child, but to raise each other up to be all we were meant to be. Too often, women have been conditioned into thinking that it’s shameful or weak to need others’ help. In reality, we all need meaningful connections. If you pride yourself on never needing anybody or any help, you’ve probably been disappointed or hurt by people in the past. Ask yourself why you hold onto this identity and what it gives you (usually a sense of being in control).

Consider opening up to people you can trust about why you’ve built up these walls. Swallow your pride and ask for help when you need it – although you might feel like you’re dying inside the first time you do, you’re actually being rasied back to a healthier life. Embrace the humble blush, it looks beautiful on you!

As Brene Brown says so well, “Until we can receive with an open heart, we’re never really giving with an open heart. When we attach judgment to receiving help, we knowingly or unknowingly attach judgment to giving help.”

So how do most adults make friends these days?

Gone are the days of friendships just happening without much planning, intention or forethought. Start by recognising that you have a need for friends, than look for areas in your life where you might find people who share similar interests… you could join a gym, sign up to volunteer at a local NGO, visit a local church or others piritual communuity, or start/join a book club!

And whatever you choose to do – start by being a good friend, rather than simply looking for good friends.

5 Types of Friends >

Got any other friendship FAQs we can help with mums?

Fire away in the comments if you have questions and also help answer your fellow mumbox community if they have a question x

Leave a Reply

32 thoughts on “Making and Maintaining Adult Friendships

  1. Martha D. says:

    Being a good friend means that you’re there through it all, and you support them through all of their experiences. Romantic relationships can also force friendships out of the spotlight.

    Don’t forget that your best friend was there long before your significant other and find a healthy balance in how your invest your time in your relationships.

  2. Nqobile D. says:

    Friendship is a two-way street. If you aren’t a good friend, why would someone feel the need to support you? Being a good friend allows you to continuously learn new things. As you try your best to be a good friend, your point of view could change. Let’s say you’re helping your friend adjust to a major career change they’re experiencing; supporting them could show you that change is good and motivate you to embrace it in your own life.

    People become busy as they try to juggle each aspect of their life. Professional commitments, family time, finishing school or certificate courses, and more take up a lot of time.

  3. Annah R. says:

    Thank you for the great articles accepting and loving yourself is very important, I have best friends that I see after a long time we keep in touch but when we see each other is like love at first sight.

  4. Delene V. says:

    Friendships are one of the most important aspects in our lives. Some people are temporary friends but teach you valuable lessons in life. Then you get the real, honest to your face friend who become your best friend. I have a best friend like that. We do not sugar coat anything. If something is wrong it is wrong and we tell it to each other’s faces. Yes, we have fought a lot of times but we always talk it through and be best friends again. We have laughed together, cried together, we even got matching tattoos for our special friendship. You only get a true friend like that once in a lifetime, cherish and nurture that friendship.

  5. Mumtaz M. says:

    It is so important to have good friends. Most of mine are my work colleagues as we spend most of the week together. Surprisingly, I have noticed recently that I am meeting and making friends with people on whatsapp. I have made new friends as I had to purchase some items from them and while chatting we got to know more about each others families and found a lot in common between ourselves. Sometimes we don’t have that opportunity to just be ourselves as we have too much going on in our lives. I find that I am better able to express myself to my friends than my family members and sometimes it just helps a lot when you have someone else to chat to and is not also going to judge you but just be there for you and help you through whatever you are going through. When you have a good friend be there for them in their good and bad times as loyal friends are very hard to find these days.

  6. Roxanne D. says:

    Its so true that we need to be a good friend first before seeking good friends. Cant expect good from others if we not good ourselves. And yes it starts with Self acceptance which many struggle with.

  7. Roxanne D. says:

    I have 2 best friends that i hardly see often like i use to. After getting married and having kids, life gets so busy that we dont always have time to other activities with friends, especially when having kids and being a working mom. But we always make time to message or call eachother to keep the connection going.