Relationships are connected to our strongest emotions. In successful, positive relationships we feel safe, happy, confident and hopeful. They are a vital part of our every day and contribute to our health and well-being. In life, we are expected to create and maintain important relationships. We are told to place great importance on familial and romantic relations and continue to invest in and support these ties to ensure they remain intact. We are made to understand to treat friendship as a second-tier emotional placeholder until we find the traditional relationships of a partner, family and child to prioritise and pour ourselves into.
Interestingly, friendship is the only relationship that will, throughout our life, remain as a relationship of choice. The defining feature of friendships is that they are voluntary. We choose our friends and actively work to maintain this relationship. Friendships remain a relationship of great freedom, which we retain and maintain only because we want to.
However, as we grow older, it seems that almost by default, our friendships fade, and we place greater importance on our familial and romantic relationships. Be it growing in different directions or logistical or emotional challenges, as adults, it’s like, we cannot help but isolate ourselves and push friendships away for seemingly more ‘important’ relationships. It’s easy to wonder if this is a common feeling. If as we grow up, we lose that ability we had so easily as children and teenagers to make friends, meet new people and form new connections. With a lack of confidence, anxiety, and the overwhelming weight of adulthood on us, it can be difficult, almost off-putting, to put yourself out there.
Life without friendship can be lonely. Loneliness is something we all feel at times to varying degrees. It can sometimes be shameful to admit how lonely we may feel and how much we yearn for deep friendship and community.
It is essential that we learn to divest from the preoccupation with romance and familial relationships we are taught to choose above all else and actively prioritise friendships. Friendship brings you joy, peace, and support throughout the different stages of life. Friendship is consistent and kind.
While it can be daunting and even scary to try to find and make new friends, it is essential that we build these relationships to support our health, happiness and well-being. Friendship is a community that you should actively work towards building and sustaining. Below are our top tips to find meaningful and positive friendships as an adult.
Have Faith in Yourself
The first thing to do when looking to build your community is to understand that you are deserving of good, healthy, supportive relationships. If you have struggled with loneliness or have found it difficult to make long-lasting, substantial friendships, it’s natural to doubt yourself and lose confidence. It is important to know that more people feel this way than you would believe, and these feelings of loneliness and a loss of close relationships are more common than ever.
As adults, we have an innate sense of shame and self-doubt that often stops us from doing the things we truly want to. We urge you to release this and embark on the things you want. This includes seeking friendship.
Embarking on friendships as an adult can be truly terrifying. With fear, self-doubt and an annoying sense of shame, it can be difficult to put yourself out there. However, when it comes to making friends, you must remind yourself how exciting, rewarding and amazing friendship is. Finding friendship is invigorating, and instead of worrying that you might be rejected, value the possibility of what you could build instead.
Friendships are not complex or difficult. More often than not, they fall into place and develop where and when they should. The bitter truth is that it is, in fact, relatively easy to make friends. The only hindrance is our hesitation to make the first step and put ourselves out there. When it comes to making friends, even if you are scared, do it anyway. We implore you to have faith in yourself and rid yourself of any negativity or fear. The rewards of friendships are endless, and we know how gratifying it can be.
Practice Your Hobbies
With a completely digitised world, it seems that all of our connections and relationships can only ever extend so far. As a result, making connections and friends in the real world can be difficult. It often leaves us questioning, where can we even find friends to make?
As adults, most of us have already determined our hobbies and found things that bring us peace and joy outside of our work and other relationships. When practising your hobbies, seek connection there. An easy way to find a community is to practice the things we enjoy and bond with others over the commonalities of our hobbies. As adults, most of us have already determined our hobbies and found things that bring us peace and joy outside of our work and other relationships. When practising your hobbies, seek connection there. An easy way to find a community is to practice the things we enjoy and bond with others over the commonalities of our hobbies.
If you don’t already, find a hobby you enjoy and do it consistently. Be it joining local running groups, a book club, finding a workout buddy, taking language classes or volunteering. When finding a hobby that brings you joy, you will meet other people who share your interests, and from there, your circle will start naturally expanding. These activities can be a great first step for finding friendship, and from here, you will be able to deepen casual relationships and make an effort to expand these relationships to different parts of your life. When finding friendship and a community through your hobbies, not only will you be able to spend the time doing what you enjoy, but you’ll be doing it with people you enjoy.
Trust that Things will Fall into Place
When looking to make new connections and create a community, you must remember that we, unfortunately, cannot control everything. Life will unfold as it is meant to, and friendship and connections will come into your life when they are meant to.
You must enjoy your life and simultaneously expect wonderful relationships to form without ever actively searching for them. It is important to have a strong sense of self and live with faith in yourself and other people.
When you live with faith and trust that good things will happen, they will. Things will always naturally fall into place, and a part of that will be that you meet the people you are meant to and build amazing long-lasting friendships with them.
Trusting that things will fall into place means trusting the universe to bring you what you need. You do not have to work endlessly to build connections and fight for everything to align and be perfect in the friendships you make. We can exist, letting things fall into place and trusting that friendships, the unsung hero of a fulfilling life, will form.
We are not meant to go through life alone. It takes a village to get through this life, and an important and necessary part of the community we curate is friendship.
The idea of habitual independence and self-reliance has gained popularity through the years and has been seen by some as the most effective way to live, to live without reliance, expectations and confidence in friendships. This notion discounts the wealth of joy that friendships bring as we navigate life. Let’s be candid. We do not live in an easy world. If we’re being frank, it can be completely gruelling at times. But through our relationships, family and friendships, life is made easier. Friends will endure with you the happiest and hardest moments of your life, remaining a consistent beacon of life.