Holistic health practitioners have a lot to say about friendship.
Was there one special little girl during your youth who was your Best Friend? Did the two of you live rich lives of make-believe, shared secrets, and sleep-overs that you remember to this day?
My story is that I only had tiny glimpses of such a special friendship as a child, and as an adult, I know it benefits my health and my happiness to create and maintain nourishing friendships.
Our friendship and social circle can be life-giving to our belonging needs, but they can also be the source of painful rejections. For example, an established group of friends might have moved into a direction that no longer feels affirming or interesting to you. Sometimes our social groups recognize we’ve outgrown them before we do.
The little girl inside me is still building deep and mutually satisfying friendships! How about you? I know that it is vitally important to turn toward our social networks for support or find other ways to refuel our feelings of social connection. It is a myth that it is harder to make friends as we age.
What is your friendship story? Has your life included a wide range of friends who were (and perhaps still are) your most reliable source of loving companionship? Do you wonder where all your best friends have disappeared to, or how you could reinvigorate important friendships?
Top Ten Truths about Adult Friendship
- Friends in adulthood often take a back seat to families, jobs, and the need to move away. Social media and a passion about making time for friendships help soothe this reality.
- Self-doubt can limit our success in making new friends as we age. We’re simply not exposed to as many people, and those we do meet often have as many friends as they can conveniently keep up with. This self-doubt can be eased through positive self-talk and making sure we get out of our homes more often. We can refuse the myth that our best friendships are in the past.
- Inter-generational friendships may be your new best bet. As our lives take us away from the hometown of our youth, we can open ourselves up to people we don’t have any background with. This often means a great diversity in our new friendships.
- Women friends can lose contact when only one of them becomes a parent. Suddenly, you live in two separate worlds, and it may sting for both of you. Open your heart to help non-parent friends take on familial roles like “Auntie Sharon” and such. Everyone’s a winner!
- Making friends at work often means a blending of large cultural and religious sensibilities. We also see that one friend is a football fan and the other falls asleep during all team sports. Adults have to look for deep reasons to make friends.
- The Dreaded BFF Fear. The amount of time adults have to nourish friendships varies greatly. Some women look for new, extremely close friends at all times, while others simply want to know who will be carpooling to the pool this summer. Awareness of the kind of good friend you are looking for, as well as the kind of friend you are able to be, is all part of successful friendships.
- Friendships can end in painful ways. When a widow looks for new friends, she may do so from a place of profound loss. When a woman is battling severe illness, she may find that her close friends vanish due to discomfort. Some adult friendships end because of alcoholism, death of a child, divorce, or bankruptcy. It’s not as simple any more as sharing the same home room teacher, which is often a good starting point for friendships.
- Adult friends come together because of a shared drama or trauma. Have you made friends with the ladies in your weight management group or in the Solution Starter Prediabetes class you attend? This kind of friendship can be extremely helpful, and while it may be a temporary situation, it can have huge benefits to everyone involved.
- Becoming friends with your children is a vibrant part of parenting adults. As your little kids grow up and make families of their own, there is a magical point in many adult lives when our kids are now treasured friends. And perhaps, like me, you’ve had the fun of seeing the look on your adult child’s face when they are old enough to realize how smart their mom is all of a sudden!
- The wisdom that comes with age is a tremendous value to the making of friends! All of the little annoyances that used to bother us about our next door neighbor, or the silly voice of the yoga teacher at the rec center – all these small things can simply disappear as we become older and wiser. When we have the kind of gentle perspective that comes with our 5th or 6th decade of life, we simply don’t sweat the small stuff any longer!
Thank you for your friendship!