Relationships

How To Maintain Friendships As An Adult

Maintaining friendships as an adult can be hard. You no longer see your school friends day-in, day-out, and while you might have work friends, your relationship with them will often be more professional than personal. Many friends you had when you were younger will have moved away, some further than others, and as you get drawn into the busyness of adult life, you might find that your meet-ups get less and less frequent.

It can feel like a lot of effort to keep in touch with your friends, but it’s worth it, to have a fun social life and avoid loneliness. Thankfully there are some ways to make it a little easier, and that’s what we’ll be exploring in this post. Let’s take a look at how to maintain friendships as an adult.

How To Maintain Friendships As An Adult

Get a date in the diary

At the end of a meet-up with a friend, always plan your next meet-up and put a new date in the diary, even if it’s months or a year away. Then, if either of you needs to reschedule nearer the time, you can – but the meet-up will still happen.

Remember their birthdays

Go through and write down all your friends’ birthdays in your diary so you remember them. If you don’t know their birthdays you can often find them from social media such as Facebook, or just ask them. Try to send them birthday messages or even physical cards, because it’s a good excuse for making contact at least once a year. If you haven’t spoken to a particular friend in a while, birthdays and other holidays like Christmas or New Year are great opportunities to contact them without it seeming too random.

Read more: 18 Fun Birthday Party Ideas for Adults

Keep a record of your meet-ups

I don’t do this any more but I used to keep a record of when I last saw each of my friends. It was just a simple spreadsheet with two columns – a list of names of my friends, and the date I last saw them. I could then sort the table by date, so that the friends I had not seen for the longest time would be at the top. This would help me to keep track of who I hadn’t seen in a while, and remind me to arrange meet-ups with them.

Suggest group meet-ups

If you are part of friendship groups where your friends know each other, group meet-ups are often the way to go. A group meet-up is usually great fun in itself, and it can also provide opportunities to make contact with people you wouldn’t usually message or meet up with individually. Does your friendship group have a WhatsApp group (or similar)? If not, maybe it’s time to set one up.

Suggesting a group meet-up often feels less awkward than just asking one person if they’d like to meet up. If you just ask one person then they are likely to feel pressure and obligation to meet up with you, whether or not they truly want to. With group meet-ups, on the other hand, people feel freer to turn it down if they prefer, because there are other people in the group so the social pressure is somewhat taken off.

If your friends live far away from each other, you could suggest meeting somewhere in the middle of where you all live, or somewhere that’s easily accessible. My friendship group from university lives spread out across the South of England so we usually meet up in London as that’s easiest for us to all get to – and of course, there’s plenty to do!

Bond over shared projects

Friendships are often formed over shared projects and experiences. When you think about where you met your best friends, it was probably at school or University, through work or through a hobby. All of these are shared projects or experiences of some kind. The problem is, when you leave school, change jobs or quit a hobby, it can be harder to maintain those friendships. Even if you still meet up socially, your friendship can start to feel less close because you don’t share something current to bond over.

To counter this, you could try to bring a new shared experience or project into your friendship, rather than just meeting socially. Is there a club you could both join, or a course you’d both be interested in doing? Maybe you could arrange to meet for an environmental or social project such as a beach clean or helping at a soup kitchen. Or does your friend need help with a DIY or gardening project?

It can be harder to find shared experiences and projects if you live far apart, as you often need more than a day. One option is to invite your friend to come and stay with you (or go and stay with them if they are willing). Then you can spend an extended time together, allowing for more shared experiences and projects.

Know when to let go of a friendship

This post has been all about how to maintain friendships, but at the end of the day, you don’t HAVE to stay in touch with every friend you’ve ever known. It’s okay to let go of a friendship if it just isn’t working any more. People do change over time, and you might find you just don’t have much in common with a particular friend any more.

You don’t have to force it and keep holding onto a friendship if you are not enjoying your meet-ups any more or aren’t finding much to say. If you don’t want to lose contact completely, you can still send them birthday messages etc. but phase out the meet-ups. This will free up time and space for new friends that you have more in common with. There’s no need to tell them you are doing this – if you’re no longer getting much out of the friendship, it’s likely they feel the same and they may be relieved that you are not trying to meet up so often.

You don’t have to feel guilty about letting go of a friendship. Cherish the good memories of your friendship’s heyday, but make space in your (and their) life for new friends. With fewer friends, it will be easier to keep up with all of them and maintain quality friendships.

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How To Maintain Friendships As An Adult

2 Comments

  1. Caroline says:

    I love these tips, and I’m doing most of them so I feel like I’m on track haha! x

    Caroline | https://envirolineblog.com/

    1. Sophie says:

      That’s brilliant that you feel you’re on track! Thanks for reading and commenting x

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