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Navigating Friendships in Adulthood

by ikalmayang

Friendship is often a fickle thing; not because of the fragility of connection, but the fact that despite how deep-rooted it is, the possibilities of drifting apart and, to a harsher degree, ties being severed are always, always lurking. 

The good news is, however, that when you reach adulthood, you might find the transition a little too easy as you naturally get caught up in your own life. 

But growing apart doesn’t have to be so bad. In fact, the old saying “absence makes the heart grow fonder” is true albeit a little bittersweet. That’s just the way life is, and soon, despite your best efforts, you will find yourself and the people around you changing. 

Fretting is understandable, and being creatures of habit we expect things to stay the same: it provides us comfort and stability, but with the changing nature of life itself, we should always prepare for what’s to come – especially when it involves relationships and friendships. 

Here are some things that you can do to keep your friendship valuable even when you ride the roller coaster that is life.


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  • Accept That Things Change 

Perhaps the most difficult thing to accept is the fact that people and things change. The same habits, the same comfort and stability that we’ve grown so attached to are changing, but it doesn’t mean that they disappear altogether. 

You might not think it, but you yourself are changing, too, and it’s not very fair to want to keep people attached to you the same way you have for ages. Give them grace, and allow them to grow. Give yourself the peace, and extend the same love to them. This is a good opportunity for both of you to become closer. 

However, don’t feel obliged to force yourself to maintain a friendship if things don’t seem to be working for the better. Getting older also means recognising that everyone’s priorities change, including yours. Sometimes it’s alright to not invest in a friendship anymore should you so want it.

Change is inevitable, how you adapt on the other hand is completely in your power.


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  • Give Time and Make Time!

Understanding that things are forever changing, time is perhaps the only constant. Allow yourself to realign what matters to you the most, and extend the same courtesy to your friend. 

Sometimes the deepest friendships require very little effort, but it still requires effort. Make the time to check in by dropping a quick text, asking how they are. Even when you’re not at the emotional capacity to care, just a text to let them know you’re thinking about them goes a very long way and is more appreciated than you think. 


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  • Communicate and Comprehend 

Finally, above all else, communication is key. Hashing out any grievances or things that have been bothering you is a good indication that you value your friendship – and allows for a better and clearer understanding of where you both are in the relationship. Maturing is realising that conveying your feelings 

Refrain from blaming, gaslighting or anything that can be misconstrued as hostile. Having the opportunity to discuss your feelings so openly as mature adults is what will further strengthen a friendship over time, even if both of you reach a consensus to let go. Perhaps you will try harder, not because it is required by the expectations in your head, but because it is the agreement that you and your best friend have reached through mutual love and understanding for each other. 

At first, adulthood might seem like a lonely journey, and in many ways, it is. But I do believe that with any relationship, acceptance, communication and time are what strengthens bonds between people over time. It’s alright to be a little sad about change – because it just means you’re growing. 

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