Adult friendships can be extremely hard at times. While it would be nice to have easy sailing friendships, most times, this doesn’t happen. In order for friendships to work, whether adult friendships or not, there needs to be work put in by each side. If one friend is putting in the effort, but the other isn’t putting in any effort, the friendship probably won’t last. For any type of friendship, there are struggles, yet adult friendships are much harder.
When we are kids, it’s much easier to form friendships. There’s less responsibility, less baggage, and less at stake. When I was in second grade, I formed a friendship that I thought would last forever. While it did last the entirety of elementary school, once we moved to middle school, we fell out of contact. Similar to this instance, the same can be said about adult friendships. When we are adults, we often travel for jobs or move from town to town. This can make it extremely difficult to form lasting friendships. In order to have a friendship, you need to spend time with each other.
While texting and calling are nice and convenient, it is best to meet up in person, if possible, to form strong bonds with friends. When we are adults, it can be easier to just send a quick happy birthday text or a “How are you?” text, yet we fail to grow deeper in our friendship because we are afraid to be vulnerable and open. For a friendship to work, both parties need to want to cultivate the friendship. One friend cannot do all the work. Both friends equally need to have the desire to cultivate the friendship. If one friend decides the friendship isn’t working, there is not a huge chance of the friendship moving forward.
With adult friendships, we often try to force ourselves to be certain people’s friends in order to fit in or to seem “cool.” In this way, it is not much different than middle or high school. Sadly, if we try to force our friendship upon someone, it is not likely they are going to appreciate our forceful efforts. Instead of forcing friendships or trying to manipulate them to happen, we need to allow friendships to grow naturally.
As someone who tried a lot in college to have everyone like me, I know now that this is an impossible goal. While I might have wanted everyone to be my friend, it doesn’t mean they wanted to be friends in return. In hindsight, I can see this now, yet at the time, I didn’t know. My only focus was trying to find friends since for the longest time I had no friends. Due to being homeschooled, I didn’t have any friends outside of my family members. This resulted in me feeling lonely, so in college, I wanted to make friends with everyone, even if they might not have been my friends in return.
While we should be a friend to all people, it doesn’t mean we are going to have the close friendship bond we expect to have with a best friend. It might be a small smile or a nice wave, but it doesn’t mean the person is your best friend. It is best, as adults, for us to know that not everyone will want to be our friend. This can be sad and depressing to think about, yet it is best for us to be aware that not everyone we think will be our friend will actually be our friend. It might take time, but God will help lead us to the friends we need.
We can choose to take the matter into our own hands by trying to manipulate others to be our friends, but this is not good to do. Instead, pray to God and ask Him to lead you to the right friends. After church, invest some time in talking to other adults around your age. Maybe you attend a small group, and there are others who are in the same life phase as you. Talk with them, and you might find a really great friend who will be with you through thick and thin. These types of friends are to be appreciated because they are hard to find.
Adult friendships also tend to be hard because most friend groups have already been established. Going back to my example from college, I had gotten into a friend group who I thought were going to be my friends forever. Turns out, forever didn’t last as long as I had originally thought. I was so blinded by wanting to have friends that I didn’t realize I had little to nothing in common with the other people in the group. I was the polar opposite of them, and I quickly started wondering why I even went to events with t hem. I always felt awkward and as though the other people had no interest in anything I said.
Over time, I separated myself from this friend group because I realized they weren’t my real friends. They had long stopped replying to my text messages months before, and I felt like an outsider. None of them reached out during my struggles with mental health nor did any of them seem to care. It is sad to realize your “friends” aren’t really your friends, but it is better to recognize this before it takes up your entire life.
You Deserve Better
You deserve to have friends who love you, care about you, and encourage you. You don’t deserve friends who make you feel like less of a person. Sadly, adult friendships can be hard, but don’t let this deter you or cause you to get into unhealthy friend groups. Ask God for guidance and ask Him to bring the right people into your life. He truly knows best, and He will provide you with the friends that you need. During my struggles with adult friendships, I have discovered that my greatest friend is my sister.
Unfortunately, I neglected my friendship with my sister for many years because I was so focused on forming friendships with my friend group from college. My sister has been the one who has been with me through every season of life, on the sunny days and dark days. A true friend is like my sister. Someone who is always there for you, doesn’t leave when things get hard, and someone who always points you back to Jesus. You deserve this type of friendship too. Even if it might not be your sister, you can find a lasting friendship through God’s help.
Adult friendships can be difficult, but they don’t have to be. Through both parties investing time and energy into the friendship, the friendship can flourish. It is important to remember that for a friendship to remain, both parties have to want to keep the friendship alive. It is normal for friendships to come and go, even if it might be difficult. Just remember that God will bring the right people into your life, and it is best to wait on God instead of taking matters into your own hands.
Be a friend to all, but don’t expect them to be a friend back. Understand that not all people we invest time and energy in will respond in the same way. Find the people that like you for you and do your best to be a good friend to others. Whether you are looking for friends now as an adult or if you are going through a rough patch in your friendship, know that God is always there with you, and He is always your friend, no matter what. He loves you, and He is the Best Friend anyone could ever have in their life.
Photo Credit: ©Getty Images/Antonio Guillem
Vivian Bricker loves Jesus, studying the Word of God, and helping others in their walk with Christ. She has earned a Bachelor of Arts and Master’s degree in Christian Ministry with a deep academic emphasis in theology. Her favorite things to do are spending time with her family and friends, reading, and spending time outside. When she is not writing, she is embarking on other adventures.
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