As life continues to change and progress, so do our relationships and, most of all, our friendships. Depending on what stage of adulthood you are in, friendships can be the most important thing to you or the people you’ve been meaning to catch up with but never really do. Regardless of what stage you are in, I’m sure we can agree that maintaining or possibly making new friends isn’t as easy as it once was. In grade school, you would see each other every day in class or alternate weekends, spending the night at each other’s house. It was the standard. In college, I remember seeing my friends and line sisters every day, whether it was catching up on the latest episode of Scandal or last-minute study sessions. It was seamless and easy. Nevertheless, in this current stage of life, your tribe probably has gotten smaller, lives states away, emersed in their passions and careers, and perhaps has started new families. Nurturing your friendships while balancing the many obstacles and responsibilities life throws at us can be challenging. We don’t talk about friendships enough, but they are so important. These are the people we choose, the people we laugh and cry with, the people who hold us accountable while still graciously lifting us. Although you may lose friends or outgrow some along the way, the true friendships that remain should be kept close. Here are some tips on navigating to keep your friends close and your tribe even closer.
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Make the time
Of course, you can’t see friends every day or even every week because – life. However, we absolutely do make time and prioritize what we choose to. Practice being more intentional about making time for grabbing dinner or even planning a trip with your friends. I know with everything taking place with Covid 19, many people may not feel comfortable with dining out or being around people not in their Covid “bubble,” so perhaps planning virtual games nights or happy hours may be more your thing. Whatever your comfortability may be, make the time. This is a way to stay connected, catch up, and continue to make new memories.
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Check-in when you can
You may not have the time always to plan a gathering or meet-up, but a phone call or even a quick text goes a long way. It can be easy for time to pass us by, and the next thing you know, unintentionally, months have gone by without speaking. You never know what your friends are going through, so it is major to see how they are doing and if they’re okay. Making dinner or running errands, give your friend a quick call to check-in.
Hash out any unsaid or current grievances
Over time, your friendships may experience some hardships, as all relationships do. Someone may say or do something hurtful, and it got swept under the rug. You may have needed your friend, and they may not have shown up in the way you needed them to, and vice versa. If you value your friendship and care about them, talk it out. Talking over the hurt and disappointments makes room for you to move past the grievances potentially. This allows you both to get clear on the issue and better understand what your friends may need in the future. Just as romantic friendships require honesty, patience, and nurturing—so make friendships.
Be understanding and give grace
As humans, we become creatures of habit; naturally, we want our friendships and everything else around us to remain the same. It makes us feel safe and provides stability. Nevertheless, as you’re navigating this here thing called life, you’ll change. Your interests, your opinions, your habits will change over time, so your friends will inevitably change as well. It’s unreasonable to expect them to stay the same and be that same person you knew back in the day. Give them grace and allow them to grow. This will not only show that you are a good friend, but this will also be an opportunity for you to become closer.
Whether you’ve been friends for two or twenty years, have one friend or ten friends —friendships are necessary. Embrace the many seasons that your friendships encounter, grow through what you go through.