Navigating Adult Friendships

It was so much easier to make friends when we were kids. Arguments on the playground only lasted during recess and you were back to being friends before the day was over. But adult friendships? A bit more complicated.

A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.

~Proverbs 17:17

Adults are complicated beings – especially women. Often times we are balancing so much in our lives that making time for friends often comes down to who we can allow in our inner circle that won’t completely drain us.

Here is a secret on adult friendships: Many of us are still suffering from some of those playground hurts. Yes, it is true. There are some areas of our lives that we haven’t healed yet. The best place to heal is often in a healthy friendship.

But how can you have healthy relationships with other adult women?

  1. Learn to be honest about what type of friendship you want. If you are too busy to hang out, call, etc. then you will need a friend who understands that. Seasons change and perhaps this is your busy season. Communication even in friendship is necessary.
  2. What is your value system? Does your friend share the same core values that you have. Sure, we can have different professions, styles and cultures. But if someone is going to be in your inner circle or at least close enough for you to call them a friend, do they have the same value system as you do? Do they have the same spiritual background as you do? And, is this important to you?
  3. What is your love language? Yes, love languages apply in platonic friendships. My dominant love language is quality time. If I’m not spending quality time shopping, eating, hiking, talking or some other form of quality time with a friend, it will be hard for me to develop a meaningful friendship with a person. Get to know your love language(s) and be able to communicate that to a person. You will also need to know theirs so that your friendship can be healthy and loving.
  4. Has the friendship run its course? This is a hard one for a lot of people. No one wants to be seen as the “Mean Girl” and it can be difficult to navigate when a friendship is over. It doesn’t have to be anything major that caused the friendship to dissolve. Growing apart is a fact of life. You are going in one direction and your friend in the other. If the friendship has run its course then be honest about that with yourself and your friend. Conversely, there are times when something bad happens. Evaluate the issue, talk about and move on. We are adults…well we are supposed to be. So let’s act like it. You don’t have to be friends anymore, but you shouldn’t turn into enemies either.
  5. Be a friend. To have a friend you have to be a friend. You cannot expect someone to put time and effort into you if you are not doing the same. Reciprocity is key. Yes, you are quite busy being the entrepreneur, mom, wife, sister and girl boss that you are. But you are no busier than the next person. So you will have to make equal efforts in this category and develop healthy friendships with other women. Our growth is often increased by who we surround ourselves with.

What other important reminders would you add to the list?

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