The Growing Pains of Adult Friendships

If you’re blessed to have long term friendships, then you understand that they can be a beautiful source of happiness, joy, and support. Sometimes our friends understand us better than our families do! It’s a blessing when you have a support system you can fall back on through those difficult times such as bad breakups, moving pains, or job changes! When we are younger, we automatically make friends and maintain them due to our environment such as schooling. And if we are lucky enough, those friendships continue to blossom as time goes on! But no one ever talks about the fine balance of maintaining friendships as adults while simultaneously growing individually!

We make friends that resonate with us in the present moment. And as humans, we are not hard wired to stay the same forever. As we grow on our own individual paths, it can feel difficult to maintain healthy friendships. Our belief systems begin to change as we get older, our former interests no longer feel exciting to us, and it can feel like we are being catapulted into other directions. Not to mention all the external factors such as our careers, relationships, and location which can all influence us and our paths! With all of us undergoing our own individual changes, it can feel challenging maintaining the older friendships we have. It can feel even harder when you are growing apart from people who have always had your back.

Maintaining friendships does not have to be as challenging as we make it. It’s important we prioritize the love that exists within those connections! We are all on our own individual path. The people we bring with us on the journey play an essential role to who we are! Honoring the history of a friendship while also being curious to who you are individually becoming is essential to healthy friendships. The person standing in front of you is also growing and changing in their own unique way. Rather than judging the new energy showing up, approach your friends with curiosity and compassion! 

Transparency and honesty about feelings is the glue which holds our friendships together. Communicate truthfully about your feelings within your friendships and don’t hold back when something feels off to you. The more honest you are, the less likely there will be building resentment within your dynamics. It’s normal to not see eye to eye on everything within your friendships. As we grow and change, our beliefs will differentiate with those around us. Stay open to what others have to say and where they are coming from.

Don’t panic if you feel like a friendship is drifting! It’s natural for our dynamics to have ebbs and flows. Make sure to check in with one another and carve out quality time together. This can be done in person, over the phone, or virtually. Ask questions about each other’s lives, be curious about any new interests your friends may have and want to share! The more engaged you are in one another’s new explorations, the more open communication there will be and support.

If a friendship naturally runs its course, don’t try to force the connection! It will only make it harder for you to grieve the relationship. Be happy and grateful for the beautiful companionship and what it taught you during that time! Reflect on those memories with fondness and remember the lessons that the dynamic taught you. Some friendships are only meant to last a season. But be hopeful and optimistic about the new connections that will begin to embrace you on the new chapter of your journey!


Featured photo: Insecure/HBO

Ellen Bowles is a creative, healer, and writer from Los Angeles, CA. Ellen is the co-author of ASTROLOGY SOS: An Astrological Survival Guide to Life, published by Hardie Grant UK and Chronicle Books. She has been featured in publications such as Well+Good, Bustle, PopSugar, and InStyle.

Instagram: @ellensbowles


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