Defining Adult Friendships

Someone once told me that most of the people you are friends with in your early 20s will fall by the wayside and your friends circle will shrink immensely. Ironically, I am no longer friends with that person. No bad blood, but eventually we stopped saying, “We have to meet up for drinks!” knowing that it would never happen.

The truth is when we are younger, friendships are all about proxemics. From pre-k through high school, we were in the same class. In college, we lived in the same dorm, pledged the same sorority, were the same major, or all of the above. It was easy to make friends.

When you’re an adult it gets a little more tricky. The person was right, your close circle does get smaller. Friendship begin to fall into pockets. You can still have a lot of friends, but there’s probably different levels.

The Work Friend

My first real job after college was at a small family owned company in the garment industry. When I say small I mean there were five of us and three of them were brothers. I was only there for 18 months, but during that entire time I did not have a single work friend. It was highly depressing.

It wasn’t until I started my second job that I actually made work friends. It makes the day go by so much faster if you have someone to chat with. Sometimes these friends lead to happy hours and/or substantial friendships, but at the very least you will have someone to vent to about how annoying your boss is being. Which, in my opinion, is vital to surviving in any work place.

The activity specific friend

There are some friends that you really only see when you’re doing a specific activity. For example, you take the same yoga class every Saturday. These friendships could stay within the yoga studio or grow into something more.

In my case, it’s blogger friends. We see each other at events or fashion shows – sometimes planned, sometimes not. I’m closer to some than I am to others, but I have a strong network that I’ve built over the years

I will say that finding people with common interests is the easiest way to spark friendships. No need to force it or going looking for it, but it definitely happens.

The long distance friend

If you attended a college that is even a two – three hour away from your home base, you probably have a few long distance friends. Compound that with the fact that as we get older people from your home base might decide to eventually relocate. Long distance friendships are inevitable.

I’ve found that they are steady as you make them. With technology, not much has to change as far as contact is concerned. I have a friend who recently moved out of the country and we still talk like we did when she lived here. Yes, we may not be having brunches and going to happy hour, but we still have an idea of what is happening in each other’s day-to-day lives.

If you have long distance friendships make sure to continue to check-in and plan at least one trip per year! Don’t let a ton of time lapse between seeing each other. Just pick an affordable and convenient time to make your way there to keep the bond strong.

The friend you’re not sure if you’ve outgrown

So, there are some friends that we simply outgrow. This could be for a multitude of reasons. Maybe they’re in a different place in life from you. For example, you’re settled down in a serious relationship and they’re still out every night (or vice versa). Maybe your personalities clash a bit and you are tired of the unnecessary drama. Maybe the friendship simply ran its course. Not everyone is meant to be on your journey.

For friendships like this there’s no need for a dramatic fallout. Just let things happen naturally. Eventually the chips will fall where they are supposed to.

The “are we even friends?” friend

Beware of the one-sided friendship. You know the friend who seems to know everything about you, but doesn’t ever share anything about themselves (even when prompted). Or worse, the friend who can spend an entire hangout talking about how great their life is going without even checking in to see how you’re doing.

Friendships should evolve over time. They should be benefitting to both parties. Nothing is wrong with having acquaintances that you only see on occasion. The problem is if you consider a person a friend that should really be considered an acquaintance.

The best friend(s)

We all need a best friend (or best friends). Those people who we can fall back on in an emergency or when we simply need to vent (or vice versa). They check-in and know things about our lives and we do the same for them.

Best friends are the people that you know are coming to special events in your life without you even asking. They love you unconditionally flaws and all. I believe that best friends are the family you choose and are an essential to life.