Adult Friendships and Handling Them In Your 20’s

“We don’t judge. We’re the non-judging breakfast club, we’re your friends.”

Gossip Girl

Growing up every girl wants to feel like they have the ultimate girl group and a Serena to her Blair. You do everything together, and weekends are not weekends unless you have plans with them. Somewhere along the way, you start adulting hard and can’t remember the last time your schedules could align. You get boyfriends, jobs, and just have other responsibilities. Navigating these life circumstances is easy with true friends and it shouldn’t change anything. However, having adult friendships means you need to be adults.

According to a study by Self Magazine, 84% of women said that at some point in their life, they have had a toxic friend. Friendships can be tough as you get older, and they don’t always turn out to be like the one’s we watch on TV where they always perservere and come out stronger than ever. Losing a friend literally hurts more than a break-up sometimes which is why I believe your soul mates are actually your girl friends and not lovers. So how to do you transition your friendships into more independant, adult friendships? I can’t be the only one who has noticed that parents hangout with their friends like, once in a blue moon. How does it get to this point? I don’t want it to get to this point. Do you?

Acknowledging your mistakes and toxic behaviour.

I know that at some point, we all went through a phase in our lives where we can honestly say we weren’t the greatest friends. We weren’t reaching out first, we were doing some shady sh*t, it happens. What matters, is how you acknowledged this behaviour and what you did about it. Call yourself out and face your actions. Reach out to your friend and blatantly tell them what’s been going on, or briefly explain and apologize. Obviously this depends on the situation, but if you’ve been a ghost for weeks or days (depending on your friendship) don’t reach out for the first time and just pour into what’s been going with YOU. Reach out, briefly explain and apologize, ask about THEM, and then go into what’s been happening with you. Your friend is a lot more likely to soften up and understand once you have made an effort to show you care and you were just going through it.

If you find yourself being the friend who is always venting, and looking for your friend to cheer you up – but not quite doing it in return, chances are, this is an issue and you should try to work on it because they probably just aren’t saying anything. BTW, there is a huge difference between venting and bitching. No one, and I mean absolutely no one, likes writing a paragraph and getting “ok” or “thanks.” Also, giving advice and trying to help your friend when they need you, is not replying to their problem by saying “aww, that sucks :(.”Especially if they have gone out of their way to be there for you in the past and give you genuine, good advice. Friendship is a two way street, and it takes work and effort to show your appreciation and love towards your friend(s) but I promise you, you don’t want to take advantage of it. Having true friendship with your girls who have your back, will conquer all the storms that come your way.

Communicate.

If your friend has ever done anything to hurt you, or something is bothering you — communicate about it! Part of entering into adulthood friendships is leaving the childish stuff behind. Be vocal and honest, talk about it, and I guarantee you will both feel much better about moving forward versus carrying it around with you and feeling passive agressive energy because just their very breathing is annoying you.  The worst thing you can do in these situations, is go talk about it with someone else before talking to your friend. Don’t badmouth your friend and spill the dirty laundry because you know who’s going to look like a fool when all is forgiven and mended? You. You will be inviting outsiders from your friendship to judge you on what kind of friend you are and you don’t need to go back and explain yourself to anyone. Keep your issues private and solve them together; like adults!

Lower Your Expectations.

Part of growing up is realizing that no matter how badly you wish you could spend your tuesday getting starbucks and going shopping, you have bills to pay now. And responsibilities. And obligations. And people counting on you. [insert Monica Geller] It sucks, welcome to the real world! You’re gonna love it. Your schedules are not often going to line up with eachother and when your friend has other commitments, don’t be immature about it by taking it personally and getting offended that they’re not putting you first. If the roles were reversed, you’d be doing the same. Your friend is not sitting by her phone waiting to hear from you, and you shouldn’t be doing so either. Go have sex, go to work, do adult things! Don’t be butthurt if you get a reply hours later is what I’m trying to say. 

Being a Concerned Friend VS Being a Bitch.

Okay so, your friends boyfriend or girlfriend is just human garbage. It’s so obvious, there are a million red flags. You just don’t understand why your friend is still hanging around? Well, it’s not for you to understand. There are appropriate and right ways to go about expressing your concern in the interest of your friends well-being. You’re not their parent, and if they don’t listen to your advice, there’s nothing you can do about it. Be a friend by letting them know what you think, and kindly, but support whatever decision they’re made.  The rule is: if you’ve addressed something once, and it continues to happen, they are choosing to let it happen. You did your part and that’s all you can do. Accept it, be supportive, and have your shoulder ready for them to cry on when they need it.

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