When we’re growing up, few things are more important to us than the friendships we forge. However, after entering adulthood, many of us have problems maintaining old friendships and forming new ones. In some cases, this is due to factors outside of our control, such as relocation, shifting priorities and busy work schedules. Other times, our inability to keep friendships rolling falls squarely on us. So, if you’ve had difficulty maintaining friendships as an adult, be mindful of the following habits.
All of us have had to cancel plans at one time or another. And to be clear, there are many good reasons for doing so – with illness, family emergency and dangerous weather conditions being among the most notable. However, if you have a propensity for canceling plans on short notice for strange reasons, it’s easy to see why your friends might become fed up. While the occasional cancellation is to be expected, regularly backing out of plans for reasons that are difficult to discern is behavior that is unbecoming of a committed friend.
So, before making plans with friends, take some time to carefully consider whether you’ll be able to honor those plans. For example, if you have family or work-related responsibilities that make going out with friends difficult, committing to a get-together may not be the wisest course of action. At the end of the day, it’s better to avoid committing than flaking at the last minute – barring an emergency, of course. Additionally, if you suspect the origins of your flakiness may lie in mental health issues, consider speaking to a therapist or counselor.
Expecting Too Much
If you have the freedom to regularly cut loose but your friends don’t, try not to burden them with unrealistic expectations. While you may not have a demanding job or family responsibilities to attend to, it’s important to understand that your friends may not be similarly uncommitted. So, rather than get frustrated with them for being unable to hang out as often as you’d like, take some time to consider their personal schedules before insisting that they commit to plans with you.
Refusal to Reinitiate Contact
Some people simply assume that if certain friends wanted to reinitiate contact, they’d be the ones to take the initiative. In their minds, the fact that friends have not taken point on reinitiating contact means that they don’t wish to get back in touch. While it’s true that not every friend you’ve ever made will want to stay in touch, it’s unfair to place the burden of reinitiating contact squarely on other people. After all, it’s entirely possible that someone has taken your lack of contact to mean that you have no interest in keeping in touch.
So, if you’re eager to start talking to someone again, set your pride aside and be the one who reaches out. You’re liable to discover that the person in question is just as eager to resume your friendship.
General Lack of Effort
While good friendships can provide you with a tremendous amount of fun and fulfillment, maintaining them will take a bit of effort on your part. So, if you’ve been operating on autopilot with regard to your friendships, don’t be surprised if some friends become resentful about having to put in the lion’s share of the effort. In the interest of preserving your most important friendships, it is imperative that you commit yourself to honoring plans, providing emotional support as needed and reciprocating goodwill.
It also helps if you and your friends are passionate about shared causes. For example, if you and any like-minded friends are eager to learn more about domestic terrorism prevention or stopping targeted violence, don’t hesitate to visit The McCain Institute.
As is the case with any type of relationship, successful friendships require work on the part of both parties. In the absence of proper effort, you shouldn’t be surprised to see various lines of communication start closing. While there’s no denying that friendships become harder to maintain as we enter our adult years, keeping important connections intact isn’t nearly as difficult as some adults make it look. Anyone looking to keep their friendships going strong well into adulthood would do well to heed the advice outlined above.