Maintain Adult Friendships Tips
  • | October 4, 2016
As an adult man, you most probably already know maintaining adult friendships differs from those you experienced in your childhood and teenage years. Adult friendships are characterized by deeper bonds and more mature connections. Successful adult friendships can last a lifetime if you take care of them. But how do you go about building those friendships? 

Here are some tips to help you maintain and develop your adult friendships:

  1. Be honest about your intentions. Like all types of relationships, friendships that aren’t developed on solid and honest foundations are doomed to fail. If you want to be friends with someone, take a moment and ask yourself, “Do I want the friendship for fair reasons? Will I be honest with this person?” Different relationships serve different purposes. It's possible you'll meet a new person who has access to something you would also like access to, like a local basketball team to play pickup games with a few times a week. It's perfectly alright to ask your new friend to connect you with this team, even if you don't see yourself maintaining this particular friendship for the long haul. However, you need to be honest about it. If you start your friendship with an ulterior motive in mind, your true motivations will eventually come up to the surface, and you’ll find your intentions exposed. Then you can say goodbye to any hope of developing further connections or relationships with that friend or others in his circle.

  2. In the case of misunderstandings, try to fix things. When we keep long-lasting friendships, we tend to feel too familiar with the other person and can utter hurtful words or take inconsiderate actions without thinking. This is natural because we, as humans, are not flawless. If a misunderstanding arises with your new friend, try to repair things by leaving your ego behind and expressing your remorse in both words and actions. Remember: you're not kids anymore. There's no time or need for dancing around a topic or issue; confront the misunderstanding directly if you want any hope of patching things up and moving on with your friendship.

  3. Show your respect and appreciation. Again, when we get too comfortable with another person, it’s easy to neglect expressing the gratitude and appreciation we have for them. Your friends will have their flaws, but keep in mind that you're friends for a reason. If you managed to maintain a healthy, successful friendship so far, you should make a point of appreciating their presence even more. Don't take your friends for granted.

  4. Have realistic standards and expectations. When you were younger, there were different requirements that made your friendships work, and you anticipated different things from those friends. Quality adult friendships function differently. Keep in mind that by this time, your friends have developed their own lives, families, and careers that have given them new responsibilities, and your friendship will be prioritized somewhere among these responsibilities. It’s okay to expect your friends to react in a certain way or be there for you in a certain moment of crisis, but as the situation and circumstances vary, you'll need to accept there may be times when they simply can't be there. Maintain realistic standards, and you'll never feel disappointed when a friend doesn't put you first.

  5. Be compassionate. One of the most important reasons people form adult friendships is to gain mutual support and companionship in case a troubling situation If you want your friend to be supportive of you and compassionate about your concerns, you have to do the same. Listen to their struggles, and make them feel like you are always there for them without making them feel guilty or burdensome about it. Even more than young friendships, adult friendships are about give-and-take. You get back what you put in. The more kind and devoted you are to your friend, the more they'll return the sentiment.

As a general rule, it's important to nurture your adult friendships. Be kind, understanding, and compassionate, and you'll find your relationship will flourish into something equally fun and rewarding for both of you.

Good luck!