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Friendships in Adulthood

By Roamers Therapy | April 2023

There are some transitions we expect to experience in adulthood, but many changes during this period come as a surprise. No one prepares us for the shifts in our friendships, or the difficulty of navigating friendships in adulthood. From childhood to young adulthood, initiating and maintaining friendships may have seemed an easier task. Adults at daycare, schools, and in our families may have engaged in conversations about friends and facilitated the process of making friends. Additionally, the amount of time spent in daycare or other educational settings allows us to easily maintain friendships since we see those people almost daily. Over time, others’ involvement in our friendships decreases and so does the frequency of interacting with friends. We may notice a shift in our friendships between high school and college or in entering the workforce. These shifts may feel more intense as we continue growing throughout our lives, learning how to balance work, family, self care, and more. 

How do you make new friends in adulthood?

  • Reflect on what you value in a friendship. You may not be able to filter out where to meet people based on these values but they will provide you with a foundation when you start meeting people. 
  • Make an effort to deepen relationships with people you already know. Are there people in social spaces you are currently a part of that you might connect with? These people can be neighbors, coworkers, members of the same organization or people from extracurricular activities. Try going beyond situation-based conversation and explore common interests and/or share things about yourself. 
  • Join groups or go to spaces where you can meet people based on mutual interests. If you enjoy reading books, you might join a book club. If you enjoy sports, you may go to a sports bar. 
  • Try friendship apps. Just like dating apps can help you narrow down potential prospects, friendship apps can too. Apps can be a convenient way of meeting people from home and getting a sense of what another person is like before deciding to meet up. 
  • Overall, remember to have patience, make an effort to initiate, and step out of your comfort zone. 

How do you maintain friendships in adulthood?

  • Make time for connection. Reflect on your responsibilities and schedule and set aside some time each week or month to have in-person interactions with friends. With long-distance friendships, make an effort to interact via text/phone call and plan at least one to two in-person interactions. 
  • Communicate. Frequency and amount of communication does not dictate the genuineness of a friendship. It is no secret that adulthood comes with many responsibilities and there may be times where you can’t find the time or energy to connect with friends. This is okay! Let your friends know you may not be as available so they are aware you are not distancing yourself, simply busy during that period. 
  • Be open and honest. Trust is maintained through vulnerability. Don’t be afraid to let close friends inside your world!

While our physical offices are located in South Loop and Lakeview neighborhoods in Chicago, Illinois for in-person sessions, we also welcome and serve clients for online therapy from anywhere in Illinois and Washington, D.C. Clients from the Chicagoland area may choose in-office or online therapy and usually commute from surrounding areas such as River North, West Loop, Gold Coast, Old Town, Lincoln Park, Lake View, Rogers Park, Logan Square, Pilsen, Bridgeport, Little Village, Bronzeville, South Shore, Hyde Park, Back of the Yards, Wicker Park, Bucktown and many more.