Healthy Friend Relationships in Adulthood
We were happy, skipping, laughing, making plans for a future that never arrived, and in a blink, everything changed.
Dreaming on how we will be roommates until we marry two guys/girls that are also best friends and love the same bands as we do, and we will be eternally in each other’s lives.
The phone calls aren’t that frequent anymore, and the laughs are to mask something else. We see ourselves bragging and competing to see who has the most prominent house or more diplomas.
Welcome to adulthood!
Yes, it is, though, and somehow, we never seem to be concerned about it, and we might let t go from the good people we have met because of a silly misunderstanding, petty fights, and some disagreement.
Then, when we look back, we see how much we miss those friends and start to look for replacements.
Thou it’s not impossible, it can sometimes be a challenge since we might be holding higher expectations.
Is it even possible?
However, it is not impossible to build healthy friendships as an adult. Let’s consider single or those in a committed relationship, where their partners let them be and meet other people, partners encourage and respect each other’s individuality.
Of course, when we are single, we tend to hang with people more into single people stuff, like dating randomly, parties, and mingling opportunities.
In contrast, those already in a relationship will move towards other couples, families, and people with similar lifestyles.
Still, the principles to create a healthy friendship are the same because we are all dealing with humans, and humans, even thous seem complicated, are not.
Let’s see below the main principles to have a Health Friend Relationship in Adulthood.
1- Be open
The thing with making friends as an adult is that we might be looking at things all wrongly.
We want people to be and do exactly like us, which is impossible because we come from different backgrounds. Also, each of us is unique and special.
Be open to welcome people that you usually would not even consider talking with because these are the ones that might bring that missing piece to your life.
For sure, the ones that you less expect also might teach you something new.
So if it’s an age issue, racial, background, or educational difference, learn to receive it as a gift from heaven, not something to be despised.
2- Respect your limits
We love to talk about how someone disrespected us, how rude somebody else is, but again it comes to the fact that we are all different, and we must know who we are and what we are looking for in a friendship.
If you don’t like or feel comfortable with something you don’t like, make it known.
Do not try to do things that are not of your nature, to impress your friends, or to feel that you belong.
People, in general, do respect and admire those who live by principles—more than the ones that seek superficial approval and validation.
Respect your own beliefs, and it will be easier to set and make others understand the following principle.
3- Set Boundaries
As you respect yourself, you will find yourself with friends who care and respect your boundaries.
But even if you are a straightforward person and still have to deal with some misbehavior from your friends, then it’s time to set more clear boundaries.
Let’s say, for example, that your friends are from a different religious belief that celebrates Christmas, and you don’t; still, your friends keep asking why don’t you do it or saying that you are boring for not doing so.
You can call the friends individually or together and explain why you do not celebrate it and how it makes you feel when they mock you and show how you do not return the favor but still love their friendship.
And that you do not want to be ridiculed any longer for your religious choices.
Many of us quickly become pleasers, fearing offending others, by setting boundaries to how they should treat us, which is a big mistake. You set boundaries to avoid that others are hurting you and disrespecting you.
4 – Keep it Two Ways
Just like in a love relationship, friendships are two ways. There are no winners; there is no sole beneficiary.
All the parts involved should be equally empathetic and compassionate to a certain level. Otherwise, there is an imbalance. And, where exists an imbalance emerges pain and suffering.
It is not about paying back, or if your friend handles you a gift, you have to go and get something of similar value.
It is more about, if your friend has your back, the minimum you can do is have their back.
And if it comes to a point where you feel that you are giving too much or “taken advantage of, “stop it.
Reevaluate why you are friends with that person, figure out how to approach the subject, and make it known to the exciting parts. They might receive it gracefully and try to make it up to you.
Or they might not give a damm.
Again it’s about you, if you want or not to be in that relationship if you feel it is worthy or not.
5 – Make sure everyone it’s ok with your friends
We live in a world where egocentrism is treated as an empowerment skill of few that you should master if you want to be respected and successful.
But it is one of those quotes we see in the back of the truck. It might sound fun and make us think, but in reality, it is incredibly foolish.
As young teenagers, we have our parents telling us if the neighbor’s kids are great to hang with or not, and if we are not the neighbor’s kids, the chances that our parents are right about them are high.
Then as adults, we have the members of the church, our partners, or our managers giving us advice about who we should or should not hang. Of course, you must make your own decisions and see for yourself who is good or not.
But in some instances, it is not worth risking your marriage over a friendship with someone that has a behavior that might not be acceptable to our partners. Well, you don’t have to make this known, but you can, in a very subtle way, make the friend know that you will keep the respect and kindness but that you are no longer interested in hanging with them.
And the faster you do better! Avoid unnecessary conflicts inside of your work environment and household because of an unhealthy friendship.
I know it sounds harsh, but I think we all rather be sad for being unfriended by someone than being hated by our boss or partners for not showing that we care about their opinion and image.
Here is a question on what your priority is.
Do you have a lifetime friendship? Drop on the comment below. How do you do to keep it strong and alive!
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