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As we get older and find ourselves going through new and different phases of our lives, we may find it hard to maintain friendships in adulthood. It’s important to understand that friendships in adulthood don’t look the same as those when we’re children, teenagers or even young adults. Committing to friendships as an adult can often look a lot like committing to a relationship and the ones who stick around make it worth it. Here are six tips on how to keep up with friendships as an adult.

Communication is Key
An open line of communication between friends is always the healthiest way to go, especially when the pressures of adulthood begin to set in. Communicate with those around you about where you’re at. This allows people to better understand what’s going on in your life so they know how to respond to you. It’s important to understand that maintaining friendships as we get older becomes a choice we constantly have to make.

Know When to Hold On and When to Let Go
A lot of our friendships in adulthood come from our younger stages in life and as we get older we realise who our true friends are. A good friendship in adulthood is knowing when to hold on to a true friend, but it is as important to know when it’s time to let someone go. Through the years we see who’s meant to be in our lives for a single season and who’s meant to be there for the long run.

Set Clear Boundaries
Making sure you have good boundaries is imperative to any healthy friendship. Constantly knowing where you stand and how comfortable a person is with certain situations helps to aid any issues one might be struggling to talk about. Boundaries help to keep everyone in check and make everyone aware of what people can and can’t do. It’s also important to remember that as we grow up, we change and evolve and we might lose friends along the way as not everyone grows together.

Make Sure to Balance
It may seem hard to balance all the different tasks in adulthood such as a job or studying, while also keeping up with friends. It’s best to remember that the right friends will understand and always be around to help de-stress rather than feel like a chore. After a long week, catching up with friends should be relaxing and not adding on more pressure or anxiety.

Let Your People Know You Are There
When you’re too busy to be there for someone (or a group of people) physically, remember to call or text. Reminding friends that even when you’re busy you’ve still got them in mind is crucial to maintaining a healthy friendship as an adult – especially when we don’t always know what the next person is going through behind doors. A simple “I’m thinking about you” text always goes a long way.

Have Understanding
As we get older we might find that we don’t have the same amount of time we used to, to see and catch up with friends. Maintaining friendships in adulthood means understanding that you won’t always get to see each other amongst busy lives and schedules. Being understanding to the fact that you can’t see each other constantly, and that even when someone is free they might just want to relax and have a quiet night in, is one of the many ways to keep a friendship going on while also going through adulthood.

Every friendship is different, and every person is different. The ultimate key to maintaining a friendship as an adult is to see what works for you and make sure to navigate any problems or issues you might face, together. By having clear boundaries, healthy communication, good understanding and making sure to grow together – you are all set to enjoy the joys that come with friendship.

Sarah is a third year Bachelor of Arts student at the University of Cape Town majoring in Linguistics, English Literature and Media Studies. Sarah enjoys learning languages and writing and although she’s only written in her notebooks, she’s excited to be writing online. When she’s not re-watching sitcoms, Sarah enjoys learning about technology and programming.
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