6 Things That Make Adult Friendships So Damn Hard

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friendship is hard

Be my bestie?

Friendship. It's super important. 

When we're kids, the friends we make are the very first relationships we develop outside of those with our family.

Over time, our friends can become the family that we choose, rather than the one we're born into.

This makes them extra special, and gives them an important place in our lives. 

But friendship isn't always easy.

It comes with its fair share of challenges. There are fights, misunderstandings, and a million other tiny dramatic escapades that need to be waded through if you hope to maintain a friendship in the long term. 

Becoming an adult is maybe the toughest challenge your friendship will ever face. There's a lot of great stuff about being an adult, but there's a lot of tough stuff too, and learning to balance your friendships and the rest of your adult life is one of the toughest things ever. 

Here are 6 things that make adult friendships so damn hard! 

1. We don't go to school anymore.

When we're growing up, we spend a lot of time at school, where we make intense friendships, some of which will last through our lives.

But once we grow up, we meet less new people, and even when we meet new people there is less opportunity for bonding, and less opportunities to make besties for life. 

Also, when we're still in school this means you straight up spend MORE TIME with the people in your life who become your friends. When you were growing up, you spent six to eight hours a day with your best friends, for five days a week (and that's minus any time you spend hanging out on the weekend). Sometimes you do this for thirteen years in a row, kindergarten through high school!

Without a rigorous schedule like this, as you get older, it's hard to find the time to see each other and nurture these tight knit relationships the way we did as kids. 


2. We work full time. 

When you have a job it is easy to get stuck in a routine. You get up, go to work, go home, eat dinner, and go to bed. This doesn't exactly leave you with a lot of time for stuff like socializing. Sure, we all have friends we hang out with at work, but for the most part we don't want to hang out with them after work because those are WORK friendships and anything that reminds us of work is the worst. 

On top of all that, when we're at work, there's less time built in for socialization. Sure, there are lunch breaks and Skype chats, but they are far from our priority or the reason we're at work. Your boss wants you to do your job, not connect with the people with the people around you. 

3. Talking on the phone is the absolute worst. 

Smartphones are great for taking pictures, keeping up with folks on social media, and catching as many Pokemon as you can catch. They are also good for texting.

You know what they aren't great for? Talking on the phone. Because who even does that anymore? Basically no one.

When we were kids, it was easy to maintain friendships by spending hours on the phone talking about nothing. But now you can't think of a worse way to kill a friendship than by calling "just to chat". 

When I was in middle school and high school I would talk to my best friends for hours on the phone. It didn't matter that we'd just seen each other, we wanted to know what had happened in the small amount of time that we HAD NOT been together.

When we're older and have more responsibilities, we just don't have the time to dedicate to talking about nothing (and everything) the way we did when we were younger. 

4. We don't live close to each another.

In college we made important, deep friendships that we could never imagine ending.

But you know what usually winds up happening after college? You all move. To different places. All over the country. And sometimes even the world.

If you thought maintaining a friendship with your college buddy was going to be tough when you got placed in separate dorms, you have no idea what fresh hell awaits you after graduation.

When we were younger, our friends were our friends because of geography. We lived close to each other, went to the same school, and had the same schedule of activities. But once you're an adult, it's more common for your friends to be dispersed to the four corners of the earth.

Friendship turns into another obligation, and that's the opposite of what they should be. 

5. Our lives are changing constantly. 

Nobody tells you this, but once you enter the world of adulthood things change really quickly. The friend you who hangs out with you every Friday could decide to move to Ohio and pursue a whole new career overnight.

You and your bestie might have to totally re-calibrate your relationship when one of you gets married or has a kid. Our priorities shift as we grow up and sadly sometimes friendship is what gets the short shrift. 

When my best friend had her son I knew that things were going to change in our friendship. She knew, too, but I think it's safe to say that she was in a bit of denial about it. There was a real learning curve that went into place the minute her son was born. We both had to make concessions and sacrifices in order to keep our friendship alive.

It takes WORK to maintain a real friendship, the kind of work that a lot of people just aren't willing make time for. 


6. It's not just about "me" anymore.

When you're a kid all you have to manage is you. That basically means remembering to eat what your mom puts in your hand and also peeing when you have to pee. As an adult, it isn't just about me anymore. There are demanding bosses, and needy pets, roommates, boyfriends, kids, husbands, wives, the whole damn deal.

Making friendships a priority among all of that? It can feel like a goddamn luxury. 

As a child, friendship is easy. It's a delight. It's a treat in the way that a freshly baked cookie can be a treat. Your friendships are an escape from the routine of your daily life.

but now that we're older, and pressures and responsibilities are mounting, friendships can slip down the long list of things that matter. 

But it's important to nurture them even as they change and we change.

Without our friends, we're less ourselves. We need our friends, and they need us ... work and hardship be damned.