What role does friendship play in your life?
As we get older, the relationships we have change. There’s a lot of focus on finding a romantic partner and maintaining family connections, so in adulthood sometimes friendship takes a backseat. We only have so much time after all, and between the demands of work, home, and family it can be hard to find the time to prioritize friends. Friendship is an important type of relationship at every stage of life, though, and adulthood is no exception.
Friendship is a bond unlike any other. Friends are support systems, chosen family, confidants, cheerleaders, and more. Sharing a history with someone is powerful. When you’re friends with someone for a while, you get to know each other on a deeper level. You’ll have shared memories and inside jokes. The good things in life feel even better when you can share them with someone you care about deeply.
Why is it important to have friends as an adult?
One relationship can’t meet all your needs. We’re human, and we’re built for connection with others. No two people will have the exact same needs, and that’s okay. We’re designed to be in community, which can involve romantic partners, family members, and friends of all kinds.
It’s hard to be around the same person all the time, even if you love each other very much. Having a variety of people you spend time with can help you meet different needs. For example, you might have friends who help you nurture your creativity, and others who give you helpful advice. Friendships can serve all sorts of purposes.
There are even different kinds of friendship. Some friendships are based on utility or proximity. Think of the relationships you have with coworkers or neighbors. It might seem like this type of friendship isn’t as important as others, but it’s always helpful to have people in your life that you can turn to, even if it’s for something like bringing in the mail when you’re out of town.
Other friendships might be based on something more personal, like a hobby or mutual interest. These friendships can provide a sense of community and help you meet new people. Interests tend to change, so these types of friendships don’t always stand the test of time. That’s okay!
Close friendships are the “best friends” kind of friendships. Close friends share deep, meaningful connections with one another. Often close friendships develop from these less intimate types of friendships over time. Each kind of friendship serves a different purpose.
What other benefits does friendship provide? Here are 4 ways friendship makes our lives better:
Friendship provides support
Friends are often a big source of support for one another. Friendship gives you someone to confide in, someone to ask questions to, someone to laugh with, someone to get advice from, or just a shoulder to lean on. While we can’t choose our family, we can’t choose our friends. For people who don’t have relationships with their families for whatever reason, friends can be especially important. Friends help us when things get tough in our lives. They give us advice, comfort, and emotional safety.
Friends help us feel accepted
Friendships increase our sense of belonging. When we feel accepted by others, it feels good. It’s hard to be alone. We’re not designed for it, and loneliness can have serious consequences physically and mentally. Having people who accept you for who you are can help you feel more secure. We all have insecurities, and having friends who accept us anyway makes a big difference.
Friends can boost confidence
It feels good to be cared about by someone. When you know that you have someone in your corner, it can give you a nice boost of confidence. Friends can help remind you of all that you have to offer. Hearing what your friends admire about you can give you reassurance in moments of doubt or insecurity. Even if you don’t feel super confident, imagine how your friends would talk to you. How would they help pump you up? What would they tell you? Give yourself that little pep talk when you can’t get it from them directly.
Friendship enriches our lives
Not only do friends give us support, help us feel accepted, and boost our confidence, but they just make life better. Life is more enjoyable with friends of all kinds. Sharing our lives with friends is fun. Friends can push us to be our best and encourage us when we need it. Everyday experiences can feel more meaningful when we share them with the people we care about. Friendship is a mutual relationship – it takes two people to make it work. So not only do you get all of these benefits, your friends do too. That’s pretty awesome!
Friendship is an essential part of life. For more support when it comes to relationships of all kinds, from the one you have with yourself to the ones you have with others, try working with a therapist. Therapy can help you learn more about your relational patterns and give you a new perspective on relating to others. Take the first step and get started today.