Adult Friendships & Mental Health

Do you have a friend with whom you can cry, laugh, and share your most private secrets? Or looking for a trusted friend to do life with? If yes to either of those questions, then you understand the importance of friendships. And you may have noticed that at some point in your life friendships were harder to maintain or to cultivate new ones – welcome to Friendships in Adulthood.

What is the Impact of COVID-19 on Adult Friendships?

Much like a plant or any living thing, the more care and attention are given to friendships, the stronger they grow and the more connected people feel.​ So when COVID-19 came along, and the term “social distancing” became the new norm, friendships were tested.

The pandemic may have shifted your attention away from what you care about and who you are most likely to encounter. While it may have ended some friendships, others didn’t last long either. You may have also seen some relationships held by fondness and some fading away without an anchor.

Wasn’t this the time when you realized the worth of friendships? Your friends are among the most important sources of comfort and support during stress. You might have felt lonely and emotionally troubled because of the limited face-to-face interaction that resulted from the COVID-19 pandemic’s stay-at-home orders and physical distance requirements.

Close ties are essential for assisting people in overcoming such obstacles. In addition to satisfying basic demands for social belonging, your strong relationships can provide much-needed emotional support and affirmation.

Ways Adult Friendships Help Boost Mental Health

Are you wondering how adult friendships can help with mental health and well-being? Adult friendships can benefit a person’s well-being in several ways, from enhancing confidence to fostering personal development.

Here are some benefits of maintaining friendships in adulthood:

  • Provide emotional support

Do you sometimes feel depressed, overwhelmed, or that you need emotional support while going through difficult periods in your lives? Well, telling a trusted friend who is a good listener about your terrible day or trying times can improve your mental health.

  • Boost confidence and self-love

You may have some moments of low confidence where you don’t feel like doing anything. You may feel like the most demotivated person alive. But consistent, trusted friends can boost your self-confidence by complimenting you on your self-worth or on how hard you’ve worked on a project. Friendships typically go both ways, so offering your friends compliments, words of encouragement, and being there for them can make you feel purposeful and improve your self-esteem as well.

  • Help with personal growth

You may occasionally experience feelings of not doing enough or that you haven’t grown much as a person. Having a supportive group of friends can aid you in seeing the progress you’ve made or motivate you to attempt new challenges and work on your personal development.

  • Prevent feelings of loneliness

You may experience feelings of loneliness, especially during the isolation brought on by the pandemic, or just having busier schedules. Healthy friendships can promote social interactions and improve your mental health, whether it is through texting and catching up, in-person meetups, or the occasional Zoom or FaceTime check-ins.

Why You Might Be Struggling To Maintain Adult Friendships?

Have you recently lost friends but don’t know why? People can occasionally drift away, especially as life’s complexity and responsibilities increase. However, it’s not always the case. There are other reasons why you could be losing friends.

  • You Might Not Have Enough Time

Adult connections are challenging, particularly given that everyone has their career, life, and obligations. Maintaining positive relationships and spending time with friends are harder and harder automatically. Always be sure to schedule regular time to check up with your buddies. If you have the time, talk to them in person, but if not, pick up the phone and inquire about how they are doing.

  • Your interests change

And it’s all right! Friends can grow apart over time if they quit sharing the same interests and don’t have as many things in common. It simply demonstrates that not everything is intended to last indefinitely, and we must accept that.

  • Fears of Losing the Friendships

Sometimes when we’ve been friends with someone for a really long time or we value the friendship we can unintentionally sabotage it. That could mean becoming extremely possessive and/or controlling or becoming more withdrawn, by “not wanting to bother them”. You can discuss it with your friend if you’ve been feeling a little self-conscious, restricted, or suffocated by the friendship. In a gentle manner, let them know what’s troubling you. If certain behaviors have caused you or your friend to withdraw, find out what is upsetting them and address it.

  • You Lack Energy or Motivation

It may be difficult for you to keep up friendships if you’re going through a difficult period or are not mentally at your best. Your mental condition has already taken too much of your brain’s ability. The inverse is also true; if you notice your friends are withdrawing, they may be going through a difficult period. Be sure to check in with them and find out how they are feeling and what is truly going on in their lives. You might discover a lot, and continue building a strong friendship.

The Takeaway

Having a support system can assist you in staying committed to your goals, adopting healthy behaviors, and stepping outside of your comfort zone to have hard conversations. The people we trust and hold dear to us affect our lives and decisions. Be sure to offer your friends the care they require or to ask for it when necessary.

More resources on adult friendships and mental health:

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