Sunday, April 19, 2015

How Adult Friendships Are Different From High School Friendships

friends, work, fun, different

For a lot of people in high school, they think the friends they make there will be their lifetime people. Thankfully, I wasn't one of those so I wasn't disappointed or surprised when graduation day came, and I stopped talking to almost all of those people. But for those who are shocked by that harsh reality, for those who didn't realize you make and stay friends with the people in high school simply because you see them five days a week, here's what I've learned about friendships in adulthood.

Adulthood, no matter how old you are when you finally choose to grow up, comes with a lot of hard stuff. Adults know this, and because of this shared awareness of the possible struggle, friendships can have a more fluid presence in life. There are the friends you make because you see them often such as work friends. There are the friends you make because they are in a similar situation or age group such as friends made over social media. There are the friends you make because of common interests such as friends you make at dance class.

Now let me explain what I mean by friendships being "fluid." In adulthood, since everyone who chooses to participate is aware of bills and responsibilities and time constraints and prioritization, suddenly you don't have to talk or see people everyday to know their status won't change. It's almost as if when you are interacting, you are friends; and when you're not, the relationship is on pause. For example, I have made a lot of great friends through Facebook as I mentioned in The Sisterhood. However, now that I have started a new job on second shift, I don't see or talk to them as much. But as soon as I can make plans or have a need, we pick back up right where we left off.

Same thing goes for work friends. Work friends are the most like high school friends in that the friendship is based on needing to get along so work won't be unpleasant, but in adulthood, that doesn't necessarily mean the friendship ends when you move on from that job. Often times that is exactly what it means since the basis of the friendship is known, but sometimes the work friends are also friends with similar situations and/or common interests so the friendship can continue under one of the other guises.

The last thing I'm going to touch on is friendships that end. In adulthood, awareness of what you need to flourish in your own life can help to catalyze the ends of unhealthy friendships. In adulthood, letting go of toxic people is as easy as breathing so long as you choose to walk away and mean it. For some reason, high school makes it seem like you have to stay in touch with people no matter how much you shouldn't be friends with that person, but it is okay to say that you can't handle having a certain person in your life due to negativity or lackluster personality or whatever other traits should have stayed in high school because guess what. This is adulthood. Ain't nobody got time for that.

In closing, friendships aren't as complicated in adulthood. Yes, they can be more fleeting, but this really is the time when you can actually make and keep those lifetime friends while simultaneously being appreciative of those friends who are meant for only a season. It isn't as big of a deal. We are all allowed to stand up and make for ourselves the lives that we want to have. So go ahead and choose the right influences without feeling guilty about doing what's best for you and yours. And bask in the light that is adult friendships.

What are some differences you have noticed between high school friends and adult friends? Do you see a fluidity in adult friendships or would you describe it as something else?