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Adult Friendships are Hard

Y’all, adult friendships are hard! The other day I read a post that said. “No body talks about Jesus’s miracle of having twelve close friends in his mid-thirties.” Could not be any truer-and I’m in my mid-twenties!

The other day I got to sit down with a group of amazing gals that I asked to be on a panel and our favorite sorority AOPi at SHSU to talk about how to navigate friendships as a young adult.

What Friendship Has Looked Like in My Life

For me, growing up my mom was the neighborhood nanny. I had kids at my house every day and never had to learn what it was like to be alone. It’s a big reason why I still have the same best friend from when I was three years old. I had the childhood that most people dream of. I got to live in the same town my whole life. Go to school with the same kids. Have the same friends all the way past graduation. While that was all amazing it gave me a false reality of what friendships would look like as an adult.

After my friends left for college and I was still in the same town doing the same things. I realized that I lucked out up until then and didn’t realize that having to go out to make friends was something I ever had to do. I assumed that everyone I talked to wanted to be my friend because for most of my childhood everyone was friends with everyone.

When we graduate and become young adults, we lose our ability to remember that everyone is still looking for friends. We turn into awkward people don’t know how to have a conversation about anything other than clothes and the weather. (PS. I always hear the cliche about the weather topic and think I don’t talk about the weather and then realize in every social setting I’m the first one to bring it up!) Maybe I’m the only one who made this weird transition, but if not keep reading.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a talker. From the outside it always looks like I have a ton of friends. But the truth is the amount of people I can truly count on and who truly know me are small. Being an enneagram 7 I tend to be the life of the party but always take people by surprise when they realize how deep and sappy I actually am.

Learning to Be Vulnerable is Part of It

With age I learned that I don’t really care to change who I am to fit into a certain group of people but it doesn’t change the fact that every time I still feel the initial pressure to. It takes being vulnerable to be your true self around anyone, but especially those who you think will reject you.

If you don’t know who Brené Brown is, first off- you’re living under a rock and need to YouTube her Ted Talks right now. Then, you need to watch her Netflix special it’s amazing and you will laugh and cry all at the same time. She’s a shame and vulnerability researcher and she brings so much power to being your true self.

How to be Vulnerable with Others

We know that in order to put yourself out there to make a friend you have to be in a state of vulnerability. It can take a lot out of you to even start a conversation with someone-especially for our introverts.

Someone recently asked me, “How do you let someone know it’s okay to be vulnerable with you?” I told her, “It starts with letting them know that they’re welcome just as they are. Inviting them to join you. Genuinely getting to know them and their story all while you share the same.”

Adult friendships are hard, but they are so worth it.

If I Could Go Back, This is What I’d Tell Myself

We ended our chat with the girls with answering the question, “What would you tell your college age self about friendship?”

Here’s what I would tell her, “You don’t have to agree on everything to gain value from a friendship. In fact not agreeing is almost even more valued because then you’re stepping out of an echo chamber of opinions and moving towards a space where you can truly see another person’s point of view.”

Over the past two years I have tried to be so intentional about making friends and having conversations with others who I know initially have a different outlook than I do. I want to build community with people who don’t think the same way I do, look the same way I do, or believe the same way I do.

Remember, everyone wants the same thing and everyone is too scared to go first. That’s why we show up to events alone and stand to the side scrolling our phones in the hopes that someone will come up to us so we don’t have to bite the bullet and do it ourselves. I’m going to challenge you to be the one to go first. You never know who you may be introducing yourself to. You may look back ten years from now and be so thankful you decided to go over and say “Hey, I love your shirt. Where’s it from?”

If you could tell your college aged self one thing about friendships, what would it be? Comment below and tell me!

Want to read more about this? Check out this post from my friend Jeanette Tapley!