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Why You Have Fewer Friends as You Grow up (and It’s Normal)

Why You Have Fewer Friends as You Grow up (and It’s Normal)

Having good people skills, I know how to make people feel interested and connected. I’m never worried to have no friend. But as I grow up, I find that I have fewer and fewer friends.

And this is not just happening to me.

It is a fairly common feature with everyone. The root of the problem is the way we made those friends in the first place when we young, heart whole and fancy-free.

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    Photo credit: Source

    Everyone makes friends wrong when they were young

    Recall your best friends in high school. What made you become friends in the first place? And how did all that start out? Maybe it was because you sat beside her on the first day of school, started to chat and just decided that hey, you guys did get along famously. So you became friends, spending time together during breaks and hanging out after school…

    Or maybe both of you were on the football team and there came to be a friendship when your team won or lost, or when you all just practiced hard under the watchful eye of the mean coach. All of you were in a similar state of mind and got close because you all understood how the other felt – because you felt the same way.

    What drew you close and held your bonds of friendship together was a common experience. You were in the same situation together. You understood each other. You reveled in each other’s success and shed tears over failures – slowly, this forged strong bonds. But now, years later, when the commonality has vanished, these bonds are fraying or may have already unraveled. Interests have diversified, passions have waned and that common thread that held you together has long been broken.

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    You meet those old friends now and initially, you can talk about those memories and reminisce about those good old days but very often conversations soon die out. Why? It might be because the common factors are few and far between. You may be a hotshot executive looking to have some tippler to relax. He may be a college professor who’s also a teetotaler vegan. Or you may be a school teacher following a yogic lifestyle and she may be a model who needs her drinks and smokes to stave off her appetite. You just have grown out of your friendship.

      Photo credit: Source

      Some friends stay because they share the same things deep, deep down

      Most of us may have lost many of our childhood friends to changing scenarios and diversifying interests, but we still have a couple of good friends around. Sound right? Now you may not meet these gems every now and then and may actually talk to them just once in a while – but you know that they’ll always be there for you, just a holler away…It’s because of you and these friends of you share the same core values that form the basis of a deep and lasting friendship.

      Now you got it. You and your everlasting friends are very similar, deep deep down. It’s like you peel the layers of professions and hobbies and likes and dislikes and you’ll find that you and this friend of yours are very alike, in the most important things of life.

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      The same angst in the world drives you both nuts. A movie can move you to tears. You may hate the current President for his anti-democratic values or may like him for his all-American ones. You guys are the wind beneath each other’s sails and yet also are unafraid to play the devil’s advocate for each other because you want good things for your friend and vice versa.

      Picture this: on one side you have a friend who’s very like you on the surface but when you get to really know him – he turns out to be money-minded while its morals all the way for you. Would this friendship last? We all know the answer to that and it’s a resounding no. But you might have a friend who is poles apart in nature, profession, and interest but who shares the same fair-minded world view that you have. Here you do have a friend for life.

        Photo credit: Source

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        How to build friendship that will survive in adulthood

        They key to making lasting friendships as an adult is to get to know their deep, innermost thoughts before and you can do this by not relying on your instinct and judgment but by asking questions.

        Ask stuff that will help reveal what they believe in, what they’re strongly against for, what is their ideal world, what is their ideal life, what are their top priorities in life… Since it may just prove to be a tad awkward to ask such questions, frame them in a sly way. Play a game of truth or dare. Or coat the questions with a fun color of paint like the 36 questions claimed to be able to make people fall in love! [1]. Some of them are: “When did you last cry in front of somebody?” or “Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you want as a dinner guest?” or even “What would constitute a “perfect” day for you?”…

        Bear in mind that this method might not make us make friends more easily. Instead it might be even more difficult. The idea is not to make “more” friends, rather the “right” friends. You need to set your standards high so that you are able to be with the people that understand you, complement you and ultimately make you a happier person in a happier place. For when it comes to friendships, it’s not the quantity you should be concerned with, but the quality.

        As Thomas Fuller said, “If you have one true friend, you have more than your share…”

        Reference

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        Brian Lee

        Chief of Product Management at Lifehack

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        Last Updated on October 14, 2020

        Psychologists Say It’s Really Possible To Change Our Personality

        Psychologists Say It’s Really Possible To Change Our Personality

        Do you feel that you can become a better person, but your personality is hindering you from doing so?

        Are you one of those people who is making a conscious effort to change, but no matter how hard you try, you remain a prisoner of your personality traits?

        Don’t lose hope – it is indeed possible to change your personality!

        Personality Crisis

        According to the widely accepted model of personality with over 50 years worth of research and study, there are five dimensions of our personality, known as the “Big Five:”

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        • Extraversion: People with high levels of this personality dimension are much more outgoing and tend to be more comfortable in social situations compared to others.
        • Agreeableness: Your level in this dimension determines whether you are more cooperative with other people or competitive (even to the point of being manipulative) with other people.
        • Conscientiousness: Thoughtful people who have high levels of this trait dimension are much more detail-oriented and driven.
        • Neuroticism: Moodiness and the propensity for sadness are associated with people who possess excessive amounts of this personality dimension.
        • Openness: Imaginative and insightful people are very receptive to change and new experiences, whereas those who are not are much more stubborn and reluctant to try out new things.

        These personality dimensions are further shaped by our genetics and our upbringing, the latter of which also involves our living environment and culture. These factors ultimately help shape your personality as you grow up, some of which could lead to personality disorders.

        However, your personality is never fully set in stone. In fact, it is not uncommon for adults to tweak their personalities as they prepare themselves for new challenges and life situations. For example, stubborn partners will find themselves making an effort to become more cooperative with their loved ones if they want their relationship to work. While these instances may not necessarily lead to positive results, it is evidence enough that changing your personality is not impossible.

        The question that begs to be asked is this:

        How Much Effort Are People Willing to Put in to Make That Change?

        According to a recent study at the University of Illinois, only 13% of respondents were satisfied with their personalities – most of them wanted to change for the better. However, instead of encouraging these people to get help from experts or take courses, R. Chris Fraley and Nathan Hudson conducted different tests instead to see if the respondents can quantify their personalities to make the necessary changes. The results of the test were published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, which you can view here.

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        The first experiment involved an introductory psychology class, who were educated about the Big Five personality dimensions and asked to grade their personalities by filling out a rating form. They were then asked if they wanted something to change in their personality over the 16-week period of this study. To do this, they needed to find a way to change their undesirable personality traits using goals and metrics to track their progress.

        Among the 135 participants, half joined the “change plan” condition, in which they were given writing assignments over the same period to assess the changes they need to make for their personalities. Every week, they were also required to complete additional writing assignments to evaluate their progress further. The other half were not asked to write – instead, they were placed in a controlled setting and were provided feedback about their development.

        The second experiment involved roughly the same number of participants. The only variable that Fraley and Hudson changed is that, instead of focusing on personality traits, they targeted daily behavior related to the traits that defined their personalities.

        The result of both experiments demonstrates the capacity for people to make breakthroughs with their personalities. Participants were able to make strides by getting better scores on personality traits that they wanted to improve. However, the comprehensive change plans only had a modest impact on the actual changes in personality. Also, the 16-week period for the study was not enough for the participants to make the drastic changes one might expect.

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        Steps to a Better You

        Now that you are aware that you can still change your personality, below are some proactive steps that you can take so you can make the change as early as possible.

        1. Do not let “labels” define you

        You are not a shy and timid person. Nor are you a cold and callous one. You are simply a person full of potential to change and become a better version of yourself every day. You can be anything, as long as you put your mind to it.

        2. Do good deeds

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        Getting rid of a terrible personality can start with doing something good. A study published in Motivation and Emotion suggests that engaging in acts of kindness allows you to overcome anxiety. Letting the focus from yourself shift to others leads to more opportunities for social engagement.

        3. Just wait

        If you cannot force change, then let it come to you. According to a study conducted at the University of Manchester and the London School of Economics, change that naturally takes place is not out of the question. The more you undergo transformative experiences in life as you grow older, the more chances that changes in your personality take place.

        At the end of the day, change is inevitable. As mentioned above, our personalities are shaped by our experiences in life. By exposing ourselves to positive experiences that we can live by and keeping an open mind for our own identities, there is no doubt that change for the better is indeed possible.

        Featured photo credit: https://unsplash.com/photos/GmoHIZ61eMo via unsplash.com

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