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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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    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.

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      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

        More by this author

        Brian Lee

        Chief of Product Management at Lifehack

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        Last Updated on March 22, 2019

        How to Be Happy: Why Pursuing Happiness Will Make You Unhappy

        How to Be Happy: Why Pursuing Happiness Will Make You Unhappy

        When we talk about happiness, we think about staying happy all the time – every single day, every single minute with zero negativity.  We try to pursue this constant state of “happiness” as our goal, and avoid anything that may take it away from us.

        But what is the meaning of this type of “happiness”?  It’s like your favorite food.  The more you have of it doesn’t always mean the better.  On the contrary, when you only have a chance to eat it sparingly, that’s when you really savor every bite of it.  So is it the food itself that makes you happy, or is it how valuable it is to you when you are eating it?

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        We should always remember that only by experiencing sadness do we understand what it is to be happy.

        Video Summary

        Assuming others are always happy is the biggest misunderstanding of happiness.

        Most people see those who have seemingly perfect lives and assume they are happy all the time.  Since childhood, we are conditioned to chase the idea of “happily-ever-after” that we see in fairytales.  On social media, everyone tends to share only the best looking aspects of their lives (including ourselves).  So it’s very easy to have a distorted view of what “happiness” is around us.

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        In reality, there is always something missing, something lacking, or something unpleasant.

        No one has a perfect life.  Even the most glamorous celebrities or the richest billionaires, everyone has their own set of challenges and problems.

        When we feel negative, we’re only focusing on a small fluctuating curve.  As CEO of Lifehack, I’ve had to deal with countless problems, and some of them felt like real setbacks at the time.  During those moments, it really seemed like these problems would be the life or death of my company and my life goals.  But I got through them, and weeks, months and eventually years passed with many more ups and downs.

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        You need to keep your sights on the extended curve.   Looking back now, a lot of those “really big” problems at the time seem like only small blips in a long line of experiences. Recalling them in my mind now makes me smile!

        Stop trying to be happy. Just be.

        It’s natural to want to be happy as often as possible.  So what can we do?  First, throw away the belief that a perfect life means happiness.  Personally, I would be miserable if everything was perfect.  It’s from experiencing the pains of lifelong challenges that drives us to care for others when they are experiencing the same trials.  If life was perfect, you wouldn’t be able to empathize.  If life was perfect, you wouldn’t grow.

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        To be truly happy, stop chasing permanent happiness.  It sounds like a paradox.  What I mean is, accept that there will be ups and downs throughout life.  Gracefully understand that happiness is a fluctuation of positive and negative events.

        Understand the importance of gratitude.  Instead of focusing on the unpleasant moment right now, flash back your memory to when you had or didn’t have something.  I like to think about my career, for example.  When I didn’t have a career I was passionate about, I felt lost and demotivated.  I felt like everyone was figuring out their lives but me.  But when I found my purpose and started Lifehack, I was deeply happy, even before I realized I would be successful!  This memory keeps me going when there are tough spots.  It takes the darkness to make us grateful for the light.

        Happiness and sadness exist together

        What it all comes down to is this: your life will be filled with beautiful, happy and incredible moments.  Happy tears and joyous shouts and funny stories.  But your life will also be filled with rain and storms that don’t ever seem to pass when you’re going through them.

        But whether your face is warmed by the sunshine, or your heart is dampened by the rain, know that it’s all part of the ebb and flow of life.  Treasure the happy moments and power through the sad ones.  Don’t try to avoid “sad” or “negative” experiences, and blindly chase being “happy”.  In the end you will achieve a true level of contentment in your life, based on meaningful experiences and achievements.  Being able to create growth and meaning out of both positive and negative events — that is the true meaning of “happiness”.

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