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Friends Don’t Have to Grow Apart as You Grow Older

Friends Don’t Have to Grow Apart as You Grow Older

When you were young, the friends you made tend to be defined by common experience, for example living in the same neighborhood, going to the same school, having parents who are friends, riding the same bus, or participating in the same sports or extracurricular activities.

        As you grow older, though, these elements change. You and your friends may move to different towns, have different works, come across different challenges in life, and may even lead a different lifestyle. Some may already get married and have their own children; some maybe traveling around all the times; some may always be busy making money.

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            This is when you realize your friendship with these friends has changed.

            Research has shown that three main factors of developing adult friendships are proximity, repeated/unplanned interaction, and settings that encourage conversation.[1] If you’re constantly moving and working, though, these friendships can be harder to sustain.

            A Shared Life Is Not Enough to Maintain A Lifelong Friendship

              Too often, people focus on having a shared life with others. It’s actually less important for friends to physically be in the same life space. Friends need similar core values, which refers to subjective perspectives and beliefs on topics. You can align core values with someone who lives down the street or someone that lives 2,000 miles away.

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              Think about it like this: if you know someone who lives down the street (proximity), and you see them a lot at events (repeated/unplanned interactions), and it’s often in settings like bars and parties that encourage conversation, theoretically you should become friends with this person, right? Not necessarily.

              If you and that person’s core values are completely misaligned, communication will be nearly impossible. Both of you may try to constantly prove the other person wrong and conflicts will be common.

              Core values for humans are not easily changed, without an alignment there, it’s very hard for two people to become — and remain — friends.

              Only the Values We Hold Can Build True Bondings

                Humans are social animals. This is the core of the human experience. Humans came to dominate the world because we were the only species that could collaborate well, and form bonds, in large numbers.[2] We don’t seek just physical company; we seek mental company and an exchange of ideas and values.

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                Sharing your core values with another, and attempting to understand theirs is akin to sharing a piece of mind. This exchange of value and idea is crucial to satisfying basic human need. You can have a friend who you consistently have fun with, but if this core value exchange isn’t there, the friendship will erode when the environment changes. If you have a friend who’s fun and you’ve exchanged life values with, that friendship will remain despite the change of the environment.

                Not every core value needs to overlap, it’s nearly impossible across any two people. For example, one friend can value punctuality and the other friend can constantly be late. This will make hanging out and communicating harder. But if the friend valuing punctuality is also flexible and adapts to different situations, now the timing is less relevant.

                It doesn’t have to be a perfect alignment of core values between two people. But there needs to be some, and it needs to be shared.

                Find out the Values of A Potential Friend

                To find out whether you have shared values with another person, talk openly about your values. Of course, don’t say “What are your core values? My core values are.. blah blah blah…” This will sound awkward and the other person may feel uncomfortable about the question.

                What you can do is asking “why” in conversations. “Why” leads to deeper answers and discussions then “how” — which primarily goes to process, and  “what” — which are only the basic facts. “Why” is the pathway to the thoughts and values of a potential new friend for life.

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                You don’t have to dig into the very deep philosophical questions at the beginning, start with something light like “what’s your hobby and why do you like doing it?” or “what’s your favorite place and why?” will be enough to get you to understand a person.

                To help you have a better idea of what kind of things you can talk about, I’ve got you a list of questions to try with a potential friend:

                1. Why did you decide to move here?
                2. What’s your favorite podcast/book and why?
                3. Who’s your favorite author/artist and why?
                4. What’s your favorite movie/music and why?
                5. What do you do and why do you do what you do?
                6. Who’s your biggest inspiration, and why?
                7. What do you think about when you’re alone?
                8. Are you closer with your mom, dad, or neither? Why?
                9. What makes you happy and why?
                10. What upsets you and why?
                11. What do you like to do during weekend? Why?
                12. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever seen, and why would you say it is?
                13. What motivates you the most, and why?
                14. Are you religious, and why?
                15. Who’s your best friend and why are you guys so close?
                16. What’s the main thing you’d like to change about yourself and why?
                17. Are you proud of some accomplishments so far? If so, why?
                18. Is there anything you’re afraid of and why?
                19. Do you like traveling and why?
                20. What’s your idea of a perfect vacation and why?
                21. Do you want to get a tattoo? Why?
                22. What are most important to you and why?
                23. If money were no object, what would you do all day and why?
                24. If you were to die tomorrow, what would you do?

                Save this article and take this list out when you’re trying to make a new friend. Understanding the core values of another person is the first step to a strong and lasting friendship.

                Featured photo credit: Bewakoof.com Official on Unsplash via unsplash.com

                Reference

                [1] The New York Times: Friends of a Certain Age
                [2] Ted Idea: Why humans run the world

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                Anna Chui

                Anna is a communication expert and a life enthusiast. She's the editor of Lifehack and loves to write about love, life, and passion.

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                Last Updated on January 6, 2019

                Why a Life Without Pain Is the Guarantee to True Suffering

                Why a Life Without Pain Is the Guarantee to True Suffering

                No one wants to suffer. As a general rule, people like to avoid hurt and pain as much as possible. As a species, humans want a painless existence so much that scientists make a living trying to create it.

                People can now choose “pain-free” labor for babies, and remedies to cure back pain, headaches, body-pains and even mental pains are a dime a dozen. Beyond medicine, we also work hard to experience little pain even when it comes to loss; often times we believe a breakup won’t hurt as much if we are the ones to call it off.

                But would a world without pain truly be painless? It’s unlikely. In fact, it would probably be painful exactly for that reason.

                If people never experienced hurt, they wouldn’t know what it was. On the surface level, that seems like a blessing, but think for a moment: if we didn’t know pain, how would we know peace? If you don’t know you’ve hurt or been hurt, how would you know that you need to heal? Imagine someone only knowing they have an incurable cancer at the final stage because no obvious symptoms have appeared at early stages.

                Without the feeling of pain, people won’t be aware of dangerous situations—what should or shouldn’t do for survival.

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                Pain Is Our Guardian

                Pain serves to protect human beings from harmful actions. It’s the same reason parents teach babies that fire equals hot, and that hot equals hurt. Should the baby still place its hand in a fire or on a stove, the intense pain remains so memorable, that the child is certain never to repeat that action.

                In the same way, pain within human bodies can serve as a warning that something is not right. Because you know what it is to feel “well,” you know what it is to feel poorly.[1]

                Along with serving as a teacher of what not to do, pain also teaches you what you are made of in terms of what you can handle as an individual.

                While the cliche, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” is a tired term, it’s used excessively for a reason: it’s true. Pain helps you learn to cope with life’s inevitable difficulties and sadnesses— to develop the grit it takes to push past hardships and carry on.

                Whether it’s a shattering pain, like the loss of a loved one or a debilitating accident, pain affects everyone differently. But it still affects everyone. Take a breakup as an example, anyone who has experienced it knows it can hurt to the point of feeling physical. Especially the first breakup. At a young age, it feels like the loss of the only love you’ll ever know. As you grow and learn, you realize you’re more resilient with every ended relationship.

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                No Pain, No Happiness

                You only know happiness when you have known pain. While the idea of constant happiness sounds nice, there is little chance it would be. Without the comparison to happiness, there’s no reason to be grateful for it. That is to say, without ever knowing sadness or pain, you would have no reason to be grateful for happiness.

                In reality, there is always something missing, or something unpleasant, but it is only through those realizations that you know to be grateful when you feel you have it all. Read more about why happiness and pain have to exist together: Chasing Happiness Won’t Make You Happy

                In a somewhat counter-intuitive finding, researchers found one of the things that brings about the most happiness is challenge. When people are tested, they experience a greater sense of accomplishment and happiness when they are successful. It is largely for this reason that low-income individuals can often feel happier than those who have a sense of wealth.[2]

                This is a great thing to remember the next time you feel you would be happier if you just had a little more cash.

                Avoiding Pain Leads to More Suffering

                Pain is inevitable, embrace it positively. Anyone who strives to have a painless life is striving for perfectionism; and perfectionism guarantees sadness because nothing will ever be perfect.

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                This isn’t a bleak outlook, but rather a truthful one. The messy moments in life tend to create the best memories and gratitude. Pain often serves as a reminder of lessons learned, much like physical scars on the body.

                Pain will always be painful, but it’s the hurt feelings that help wiser decisions be made.

                Allow Room for the Inevitable

                Learning how to tolerate pain, especially the emotional kind, is a valuable lesson.

                Accepting and feeling pain makes you human. There is no weakness in that. Weakness only comes when you try to blame your own pain on someone else, expecting the blame to alleviate your hurting. There’s a saying,

                “Holding on to anger is like drinking poison and expecting your enemy to die.”

                Think back to the last time you were really angry with someone. Maybe you were hurt because you got laid off from a job. You felt angry and that anger caused so much pain that you could feel it in a physical way. Being angry and blaming your ex boss for that pain didn’t affect him or her in any way; you’re the only one who lost sleep over it.

                The healthier thing to do in a situation like that is acknowledge your pain and the anger along with it. Accept it and explore it in an introspective way. How can you learn and grow? What is at the root of that pain? Are you truly hurting and angry about being laid off, or is the pain more a correlation to you feeling like you failed?

                While uncomfortable, exploring your pain is a way to raise your self-awareness. By understanding more about yourself, you know how to deal with similar situations in the future. You can never expect to be numb to difficult situations, but you will learn to better prepare financially for the loss of a job and be grateful for an income since you now know nothing is promised (no matter how much you work or how deserving you may feel).

                Pain Hurts, but Numbness Would Be Worse

                Pain does not feel good, but the bad feeling of it will help you learn and grow. It makes the sweet moments in life even sweeter and the gratitude more sincere.

                To have a happier and more successful life, you don’t learn from success or accomplishment, but through pain and failures. For it is in those moments that you learn how to do better in the future or at least cope a little more easily.

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                You are the strong person you are today because of the hardships this life has presented to you. While you may have felt out of control when those hard times came, the one thing you will always have control over is how you choose to react to things. The next time you hurt or you’re angry or sad, acknowledge it and allow yourself to ruminate in it. Then take a deep breath and start learning from that pain. You’ve got this!

                Featured photo credit: Stocksnap via stocksnap.io

                Reference

                [1] University of Calgary: Why is Pain Important?
                [2] Greater Good Magazine: The Importance of Pain

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