The Art of Adult Friendships: How to Be a Better Friend

From Ladies' Home Journal

It can sometimes be difficult to make—or make time for—friends in midlife. But putting a bit of effort into your friendships can mean comfort and camaraderie when you need it most. Whether you’re making an effort to meet new friends or working to nurture existing relationships, these tips can help you prioritize your friendships and build stronger relationships. 

Let go of your inhibitions.

Making new friends can feel awkward—no matter your age. It’s normal to feel self-conscious or vulnerable when opening up and inviting someone into your life. The key is to remember that as an adult, your risk is very low. It’s OK if it doesn’t work out or you turn out not to be as good of a match as you hoped.

Look for friends who share your interests. 

Many of us are so busy, but mutual interests—say, in a project, class or cause that we already make time for—become the perfect catalysts for bringing us in contact with candidates for potential friendships. 

Keep in touch.

Your friends should be a priority; schedule regular lunch dates or coffee catch-up sessions, no matter how busy you are.

Know their business.

Keep track of important events in a friends’ lives and show your support. Call or email to let them know you’re thinking of them.

Speak your mind.

Tell a friend (politely) if something she did really upset you. If you can’t be totally honest, then you need to reexamine the relationship.

Accept their flaws.

No one is perfect, so work around their quirks—they are chronically late, or are a bit negative—to cut down on frustration and fights.

Boost their ego.

Heart-felt compliments make everyone feel great, so tell them how much you love their new sweater or what a great job they did on a work project.

Spend time together that benefits both of you. 

Have a fit and athletic friend? Find time to work out together. A creative friend? Get together for writing or art sessions. Strong and successful friendships can help motivate and bring out the best in both parties. 

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