Adulting Diaries: Handling Friendships

Hey 20 Somethings,

So, let’s be real…Friendships in your twenties are hard! Its a crazy time in our lives where suddenly, we are responsible for ourselves and our own wellbeing, we’re trying to excel and move forward in our careers, we’re adjusting to this whole adulting thing, we’re trying to handle our finances and trying not to go bankrupt before our lives even start…the list goes on and on. So you might find that during this period of time, you might struggle to hold onto the friends you have left.

My little brother always makes fun of me because I have so little friends. I always have to remind him that when I was in High school, I had LOADS of friends, but life after high school is a different story; people start studying, people move away or you guys grow apart- life happens. 

Besides all the craziness of adulthood, you might still be dating as well, that’s another thing you need to balance with your friendships. It almost feels impossible!

I’m extremely busy, at the moment, Im working two jobs and training for a third job and will possibly be taking on a fourth job in the second half of the year. I live with my boyfriend and a roommate, and still try to have a reasonably healthy social life by going out and doing things people my age should be doing. It’s also hard, because as a performer, my hours are often opposite to the people in my life. 

Luckily, my friends understand my lifestyle. I’m the friend who isn’t going to message you everyday and check up on you. If you text me, I’ll reply immediately but the conversation will be short because I’m messaging you in between running from one thing to the next BUT, they all know, if they need me – I’ll be there. I’ll clear my schedule and make time for them, no matter what.

I try to keep my friendships going strong because my friends are my sisters and the family members I never had. ( I come from quite a small family and I don’t know half of my cousins. And I never had a sister.) So these are the few friendship rules I’ve come up with for myself:

  1. Check on your Friends: I try to check in with my friends at least once a week. Whether it’s in a group chat and I can check on them all at once, or if I see a worrying tweet from them and I message them privately. Even if it’s just a quick “Hi, Hope you’re good! Miss you!” It shows your friends that you are thinking of them, even when you’re extremely busy and you’re able to make some time for them. 
  2. Try to Make Plans at Least Once or Twice a Month: I make a conscious effort to make plans with my friends, I often do it as a group- like a braai or going out to dinner together. That way I get to see all my favourite people at the same time and get to spend a little bit of time with each of them individually. (Because let’s face it, life gets real busy for all of us.)  Or find ways that you and certain friends can bond over something you both like: You both enjoy working out? Go on a gym date! Both love a specific TV show? Schedule a weekly date to watch the latest episode together. – These are things you’re going to do anyways, why not include your friends when you do them?
  3. Don’t Let Your Relationship Ruin Your Friendships: This one I struggle with a lot. When I date someone, it’s often hard for me to remember to manage my time equally between work, my love and my friends. But you must!! My trick has been, making sure my boyfriend has met all of my friends and that he likes them and forms relationships with them! This way, I can have friends over while he’s there too, I can invite a girl friend over for coffee and bae is in there spilling the tea with us! It’s awesome. But always remember to check with your friends first, sometimes they just need some alone time with their friends and don’t wanna hang out with your man ALL THE TIME.
  4. Write Letters!: When I was in high school, My friends and I would write each other letters EVERY DAY! We all knew what was going on in each other’s lives because we were constantly communicating. I’m giving myself the challenge to write one letter for each of my friends this year. It serves as a recon, you can tell them about things they’ve missed out on in your life, you can open up about what’s bothering you, tell them about your goals and hopes for the future. Give them a quick update on your life, because how often do you get to tell everyone in your life everything you need to tell them? It will be good for you and for them and I honestly think it will make your friendships stronger, especially if they write back.

So those are my four goals regarding my friendships this year. 

Don’t beat yourself up if you struggle to keep your friendships alive… This adulting thing is hard. But the great news is, you’re not alone. Reach out when you feel you need help and check on the people in your life who have been too quiet lately. Everyone is going through something right now- but we don’t have to do it alone.

If you made it this far down this post, close this tab and go tell a friend you love them and miss them!

Until next time!

Nadine 

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