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Why is it sometimes hard to make friends or maintain friendships?

It can be challenging for adults to form new friendships or maintain existing ones due to competing priorities, such as work or caregiving responsibilities. Life changes or diverging interests may also cause friends to drift apart. In addition, relocation to a new community can make it difficult to meet new people.

However, building and sustaining positive friendships requires deliberate effort. Although it can be demanding, the benefits of friendship, such as comfort and companionship, make it a valuable investment.

Fostering and sustaining healthy friendships require mutual give-and-take. This means being there for your friends when they need support and expressing your appreciation and care for them. It is just as essential to be a good friend as it is to have good friends.

To nurture your friendships, here are some tips:

  • Practice kindness as it is the foundation of healthy relationships. Every act of kindness and gratitude adds to the emotional bank account of friendship, while negativity and criticism withdraw from it.
  • Be a good listener by showing interest in your friends’ lives. Maintain eye contact, use body language, and give occasional feedback such as “that sounds fun.” When your friends share their struggles, be empathetic, but do not offer advice unless they request it.
  • Build intimacy with your friends by being vulnerable and sharing personal experiences and concerns. This act shows that your friends have a special place in your life and strengthens your bond.
  • Demonstrate your trustworthiness by being responsible, reliable, and dependable. Keep your promises and arrive on time. When your friends confide in you, respect their privacy.
  • Make yourself available to your friends by spending time with them regularly and checking in on them in between meetups. It may feel uncomfortable at first, but as you become more comfortable with each other, your relationship will strengthen.
  • Use mindfulness techniques to manage social anxiety. When you catch yourself imagining negative social scenarios, pay attention to how often these situations actually happen. You may discover that they occur less frequently than you fear.

In summary, friendship requires effort and attention, but the rewards of supportive and meaningful relationships are invaluable.

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