Deepen Friendships with Availability, Authenticity, and Mindfulness

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Adult friendships don’t seem as organic or effortless as friendships in our younger days. Sometimes, I can be surrounded by a group of women, talking and having a great time. However, at the end of the night, I leave feeling more lonely than when I came. Other days, I see a ton of people, many whom consider me a friend, but wonder how many of them actually see or know me.

Building Friendships

As much as we attribute the difficulty of making friendships as adults to busy schedules, it’s more than that. Some days, it seems like we are sabotaging potential new friendships by letting our internal narrative take over. At the same time, we are often actively stunting the growth of our current friendships. Getting inside our heads, we convince ourselves that no one has time to hang out, so we just shouldn’t ask. Or worse yet, we convince ourselves that we are undesirable as friends.

These are both lies, and we must rewrite the narrative of our friendships.

To do so, we need to focus on three main areas: Availability, Authenticity, and Mindfulness.

Availability

In today’s day and age, it’s the norm to be rushing to school drop off, work, school pick-up, musical rehearsal, baseball practice, church functions, etc. We have allowed our schedules to become packed and complicated with endless to-do’s and not any space for much else.

This is sabotaging our relationships because we come to the conclusion that we “just don’t have time for friends.” That needs to change.

If we fill our days and weeks with more and more to-do’s, we are ultimately saying that our time is more important than our relationships. Instead, we should be thinking of our relationships as a resource, especially if we are wanting a return on our investment.

Authenticity

Shakespeare said it best when he penned Hamlet and included the line, “To thine own self be true.” There is no better advice when it comes to how to make, keep, or deepen a friendship. When we try to impress others by pretending we are something we are not, we are essentially lying to them and ourselves. Pretending to be something/someone we are not also takes a lot of work and is exhausting. In addition to this, it also means that the fake person they might end up liking isn’t a real person; rather, it’s someone we have created so that we would be accepted.

Best to be ourselves, flaws and all, and let the chips fall where they may.

Mindfulness

Mindfulness takes a variety of shapes in friendships. To me, being mindful means fully focusing on my friends when I am physically present with them. I typically demonstrate this by making sure my phone is turned on silent so that I have no distractions. In addition to this, I make time to be with my friends at times that aren’t solely play-date related. Because while that might feel like “friend time,” moms always have one ear/eye open when their children are around, causing them to be distracted. In addition to being present physically, we need to let our friends know that they are on our minds even when we aren’t together. Check in with each other via text or phone call to follow up previous discussions or just to say hi.

Making deep connections as an adult doesn’t have to be as difficult as we make it out to be. And while yes, it does take some effort on our part, the returns on the investment are well worth it.

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Although her Kansas roots and upbringing are strong, Megan has proudly called Colorado Springs home since the winter of 2008 when she and her husband returned after serving for two years as Peace Corps volunteers in Eastern Europe. Her roles in life include wife, mother, friend, and teacher, and she feels honored by each of these hats she gets to wear. With a background in Secondary English Education, Megan spends her days working with junior high students, an age group she absolutely adores. After work, she returns home to her husband and two sons who enjoy playing board games, building with Legos, or simply snuggling on the couch and watching Jeopardy. When she isn't wearing her teaching or mom hats, Megan looks forward to spending time with friends, working in her garden, or indulging her introverted side by relaxing with a good book on her porch with a hot (often re-heated multiple times) cup of coffee. She does her best to find balance in life and live every moment to the fullest, enjoying them each as they come and reminding herself that every day of life is truly a gift, one that isn't ever guaranteed.