As I’ve gotten older and my list of responsibilities and priorities evolves and grows, I can’t help but find myself reflecting on bygone years.
I’ve spent a lot of time lately thinking about how challenging most of us found high school to be. How our transformative years seemed so daunting and impossible, and how we couldn’t wait to leave it all behind and join the adult world.
If we only knew then to appreciate the lackadaisical lives we were leading.
One of the things I long for most of all about my teenage years is the easy access I had to my friends. We went to school together, we came home together, we spent our weekends together.
Simply put, we were always together.
I didn’t realize how much of a gift that was until spending time with my friends became an effort of sorts. As adults, we lead such chaotic lives that it takes everything we have just meet the status quo.
Visiting with our friends is no longer a random text before you jump in the car and leave.
It’s planning events out a month ahead of time and then probably having to reschedule once or twice before things finally work out.
Despite the energy that goes into maintaining these relationships, the biggest takeaway is that we should. There is something special about adult friendships, compared to the ones of yesteryear. They are deeper, more genuine, and even more essential than the connections we formed in our youth.
While making time for friends can seem like a challenge, it’s worth it for the benefits you’ll receive in the long run.
The Benefits of Adult Friendships
When I was younger and spent time with my friends, we always had a good time. No matter how long we were together, I would still be excited about seeing them more. That being said; however, I still didn’t realize what these friendships really had to offer.
Now, however, after time spent with my nearest and dearest, I feel “filled up.”
I feel more like myself than I sometimes do in my day-to-day life.
I feel loved and appreciated in a way that’s different, not better or worse, but different than the love and appreciation I receive from my family.
The friends who have joined me on this journey through life feel more like family, and I feel positively impacted by their role in my world. As I was thinking about this one day, I wondered if there was any logic or science behind the roles that friends can play.
Spoiler alert: there is!
There are several incredible benefits that having valuable adult friendships can bring to your life:
- An enhanced feeling of belonging and purpose
- Reduced chances of developing stress, anxiety, or depression
- Emotional support during hard times, i.e., serious illnesses, job loss, the death of a loved one, or marital and relationship problems
- Improved self-worth and self-confidence
- Encouragement to avoid unhealthy habits, such as excess drinking, drugs, etc.
I recently had the opportunity to get together with two of my best friends from high school and our families, including a wild pack of our six young daughters. We’ve managed to stay close through moves across the country, through ups and downs, and we are now raising our little ones together.
I wish I could explain the joy that I felt seeing those six beautiful girls together.
I could see the love that I hold for their mothers reflected on their faces and the happiness they felt to be with each other.
It brought me back to my own younger days and gave me an immense amount of gratitude that these girls would grow up to have the same loving friendships I’ve been lucky enough to find.
It’s not always easy to keep track of our friends throughout life. It takes an honest effort to maintain those relationships, but it’s worth it. Squeeze in the time for the friends you love like family – you’ll be happier in the long run.
To the Friends Who “Fill Us Up”
If we’re lucky, we’ll find at least one friend who brings something special to our lives. Once you’ve discovered who they are, hold on as tight as possible.
To the friends we’ve known since childhood…
To the friends that have stayed by our sides through good and bad….
To the friends we’ve reconnected with later in life…
To the friends we meet through our children…
To the friends you can be your true self with…
To the friends who dig in deep and share a part of our soul…
We love you, appreciate you, and want you to know how much of a positive influence you’ve brought into our lives.
At least I know I do!
Do you have a friend or friend group that you love like crazy? During this season of giving thanks, make sure they know how much you care!