Building and maintaining relationships and friendships in adulthood is difficult. When we talk about relationships, we often focus on romantic relationships. But healthy friendships and work relationships are also important. Knowing how to build and maintain adult relationships is important to mental health as well as workplace success. Friend relationships are often the ones that can help get you through other difficult times in your life. So how do you build and maintain relationships?
Quality Over Quantity in Relationships
Even in the age of having hundreds (if not thousands) of “friends” online, people are lonelier than ever. That’s because online “friendships” don’t provide the connection we crave and need. Focus on people you see in real life. Who makes you smile when you see them? Who has common interests? Put your energy into doing things you love and you will surround yourself with like-minded people you can build relationships with.
Focus on Community
Being part of something bigger than you can feel good and make you feel included. Whether it’s your workplace, neighborhood or place of worship, becoming part of a community will expose you to like-minded people and give you an important sense of belonging that goes beyond even the beauty of individual relationships.
Be Okay With Relationships Ending
As you grow and change personally, it is natural that friendships will change. It may be an unhealthy, toxic friendship that you decide to end. Or it may simply be a natural “growing apart” as interests and lifestyles change, be okay with relationships changing, evolving and ending. These transitions can be hard, but speaking with a trusted friend, family member, or therapist can help.
Set and Maintain Healthy Boundaries
Personal boundaries are the limits we set for ourselves as individuals in relationships. Setting and sustaining boundaries is a skill that many of us don’t learn. Even if we do learn the skill, we could always use reminders on how to best set and keep boundaries. Here are six tips to help.
If you don’t take care of yourself, you can’t expect others to. Self-care doesn’t just mean bubble baths and spa days. It means drinking enough water, getting enough sleep, taking time to meditate, exercise, decompress. Being the best version of yourself means you can also be the spouse, parent, employee, friend.
Know When To Ask For Help
If you are feeling stressed or anxious about the relationships in your life, talking with a therapist can help your sort through what you want and need in your relationships. Take a step back and look at the big picture, what you value most, and how to find people with similar values to build relationships with.