Friendships just aren’t the same after school. Let’s face it: post high school and college, most of us are far too busy working full-time jobs, caring for our homes, spending time with family, grocery shopping, exercising, and completing chores to no end. Too often friendships fall to the wayside, becoming less and less of a priority as we focus more on our careers, families, and our own lives.
10 Ways To Build Stronger Friendships in Your 20s
So, are friendships doomed in our twenties? Of course not! While friendships do tend to become more difficult to maintain as we age, there are absolutely ways to build stronger friendships during our twenty-something years. Try these fresh GenTwenty tips:
1. Schedule routine hangouts.
Get into the habit of seeing your friends on a weekly or monthly basis. While scheduling hangouts may not be as organic or spontaneous as it should be, having that time already marked on your calendar is going to likely motivate you to follow through. It’s too common to ask a friend to hangout day of only to discover they already have plans. Having time together scheduled on a regular basis is bound to keep you in touch with your friends, thus making your connections stronger.
2. Talk goals more than gossip.
When you’re with your friends, go light on talking gossip. Sure, gossiping might be fun and even healthy in purging and venting, but too much of it can become toxic. When you’re with your friends, talk goals. Chat about your career, your financial aspirations, your relationship milestones, etc. Talking goals keeps your friendships positive and empowering. No doubt, your friends will help inspire you to reach your goals as you should do for them in return.
3. Be supportive, even when you disagree.
It can prove very challenging to support your friends when you dislike their romantic partner or know they have much more career potential then they’re reaching, but do your best. Being supportive, even when you disagree with your friend’s decisions, is all you can do. You cannot live your friends’ lives for them, but you can support them in making good decisions.
4. Always follow through.
Do your best to follow through when you’ve made plans with friends. It can be all too easy to ditch plans when your beau comes home early from work or your job is contacting you after hours. However, relationships should not interfere with friendships (and vice versa) and unless you work on-call 24/7, your job should not come between you and your social life.
5. Be honest, always.
Even when it feels like the hardest thing you’ll ever do, be honest with your friends. Being honest is critical in building trust with your friends. Speak up if you feel like your friend is betraying your trust, ignoring you, or offending you. Likewise, they should do the same if you’re the perpetrator. Be honest about your feelings and needs out of the friendship.
But you don’t need to be honest in a way that brings someone down. Say for instance your friend feels like a million bucks in her new dress but you don’t agree. Keep that opinion to yourself.
6. Build each other up.
Beyond giving support, build your friends up. Compliment them, empower them, and boost their confidence. Being a good friend means speaking up for your friends and pushing them to be their best selves, as they should do for you.
7. Don’t be selfish.
Relationships often require compromises. It can’t be a one-way street. Some days you’ll get to dictate what you do together, other days your friends will get to decide. Avoid controlling what you do together and when. Having a strong friendship means taking turns and sharing the spotlight. Be open and selfless.
8. Collaborate, don’t compete.
A big part of building strong friendships involves collaborating with your peers. Bounce ideas off your friends, whether it’s something as small as a new wardrobe style or something larger like changing careers. There is no room for competition in friendship. You click with your friends because you get them (as they do you). You don’t have to worry about having the same interests or wearing similar clothes. Collaborate, don’t compete.
9. Stay true to your friendship.
Life is a journey and we are constantly evolving and changing as we age and grow. Even though we change overtime, stay true to who you are and what your friendship is all about. Grow together. Having a strong friendship with someone means keeping true to your values and connection as friends.
Like any relationship type, communication is essential to a strong and healthy foundation. Be sure you’re keeping in touch, having strong communication, and always being straight with each other. Life gets messy. Sometimes we say things we don’t mean or act out of emotion instead of reason. Apologize. Come back to a conversation refreshed and communicate more effectively. It’s usually easy to overcome obstacles through open communication.
Building strong friendships in your twenties is ultra important. We all want to have a healthy social life with friends we can count on and people we want to be there for. Make sure you’re keeping true to your friendships, even through career changes, family growth, moving, and so on. If you stick to some (or all) of these tips, you’re bound to have strong friendships during your twenties.