Wellness over 2 years ago by Liz Adams

Adult Friendships

I’ve been thinking a lot about friendships lately. I feel really lucky to have a lot of very close friends. My friends from childhood, my friends from college, my friends from the city and now my friends in parenting. I have so many women that I could call if I needed a moment to vent, was going through a hard time, needed some comfort or just a friend in general.

We go through a lot of shifts in life. Our move to Charleston has made me look at my friendships from afar and think about what and why they are so important to me. For example, my friend Alex and I have known each other since 3rd grade, went to separate colleges but lived together after school in the city. We were the first of our friends to have babies and went through that entire experience together. Then we had our second babies together and moved to the suburbs. She has two boys, too and our kids are best friends. She is a constant in my life. That friend that is family, that days or weeks could go by without talking and it’s always the same. Never a bump in the road, my old faithful. Moving away from them was really hard but again, their family is a constant for us. We’ve been through so much together that I never have a doubt in my mind that anything would ever change our friendship. What makes this friendship special is that everything adds up – our timelines are the same, our husbands love each other, it clicks.

When we moved to the suburbs of Chicago, I already had a good amount of friends (I didn’t necessarily need more). It was where I grew up! We were deep in babies and toddler life and any glimmer of social opportunities were few and far between. But friendships have a way of surprising you and I think as an adult, it can be rare to find new friends that you click with. In a way that makes you think you’ve known them forever. Two of my closest friendships were made during the 4 shorts years we lived in the suburbs of Chicago. We had no connections prior, no ‘small world’ stories, we bonded over the fact that we were young moms trying to survive and needed each other. And in the same sense as Alex, our timelines added up – our kids, our husbands, our families clicked. In the world of parenting and adulting, it’s sort of magic when that happens.

I really miss that. Not that I don’t have those friendships there or see those friendships forming in Charleston, but part of me feels like moving away means I’m abandoning the friendships that mean so much to me. That those connections, our families together, the visual of our kids going to the same schools, walking the same streets, taking the same laps around the neighborhood – those experiences stopped when we moved in March. That makes me sad. Adult friendships are special! Special because as parents to young kids, we barely have a moment to ourselves let alone time to devote to building friendships. So when you find them you want to hold on to them, nurture them, make an effort to show how important they are to you.

I’m often asked about adult friendships, making friends as a new mom, finding your people and I always think about my answer… I’m someone who overthinks things, I have a strong fear of disappointment, I can get insecure, I’m sort of protective of myself or worried that if I say the wrong thing will they think I’m a weirdo? But I think the best thing you can do in friendship is be vulnerable. Open yourself up to the opportunity of discovering something new. Engage in conversation. A good friendship is based on consistency, when you know that no matter what, you’ll be greeted with the same person that you initially met. That’s when you learn to rely on people.

I guess what I’m saying is that life takes a lot of turns. People move, family dynamics change and friends can come and go. It takes more effort the older we get to open ourselves up to friendships. To devote time to people outside of our family. But these friendships are magic. They are important. Put yourself out there, take a risk, sign up for something you wouldn’t normally do or go say hi to the mom at the park. It is worth it.

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  1. This is pure gold, Liz! Somehow you manage to address our shared concerns even when you don’t know what each of us is individually going through. So thank you for being vulnerable and sharing your thoughts with this community. My family is grappling with leaving behind our new post-baby friends and moving away for a job opportunity. I know we’ll stay in tough but the fear of starting over and maybe being forgotten is looming. Your stories over the past few months have encouraged me to have faith in whatever decision we make.

  2. This is so true. I always say adult friendships ebb and flow. I have friends from grammar school in Chicago & friends I’ve met when I moved to Glenview in the suburbs. That we just “clicked” with as our neighbors. My oldest friends, I can go without talking to forever & it’s like we never missed a beat. Then I have my suburban friends I see everyday and my kids interact with that makes my heart so full – because I get my adult interaction at the same time my kids are also filling their cups.

  3. What a beautiful post and so true. I have friends from every part of my life-school, jobs, neighborhood, etc. They are all special. Some are more special than others. You’ll look back on this post one day and will smile because you’ll have a new group of Charleston friends along with all of your old friends.

  4. Very well said Liz. Finding new friends sometimes takes some work! And sometimes things just fall into place! Maintaining friendship and relationships takes time and good friends understand when life gets in the way! My Mom always has told me “to have a friend , you have to be a friend!”