Healthy Friendships Are An Important Part of Your Adult Life

Just because you have responsibilities associated with a career and a household doesn’t necessarily mean that you should neglect your friendships in adulthood. Friendships are a great way to develop a support network, bounce ideas off of people who care about you, and develop history that can flourish over time.

Throughout our lives, our friendships can change. They are an important and exciting part of a well balanced life. Whether your friends are very similar to you, or very different from you, they help to enrich your life. Having quality friendships with people that you trust and can relate with is more important than the quantity of friends. They can help you make positive changes in your life, can challenge areas of your life that aren’t in your best interest, can help you adjust to change and can help make life more enjoyable.

In the hustle and bustle of our daily lives, sometimes we don’t take time to examine the quality of our friendships. Certain friends contribute positively to our lives, and others are more of a drain, causing you to feel guilty if you do not tend to them. Here are some characteristics of healthy and unhealthy friendships:

Healthy Friendships

Use this list to think about the quality friendships in your life, and those qualities that you would like to further develop within yourself to be a good friend to other people.

  • A good friend is honest with you and tells you the truth, even if they don’t agree with you. This doesn’t necessarily mean that they share every detail of their life with you, but they are usually straight-forward with you regarding their intentions. They let you know when something doesn’t seem right.
  • A good friend is interesting to you and should be fun to be around.
  • A good friend notices you, and the emotions that you have. They usually want to work things out if they realize that they have upset you.
  • A good friend usually has a sense for your emotions – whether you are happy, sad, excited, upset, etc.
  • A good friend forgives you if you have done something that has offended or hurt them. As always, remember to apologize first to receive forgiveness.
  • A true friend won’t try to change you. They will accept you for who you are.
  • A good friend will be happy that you have other friends and won’t try to take up all of your time.
  • A good friend is caring for you. Different people express care in different ways – some might offer a hug and others might tease you in a friendly way. If someone expresses interest in your life and is interested in what is going on, then it is very likely that they care about you.
  • A good friend is trustworthy. They will talk positively about you to others.
  • A good friend will celebrate the unique ways that you are different from them. 
  • A good friend says positive things to you, builds you up and makes you feel good about yourself.

Unhealthy Friendships

  • They talk badly about you behind your back or share your secrets with others.
  • They copy your habits or personality.
  • They will try to pressure or guilt you into situations that make you feel uncomfortable or that you don’t want to participate in.
  • They will put you at risk of losing something that is important to you.
  • They judge you, say mean things to you, or bully you.
  • They take advantage of your generosity, taking a lot and not giving back in return.
  • They act one way with you to your face and a different way when you’re not there.
  • They don’t apologize or admit that they have made a mistake.
  • You cannot be yourself around them.
  • They don’t respect your boundaries.

Friendships are an important part of a healthy life balance. If you find that you are working too hard to have time to develop close friendships, you may want to re-examine your priorities, values and time management. While nurturing friendships does take valuable time, these are often the people who will be there for you when life goes sideways (career loss, separation, through grief, etc.). While everyone goes through phases when they are exceptionally busy, making time for friendships will add positively to your life and nurture your resilience.

Transition Designs is dedicated to helping people navigate change. We help our clients assess their situation, create a long term vision, and manage the in-between places.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *