How Friendships Change When You Become an Adult - Deepstash
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Friendships are unique relationships

Unlike family relationships, we choose to enter into friendships. And unlike other voluntary bonds, like marriages and romantic relationships, they lack a formal structure. 

You wouldn’t go months without speaking to or seeing your significant other (hopefully), but you might go that long without contacting a friend.

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3 Expectations of friends

3 Expectations of friends

There are three expectations of a close friend that people describe and value across the entire life course.

  • Somebody to talk to
  • Someone to depend on
  • Someone to enjoy

The beautiful, special thing about friendship is that friends are friends because they want to be, that they choose each other and can choose to get in, and can choose to get out.

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Friendships

  • In childhood, friends are mostly other kids who are fun to play with
  • In adolescence, there’s a lot more self-disclosure and support between friends, but adolescents are still discovering their identity, and learning what it means to be intimate. 
  • During young adulthood, friendships become more complex and meaningful. They're more likely to seek out friends who share their values on the important things.
  • The middle-aged persons define friendship as “being there” for each other but reported that they rarely had time to spend with their most valued friends, whether because of circumstances or through the age-old problem of good intentions and bad follow-through.

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Levels of maintaining a relationship

  1. Just keeping a relationship alive. Saying “Happy Birthday” on Facebook, having a friend’s tweet—these are the life support machines of friendship. They keep it breathing, but mechanically.
  2. Keeping a relationship at a stable level of closeness. Being able to write a message, being able to send some support comments if necessary.
  3. Making it a satisfying relationship.

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