Something that’s been on my mind lately is friendships. Specifically friendships as an adult. It’s a question I get a lot and I have to admit, it’s something I myself question. I do find that I’ve done a relatively good job of making friends, but it’s not exactly easy or something that I’m naturally inclined to do. I have to force myself to “get out there.” I’ve gone to meet ups with moms from local Facebook groups, I’ve reached out to neighbors, exchanged numbers with moms in Jack’s classes, etc. It’s hard because I’m not from here, and Mike is, so it felt like I was having to start completely from scratch. Maybe I can do a post about that in the future, though I still very much feel like I’m in the friendship “building” phase here.

I wanted to talk about something related to friendships that has been a very difficult thing to come to terms with, personally. There are two big hang ups I have about this 1) it is a little embarrassing to admit out loud and 2) there’s this stigma about not having a “ton” of friends. Like there must be something wrong with someone if they don’t have a million friends or if they’ve grown apart from others. Here’s the thing though, and ultimately why I decided to share it. I think these kinds of things are so common. And this realization I had will, hopefully, lead to better friendships in the future. And maybe my experience will resonate with you.

It somewhat recently occurred to me that I haven’t always had the healthiest friendships. I don’t even blame the other people involved, it’s all my own issues and it probably (err definitely) goes back to childhood. I think I was so…. desperate to fit in as a kid and then in middle school and even worse in high school that I would do anything to be keep a friendship going, even if it wasn’t reciprocated. See, this is the part that I’m really embarrassed about. Like what was wrong with me that people didn’t want to be my friend? It was probably because I was so desperate to be liked and to have friends, that I was never actually able to be myself.

It didn’t even occur to me until college and right after college, that it was better to be myself and to have people like me for me than to have to be someone else in order to be liked. Which, duh. It makes sense now, but it really was an epiphany for me in my early 20s. It probably helped that I was actually trying to figure out who I was, too, instead of just going along with who I thought I was supposed to be. And this realization been great in a lot of ways. I am a little weird and I have my own ways of having fun, but over the years, I’ve cultivated amazing friendships where they also like to have fun in the same ways that I do and it’s just so much better all around. (Sometimes I wonder about the friendships I missed out on in middle school and high school had I done the things I wanted to do instead of done the things that I thought everyone else liked doing.)

But even as I found friends who were much more aligned with me and liked me for me, I don’t think I ever addressed that childhood fear of losing the friendships. I still felt desperate to make and keep friends. Like I was constantly worried about someone “being mad at me.” And I felt like I needed to give everything to friendships, regardless of whether or not it was reciprocated.

And, look, I’m a firm believer that it’s never worth keeping score about things. Life ebbs and flows and sometimes you’ll be the person being cheered on and sometimes you’ll be the cheerleader. And it may not be an even 50/50 ever…. but it can’t be so off balance. That was where I’ve made some mistakes. In that desperation of ever losing a friend, I had been giving a lot of myself to friendships without (sometimes) getting friendship in return.

This all came to me when I felt so incredibly supported by a few of my close friends. I was laying in bed and thinking, “Man, I feel so grateful for these friends of mine.” Seeing how great some friends have been has also highlighted how maybe not-so-great others had been. I didn’t even want to admit it because, again, embarrassment. My mind immediately jumped to, “well what’s wrong with me!” But I just think I was clinging onto certain friendships more afraid of losing it in name only for what? Fear of embarrassment? Sometimes it’s just not that deep and sometimes it’s just as simple as a friendship fading or growing apart and it’s really okay.

What’s not okay, at least how I see it, is not having equal levels of support, especially if it’s hurting your feelings. It’s just like any kind of relationship and if it’s one-sided it’s not fair to the other person. Again, it doesn’t need to be an exact 50-50 and it can have some natural ebb and flow….. but it should that support should be given easily from both sides when, and as, needed.

I finally have those friends that love and support and celebrate me for me and nothing brings me more joy than loving and supporting and celebrating them for them! And in this new chapter of life I’m in, I am continuing to work to add to that group. It’s made me realize how it’s so, so worth investing in good friendships. The payoff is invaluable.

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Such a good post and really made me think. I was always conscious of what people thought of me growing up and it wasn’t until I was at Uni/ in my 20s that I focused on just being me. I might not have lots and lots of friends but those around me mean the world to me. Thanks for opening up x


I love this and thank you for sharing. I live in the same city where my husband grew up as well. While I absolutely love the community I’m still the “outsider” at times. I think you hit so many points about making and maintaining friends as an adult. Thank you sharing and helping me feel a little less alone!
Also side note don’t know if you always do this or if my email is finally working but love getting your emails to my mailbox each morning.


I really believe that adults who have a super solid friend “group” that they never question are the minority. Most of us have moved around, people come and go, we go through lonely periods, and are just meeting new people and assessing along the way. It can be hard, but as you said, normal!


Love this! Especially your line about the stigma around not having a large group of friends because in my experience that’s so true! My partner has a core friend group going back to elementary school (so 30+ years) and I have definitely have felt awkward one around his family when they’re all talking about these friends and ask if I have any similar friends. It’s all no, not really, but thanks for asking. 😂
Cheers to you for such a brave post!


I completely agree! No one talks about this and I’m so glad you did! I was the exact same way in middle and high school, just trying to fit in without thinking about what I wanted. At the time, I had the ability to flit from group to group, and it felt like I had a lot of friends, but in reality, most of my connections were just superficial and not very deep. Then, with college and post college, a lot of my “deep” friends moved away and we lost touch, making me realize just how small my circle was. It’s lonely, and making new friendships is hard, but I’m putting in the effort and really trying to make new connections. Social media and movies/tv shows always portray people having huge groups of friends, and if you don’t then there’s something wrong with you. But I know so many people who are in the exact same boat as me and it’s completely normal to have a small circle of friends and just continue to grow and nurture new friendships throughout your life. It’s hard to make new friends as an adult, but so worth it! Thanks for sharing!


I totally understand! Friendship can be so fluid and it’s important to give grace to others but also be aware of when you’re being taken advantage of.


That fear of losing friends resonated. It wasn’t until my late 20’s that I was confident enough and recognized my self-worth that I was able to let go of a couple very draining frienships- and it actually started a conversation that redefined one of the frienships to find a healthier, more distant dynamic that works for us.


wow thank you for sharing this. it really strikes a cord with me. the older I get, the more comfortable I feel having few (but closer than I ever thought possible!) friendships.
One thing I wish I had realized earlier on is that the majority of friendships are friendships for a season of life, and that’s totally okay. I think I wouldn’t have tried to force keeping friendships when we had both grown apart.

Melissa Wike

Love this post! I can 100% relate. I was the same person, trying to fit in. Now I am just me, take it or leave it. I only have a few close friends and I am fine with that. I do get my feelings hurt hen I feel like I give more to the friendship than they do. But it all ends up evening out.


This quote came to mind from a recent podcast: “You’d better really be who you are, because if people like you and you’re not authentic, you’ll never actually trust that anyone likes you”


Thanks for sharing this. I had a different experience, my childhood friends are still there for me, and we love and support each other 30+ years on, but I moved countries 11 years ago and I haven’t made a single friend…so embarrassing to even admit! Thankfully my husband is my best friend, but I’ve felt so alone, so many times. Don’t know where to start making friends, especially having two young daughters, where is the time for friendships?


Great post, most people only have a few really close friends and then a wider net of “situational” friends. For example, the mom you sometimes have coffee with because your kids are best elementary school friends. Or people you ski with once a week. If your child was to change school you might not ever see said mother again.


I so feel you on this and think about it often! I had the same experiences in high school. And kind of even college. I just wanted to be friends with the popular kids and I’m so annoyed by that now. I could have had such a better group of friends and wish I had better friends from “home.” I grew up in FL too- and moved to San Diego where I met my husband who is from here. I have so many friends- I’m the connector and I know everyone and bring people together. I have 3 little kids so it’s easy to meet people with school, classes, etc like you said. But I’m craving those “best friends feelings” and want a best friend who I tell everything to and I am dying to find our crew that we will always hang with and travel with (instead of spreading our time hanging with different friend groups).


This is a very nice post 🙂 thank you for putting pen to paper on this. I have similar feelings. Thank you for sharing.


This is so unbelievably relatable as a woman in her 30s. I too have struggled with female friendships, so many of which probably shouldn’t have begun in the first place. After college, I had a fight with a (former) friend because she didn’t like that I didn’t go out and party anymore. I originally thought, oof, when did I change!? But then I realized that I had been faking it through college all along— planning happy hours so I wouldn’t need to go out late, scheduling quieter meet ups rather than going to the frat parties. I never changed, I just hadn’t ever met the right people. Now, I have friends who invite me to bachelorettes just to include me, but caveat it with ‘I know this isn’t your thing, so let’s do a celebratory dinner at home instead!’ It’s also so difficult as a woman/wife, because I think men/husbands tend to hold onto childhood friendships for longer and more often than women, but the comparison game is never fun. It’s all about finding your people, and I do believe the best friendships are ahead of me


I love this. I have gotten really lucky in the past year after joining an LGBT community band. My wife and I now have a core group of 4 female partnerships, and we love spending time with them. One of our friends recently commented it’s the first friend group she’s had where she’d be comfortable hanging out with anyone, in any combination. I couldn’t agree more. It’s really special. Thanks for sharing Carly, core groups over a ton of friends any day.