One of the most common complaints of the average adult is that they can't find authentic friendships. According to a 2018 study, half of Americans feel lonely. Another 40% say they feel isolated from others. Between all the normal responsibilities of adulthood like work, kids, and family obligations; fitting in time to build genuine relationships feels virtually impossible. It's hard to make friends.
However, the reality is friendships are an essential component of your overall health. In her book The Top Five Regrets of the Dying, Australian nurse Bronnie Ware listed "not maintaining friendships" as one of people’s biggest death-bed regrets. Studies show adults with social support have a reduced risk of depression, high blood pressure and maintain lower BMIs. Older adults with a rich social life are even more likely to live longer than their peers!
Deepening Your Relationships
So what gives? Everyone struggles with building adult relationships, but there's plenty of evidence to tell us how important they are. The good news is you really don't need dozens of friends to be happy. 3-5 close personal relationships is all the average person needs to feel satisfied within their circle. But even still, maybe struggle to stay connected in the day to day bustle of life. Here are some easy ways to strengthen connections with people you already know.
Starting From scratch
Maybe you read this and think "That's great, but I'm not even sure if I have people I would feel comfortable texting!" Sometimes breaking the ice is the most difficult part. Just remember that almost everyone is seeking deeper friendships so it's likely that your attempt won't go unnoticed. Even if it's the person you've only made small talk around the office with, push yourself to take the next step. Invite them to lunch.
In life beyond college, friendships can feel nearly impossible to build. Remember you aren't flying solo in feeling lonely and many people are in the same boat. Be the person who makes the first move. Start engaging with acquaintances or neglected friendships more consistently. Pretty soon you'll find that you have a happy little groups of friends.