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Tips to have deeper friendships in your adulthood

I'm sure that within this sphere that we so call earth there is another person who, like me, finds it difficult to have friends in their 20's. We not only struggle to find the time to see our friends because each begins to have other types of commitments such as work, marriage, children, but also struggle to find ways to grow the relationship and make it last even with those commitments. It is certainly difficult but not an impossible task. So here are some tips to deepen your friendships that have worked for me:

Let go of all your expectations in all aspects

Having new or old friends that you want to connect with can take time. Remember that they're all people with commitments and occupations different from yours or they may need time to let you in. Sometimes we make the mistake of expecting that if you're there for them, then they will be for you. Sometimes you might even think that you are for them when in reality it's not! It will take a level of communication and understanding from both sides to know what you need.

Take the initiative

This is a bit difficult for me because previously I have been the friend who doesn't come to the plans hehe or the one who sometimes prefers to be at home watching a movie in pajamas than going out. I'm sure many of us feel that, especially when we're growing up. However, I believe that if you want to have lasting relationships, we must do our part to be able to hangout with our friends. Take a risk and create the plans for the weekend, go out for coffee or go out to exercise with someone, go to the movies. Be the one to take the initiative to go out.

Be the first to be vulnerable

When we want to grow a relationship we want the other person to be the one to share what they're dealing with or to ask us what we need to hear in order to share and it's not always what is needed. It may be out of your comfort zone and the answer may not be what you expect but if we stay in the "what would happen" we will never really see a growth in our friendship. Sharing first almost always opens the door for the other person to share as well.

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Make questions with long answers

I know many people who find it difficult to have conversations like this, either because they don't know what to ask or because they get nervous and block. I'm not saying that I'm the exception but I think it's something that comes easy for me many times. The trick is to observe and pay more attention to the person you are talking to. Ask questions that might give you more information about him/her/them and never be afraid to ask a little deeper questions. You can start by asking questions like: how's this project going? How have you been feeling? and continue to level your questions like: Is there a fear you haven't overcome? What's your biggest dream?

Share your experience at the moment and not after they happened

I know many people, myself included, who deal with sharing what we are experiencing for fear of being judged, mocked or simply left out if we reveal that we're not as perfect as we say we are. However, sharing what we are experiencing can benefit our friendships. Life can be very difficult in many ways and being brave enough to reach out to our friends when we feel down and letting them know that they can take care of us can be one of the best things to deepen our friendships and grow. They can feel important and that you care.

Be present and always ask them how you can support them

One of the things I've learned in recent years is that not everyone wants or asks for support in the same way. I have some friends who ask for advice as well as others who only ask to be listened to and some who ask for both.

If you see them behaving differently, ask questions:

Are you okay?

If you feel comfortable, would you like to share what's happening?

Be honest, if they try to pretend that they feel fine and that nothing is happening, I usually tell them how I feel them and that this is not their normal attitude. They almost always tell the truth about what they feel and take time to express themselves. If they stop, take it as a pause instead of assuming they're done and when they're really done, validate their emotions. Have you ever watched the movie inside out? remember sadness? She was perfect for validating people's feelings, take her as an example!

And finally when you've validated their emotions, ask: How can I make you feel supported? I can listen to you and let you vent, I can give you advice or we can look for some activity that distracts you.

It will really help you a lot, not only with your friends but with all the people with whom you want to grow a relationship with.

These are the tips I can give you. Just as we grow from school to work, from boyfriend/girlfriend to marriage; our friendship relationships also evolve. Like everything, it takes effort and a lot of work to maintain them. They are those friends that we go to talk to when we fight with someone, when we are afraid, when we lose someone. They are our family.

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