Friendship breakups are difficult, and we’ve all been through them. Unfortunately, they’re on the rise due to the COVID-19 pandemic and our divisive political climate.
Though friendship breakups suck — they’re often more painful than romantic breakups — it’s also important to recognize that they’re a part of life, and there are ways to make new friends as an adult.
Politics and 2020 Ended Many Friendships
I think we can all agree that 2020 was the worst, and the divisiveness of COVID-19 regulations and the intense political division in the United States took a toll on friendships.
Recent studies have shown a rise in ending friendships and cutting off family members for political reasons. A recent poll says that “8 in 10 Republicans believe the Democratic Party has been taken over by socialists, while 8 in 10 Democrats believe the Republican Party has been taken over by racists,” so it makes sense that friendships have ended over this intense divide.
Recent studies have shown a rise in ending friendships and cutting off family members for political reasons.
Personally, the only reason I would end a friendship over politics is if someone became unrecognizable from who they once were and subscribed to extreme views. Some of my friends voted for other candidates, and we’re willing to look past it because we both recognize that we’re good people who have disagreements. However, if a friend of mine suddenly joined the KKK or became a rabid anti-Semite (this can be seen on both the far-right and the far-left), I would have to reevaluate the friendship.
It’s Normal To Grow out of Some Friendships
Friendships as an adult are hard. It was easier when we saw friends at school every day and lived down the street from them in our small college town. Jobs, distance, and adult life in general can make friendships hard to maintain, but it’s important to acknowledge that it’s okay for friendships to change and even for some to end. Some friendships are just for a season, the phase of life you’re in, or until you move to a new location.
I’ve grown apart from many friends over the years, but have also realized that many of my friendships have evolved and that some are worth putting in the extra effort. I have friends who I've known since elementary school, middle school, high school, and college that make up the small circle of friends (I’m a big fan of quality over quantity and can count my close friends on my fingers) I make an effort to stay in touch with.
Some friendships are just for a season, the phase of life you’re in, or until you move to a new location.
Though very few of us talk as much as we used to, we all acknowledge that our busy lives (and often distance) get in the way of our friendship. We try to maintain contact even if it’s just sending each other funny memes, making weekly check-ins, or doing an in-depth checkup every once in a while. With the coronavirus pandemic coming to an end, I’ve not only learned to appreciate these friendships but can’t wait to go out to bars and restaurants (my state has been very strict with bars and restaurants) with friends again.
I’m not alone in only making an effort to maintain strong friendships as Mandy Hale of The Girlfriend writes, “I look around at my life and my circle now, and I realize that the majority of the people I consider my closest confidantes have been in my life for at least seven or eight years or more. My lifelong friend Anetra once joked: ‘I’m done taking applications for friendship now. I’m set. I don’t need anyone else.’ And we laughed about it, but to be honest…I sometimes feel like that, too.”
However, some friends naturally grow apart over time, and that’s okay. That’s where making new friends comes in.
How To Make New Friends
Unfortunately, it’s harder to make new friends as an adult, but there are plenty of ways to make new friends, they just take a little more effort. If you’re religious, you might want to think about joining the women’s group at your church, synagogue, or other place of worship. You’re more likely to bond with women who share your values, and it gives you something to look forward to every week. Churches are also good places to find a moms group, especially if you have littles who need friends too.
Take the initiative and introduce yourself.
Other great ways to make new friends are through joining interest groups in your community like a yoga group or a sewing club. You can also volunteer for things you’re passionate about, take workout classes, or take classes at your local community center to meet people with similar interests as you. It takes more effort than bonding with the girl who sits next to you in class, but it’s worth it when you find strong friendships.
Losing friends sucks, but it’s also normal and a natural part of life. Luckily, this can teach us to cherish our stronger friendships as well as help us to branch out and make new friends. It’s hard to maintain friendships and make new friends as an adult, but it’s worth it when you find genuine friendships.
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