Dear, guys – welcome back to Letters From Liz!
So, ya girl is learning a lot these days. She’s learning how to budget her money responsibly (even though she did buy 6 albums within the last couple of weeks), she’s learning how to simply embrace the things she enjoys (i.e tons of KPop music, sense of humor, style), and she’s learning a couple of things about having adult friendships.
Also, she’s gotta stop referring to herself in the third person.
The thing about friendships is that I haven’t had many of them within a couple of years. The last group of people I had as close friends were the ones I had during my senior year of college in my acting class; it’s actually where I met the most real one out there, Tori! I’ve had a couple of friends within the last couple of years, but with my social anxiety and fear of keeping friends, I always ended up disappearing.
This time, I’m trying my hardest to not let that happen again and to actually develop some meaningful, long-lasting friendships.
Of course, that comes with learning about adult friendships in the first place.
What made having friends as a teenager so easy was that we were always at the same place at the same time for five days a week. Sure, we knew other people outside our friend group and such, but for the most part, your friends were your friends and you were your friends’ friends. The only distance between you guys was possibly the fact that you lived a couple of avenues and streets away from one another.
But, as I got older, keeping friendships was a really hard thing for me. Not only was I in a situation where I was cautious of having friends, I just lost touch with the people in my life because I have this fear that I’m easily forgotten… I’m working on that! After a while, I just stopped having friends altogether, and it wasn’t until recently since I started to make some friends again!
So even though I’m very respectful and honest about my boundaries with the people in my life, I sometimes have a hard time understanding how boundaries work in adult friendships.
Adults have lives. They are in romantic relationships, they have other friends in their lives and honestly adult friendships have their own side of unique issues than it does when you’re a teenager. For starters, keeping in touch plays a huge role in adult relationships; your friends are not around the block to constantly see you in person and hang out. My closest (and for a while; only) friend lived in Pennsylvania for a year before she packed up her life and moved to Florida, so our long-distance friendship only works if we keep in touch and keep a presence in each other’s lives. For me, that includes sending out holiday/birthday cards to her, keeping her in the loop of the juicy gossip in my life, and supporting her creative outlets.
Another thing is that many adult friendships mean that these people have significant others or a family in their lives. Tori is engaged, half of my girl coworkers are in long-term relationships, and yes, even guy friends are in relationships as well. While I treat everyone pretty much the same because I am not the type to transform into different people for different people, I realize that yeah, even in friendships, especially adult friendships, have different tiers.
It’s about school friends, life-long friends, work friends, etc. – people fit into different categories in your life and depending on the relationship you have with them, your willingness to share things about yourself varies. In other words, things that your life-long friends know about you are not the same things that your work friends know about you.
I don’t have that boundary with the people in my life, and that’s not always the greatest thing.
While I don’t mean any harm with the people in my life, there is just some level of boundaries you have to have with them. For example, the things I may share with my managers in casual conversation will not be so deep as the conversations I have with the other booksellers at the job. It’s just the level of professionalism and position that creates that boundary for you. New friends in my life shouldn’t know my autobiography within the first week of knowing each other, which yes, I’m aware that with some people in my life as of now, I did share some things way too quickly.
But, it’s about respecting the boundaries and voicing those boundaries, especially with friends of the opposite sex that are in relationships. Not only do I have to remain conversation on a friend level, but I have to also consider the friend’s partner and what they may think of when certain things are shared with me. It’s just having that reassurance that I’m in my lane, staying within my boundaries, making platonic relationships with new people.
Boundaries are not just things you have with people you are in romantic relationships with; they are present in all different relationships! They don’t exist because you shouldn’t trust people blah blah blah, but they’re used as healthy ways to respect yourself and your worth and show others that you will only accept that same level of respect from them and nothing less. That was preachy word-vomit, sorry!
So, have some boundaries and be honest about them, then the actual fun friendship with people begins. 🙂