Look for these three qualities in the friends you keep close.
Life gets busy. With work, family, gym, etc., it can feel almost impossible to fit in time for friendship. It’s not like college, where you can just shout down the dorm room hallway to see who wants to grab lunch.
Adult friendships take a lot more intentionality. And transparency. Social media can romanticize friendship to make it look like people spend more time together than they actually do. But more than ever, and despite what the ‘grammers try to portray, people are lonelier than they let on. On top of that, honest, true relationships have deteriorated.
Clinking glasses together as a tribe may look like everyone is having the time of their lives while you sit on the couch binge watching Parks and Rec for the fourth time. But, if you look more closely, you will find that most people struggle feeling like they are on the outside looking in and that the quintessential "tribe" is an anomaly.
Below is a short list of unconventional, yet vital friends to look for or keep around—the ones who make up your "tribe." Maybe you only have one close friend who hits all of these marks. That's a fantastic tribe! Maybe you have a few friends on the outskirts who hit a few of the marks and you want invest more time in. That's great! They don't have to all be friends with each other. Keep in mind that seasons change and you might find yourself in the midst of a friend drought. Especially during quarantine, life can feel isolating. But, keep your head up and eyes on the lookout for someone like this:
This is the friend who you don’t have to clean your house for. Or put on makeup. Or eat salad around. This friend will listen to you while you sip wine in your jammies and will always encourage you. You might feel low, but he or she will get down in the trenches with you in order to hear you and better help you out. This friend sees you and knows when you are faking it, trying to make it. He or she will feel comfortable enough to call you out, but only to better you—not shame you.
Who likes a challenge? This friend will help you think and act outside of your usual box. Whether that’s another mile to run, another book to read, or a political concept that you haven’t thought of before. It’s good to have someone who can help expand your mind and push your physical limits so you don’t find yourself in a slump. It does not hurt to have a friend who is smarter or stronger than you.
This friend is usually older than you, although that is not always the case. Maybe he or she is more experienced or cultured. But this friend will have the advice you wish your mom would give you and the time to help a sister out. While it is tempting to always look for friends who share the same values and who are in the same life stage as you, it behooves you to also find someone who is a life stage ahead of you. This friend has been through it already and can give you the advice and probably more time than the friend who is also beginning his or her new career, marriage, or family.
While it is important to look for these deep friendships that allow you to feel like yourself, it is also important to think about what kind of friend you are and what impression you give off. Let your guard down around the people who you can trust. Be the friend who you want to have and you will find these real friendships.