Before we talk about making friends, let’s first define who a friend is. A friend is a person with whom one has a bond of mutual affection, while an acquaintance is a person one knows slightly. An acquaintance is not a close friend. Often, these two terms are mistaken for each other, especially among adults.
Formation of friendship during childhood is sprung from spontaneity and fleeting needs. But surprisingly, some of these friendships last a lifetime.
Unlike children, adults tend to make more acquaintances than friends, and this is due to several reasons such as:
Adults make deliberate choices about their lifestyles, life partners, career, and friends. There are some clear expectations from friends and when these expectations aren’t met, friends could quickly become acquaintances.
Adults rarely have time to hang out like they did as children. Work, hustle, and many other engagements occupy time. For instance, if you work in Lagos, you may hardly have time to hang out with friends because of traffic and day-to-day stress.
“I can’t remember the last time I hung out with friends. I would go to work from Mondays to Saturdays – 8am to 7pm. Then on Sundays, you’d find me in church, ushering from 8am to 12pm and workers meeting from 12 to 2pm. Usually when I get home, I rest. No time for friends,” Temitope, a Lagos factory worker explains.
Some adults make more acquaintances than friends because of past experiences. They avoid placing much expectations in order to not be hurt or let down. A classic example is Rahlee, a poet, who has made some friends this year but makes minimal efforts in sustaining the relationships.
Rahlee says, “I don’t expect anything from anyone, I don’t put anybody on any pedestal. If it graduates, fine, if it doesn’t, so be it. I just remain my authentic self, keep my vibe, don’t go beyond my boundaries and respect their choices.”
“I’ve learnt that people don’t put you where you put them. Most people get hurt because they expect too much from people they just met. You matter only to people you matter to, and they’re only few. I’m not looking for friends, only for those who share my vibe and that’s rare.”
Although these reasons are valid, does it mean one can’t make new friends as an adult?
The role of social media in friendships
In the days of yore, penpalling was a thing. Letters were exchanged between people who hardly met and may never meet. However, the letters were their ways of checking up on one another and showing support in little ways.
Nowadays however, social media has replaced letter writing. With a simple ‘hello’, you can make a new friend, though friendships require more effort than compliments and greetings.
So, if you’re the type who rarely has time to hang out with people, try social media. The advantage to it is that you have the choice to meet or not meet these friends.
Sola, a content writer, comments on this. “Online friends are the best. The ones I met in 2019/2020 have played a huge role in my life and we’re still friends till date. Most of our interactions are online and I’ve only met them a few times. Some only once.
The thing about social media friendship is that, like friends you meet physically, not all of them would last. I think people make the mistake of chatting with one person and expecting that person to last forever. It doesn’t work that way. You have to put efforts in making it work and more importantly, be able to deduce when they’re not that into you so you can move on quickly.”
The role of interest in friendship.
Friendships during adulthood are extremely possible when common interests are put in place. Forcing friendships with people with whom you have only minimal common interests can be quite tricky.
Usually, it doesn’t last because according to Adejoke, a fashion designer, the more the mutual interests, the closer the bond. There would be so much to talk about, right places to hang out, and more friends to join the group.
So, good luck as you make an effort to sustain your friendship or make new friends this festive season.
Article written by Sola Tales.