Adult friendships, why are they so different from childhood ones?

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As children, we meet other kids through kindergarten, elementary school, middle school and high school. During high school is when you usually get your first job and then you’re off to college. It’s at the moment you finish college and start your first ‘real’ job that you are no longer surrounded by your peers, by people who are at the same place you are for the same reason so that you instantly have common ground.

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Growing up we meet friends so easily; kids who were in our class, neighbors, or at the playground. As children we don’t think about what the other is wearing or what they have to say really, it’s all about if they are nice and fun to be around. Once you are no longer a child and you start your path into adulthood, making friends becomes a task that is much more difficult to achieve.

I am in my late 20s and I have to say that making friends, whether on purpose or by accident, is a wonderful thing but also one that has a higher rate of failure than the friendships I made in my youth. I still have friends from childhood and high school and some even from my first job during college. These days, however, when I meet a friend through a friend or become friendly with another person at the gym, I discover that I am more standoffish about getting to know them.

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At this point in my life, I am not malleable. I have opinions about things that are set in stone, I am independent and like being that way, and don’t like getting pushed around or made to do things I don’t want to do. The problem arises when I sit down for coffee with a new friend and she and I don’t agree, or she won’t let me get two words in between her life story. I have to click with a person for our friendship to even spark. I am super neat and clean and am pretty set in my ways, so when I meet a person that is the opposite of that and has their life in total disarray I tend to get turned off.

New friendships are kind of like dating, you need to like the person you are with, in one way or another, for there to be a reason to continue meeting up. Friends are a lifeline, a chosen family, and should be selected with equal importance. We all have many coworkers, acquaintances and such, but true friends, like the ones you would call if something happened, are hard to find. As children we are innocent, we do not understand the complexities of life yet and thus our friendships are purer and our connection deeper.

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Humans are social beings, we need one another to survive and thrive. Friendships are a vital aspect of our life and we not only want them for the fun of it, we crave and need it for our survival. Making friends as adults is much harder than as children, but it doesn’t mean that it’s impossible. You need to strip your mind of the judgment of others, remember the innocent child you once were and what made you attracted to that person in the first place. The problem starts when we let too many thoughts and prejudices jump into our mind before the other person had a chance to speak.

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