As we grow up we realise it’s a lot less important to have a lot of friends and a lot more important to have a few real ones. No longer are we in the same carpools or playing after-school volleyball with our band of buddies. We’re not staying in the same hostel and doing each other’s laundry or partying every night any more either. Nowadays with  family responsibilities, working overtime, making your other half feel loved and pampered—fitting in a friend with whom you can share both, your insecurities as well as your useless laughs with seems all too impossible, which is frustrating. At this point, what you need is to stop slacking with your friends and we’re here to show you exactly how to get back on track.

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Friendship, like any relationship takes time, effort and a kind of investment you might not have right off the bat. But forming these friendships and having these people in your life help you not only get past any hurdle that life throws your way—but they’re also integral to healthy personal development and identity. As humans, our brains are wired to empathise with our peers and build bonds of friendship. For a lot of us, we define ourselves based on who we are close to.

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Now, here’s the part where you thank your lucky stars you were born a girl. Women’s bodies, unlike men, when faced with a stressful situation, trigger a release of oxytocin—also known as the bonding hormone, which draws women closer to other women.

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To get the ball rolling, start mending relationships with your old friends. If you haven’t seen them in a while, pick up the phone. If you have, do new and interesting things to bring new life to the relationship. If you’re in a long-distance friendship, find ways to regularly connect with each other—whether that means online shopping together every Wednesday night over a glass of sangria or having late-night Sykpe gossip-seshs together, make the time and follow through.

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Office friends are real friends too! Remember that friendship isn’t only about who you’ve known the longest. Friendship is also about the people that have walked into your life, told you that they’re there for you and proved it. And if you’re spending over eight hours a day with a group of people, it doesn’t hurt to enjoy their company and support outside of the boardroom too.

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If you’re in a relationship and can’t find the time to make or keep your own friends, try double-dating. Use date-night to not only spend some quality time with your love-bug but to also grow and strengthen your friendship. A double-date setting will allow for more intimate and meaningful conversation that will benefit both, your friendship as well as your romantic relationship.