How to Keep Friends as an Adult

One thing I’ve noticed about myself is that, as I get older, I have less and less patience. I’m more particular about everything, and I don’t suffer fools gladly. When someone or something annoys me, I’m quite comfortable cutting it out of my life, because I’m keenly aware that life is short, and that I need to use my time wisely.

The trouble with this kind of thinking and behavior is that it can lead to a complete evaporation of your friend group. In fact, if you’re reading this article, then you’ve probably already experienced this. It’s one of the most common complaint I’ve read from other adults online.

“My 40th birthday is coming up, and when I went to invite my friends, I realized that I no longer had any…”

While it’s true that people can be extremely annoying, I would rather being annoyed with my friends from time to time than have none at all. Friends add a certain richness to life, and not having them is downright unhealthy. Friends and social connections help us live longer, and I’m not talking about the sort of shallow interactions you have on Facebook either. Posting a photo of your morning bagel and getting a few “likes” is no substitution for meaningful one-to-one conversations with a person, or even silly, seemingly pointless conversations. This is why I deleted my Facebook account so many years ago, but I digress…

So how do you maintain friendships as an adult?

Turns out that it’s actually quite simple.

Are you ready?

Put in the effort!

The number one reason people lose friends is because they just stop trying.

Maybe you don’t hear from a friend in a while and you figure, well… they’re being lazy, so I’m not going to bother messaging them because they can’t be bothered to message me. Let me assure you that this is a losing proposition, because guess what? People ARE generally incredibly lazy.

No, if you want to keep your friends, then YOU need to put in the effort. You need to be the leader, the person that initiates, and plans the parties, the movie nights, and video chats.

Is it fair? No, not really, but life isn’t fair. Besides, you get a lot out of this too, even if it doesn’t always seem like it.

One of the best “hacks” I found is to set a weekly Sunday reminder in my phone to message a person I haven’t spoken with in a while. I always look at my chat history and check who I chatted with LEAST recently.

I’ve been doing this for years now, and it works wonderfully. I have rich friends with (almost) all the people I do this with, and the others? Well, hopefully I’m making their life just a little bit better too.

So the moral of the story here is that you get out what you put in, just like anything in life. These same principles apply to your partner, too. If you’re wondering why she’s a little distant, or that magic just seems to be gone, maybe ask yourself: am I putting in the effort?

It goes a long way.



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Chad is the co-founder of Unfinished Man, a leading men's lifestyle site. He provides straightforward advice on fashion, tech, and relationships based on his own experiences and product tests. Chad's relaxed flair makes him the site's accessible expert for savvy young professionals seeking trustworthy recommendations on living well.

2 comments on “How to Keep Friends as an Adult”

  1. I agree with you, friends definitely add richness to life. We may not see each other as often but being able to check out on them once in a while definitely feels good and assuring.

  2. The first paragraph I was thinking “yes, yes, that’s me, 100%” — Wish I had read this earlier before I cut a friend out of my life over “political differences” (a BIG thing in the US right now) as I do feel my friend group shrinking substantially in the last years and more friends to commiserate with during pandemic would be nice…


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