Choosing Change (Serenity)
This is true in life, and in science, where relationship research tends to focus on couples and families. Friendships are unique relationships because unlike family relationships, we choose to enter into them. And unlike other voluntary bonds, like marriages and romantic relationships, they lack a formal structure.
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And though friendships tend to change as people age, there is some consistency in what people want from them. In adulthood, as people grow up and go away, friendships are the relationships most likely to take a hit. Throughout life, from grade school to the retirement home, friendship continues to confer health benefits, both mental and physical.
Apply the Serenity Prayer to Your Marriage
The saga of adult friendship starts off well enough. During young adulthood, friendships become more complex and meaningful. Their friendships help them do that. The world may never know.
How Friendships Change Over Time - The Atlantic
By young adulthood, people are usually a little more secure in themselves, more likely to seek out friends who share their values on the important things, and let the little things be. To go along with their newly sophisticated approach to friendship, young adults also have time to devote to their friends. According to the Encyclopedia of Human Relationships, young adults often spend between 10 and 25 hours a week with friends, and the American Time Use Survey found that people between 20 and 24 years old spent the most time per day socializing on average of any age group. Friendship networks are naturally denser, too, in youth, when most of the people you meet go to your school or live in your town.
As people move for school, work, and family, networks spread out. Moving out of town for college gives some people their first taste of this distancing.
In a longitudinal study that followed pairs of best friends over 19 years, a team led by Andrew Ledbetter, an associate professor of communication studies at Texas Christian University, found that participants had moved an average of 5. Washington, D. As people enter middle age, they tend to have more demands on their time, many of them more pressing than friendship.
Peeling away the layers
The time is poured, largely, into jobs and families. As they move through life, people make and keep friends in different ways. Some are independent, they make friends wherever they go, and may have more friendly acquaintances than deep friendships. Others are discerning, meaning they have a few best friends they stay close with over the years, but the deep investment means that the loss of one of those friends would be devastating.
The most flexible are the acquisitive—people who stay in touch with old friends, but continue to make new ones as they move through the world. But if you plot busyness across the life course, it makes a parabola. The tasks that take up our time taper down in old age. Once people retire and their kids have grown up, there seems to be more time for the shared living kind of friendship again. And it seems more urgent to spend time with them—according to socioemotional selectivity theory, toward the end of life, people begin prioritizing experiences that will make them happiest in the moment, including spending time with close friends and family.
And some people do manage to stay friends for life, or at least for a sizable chunk of life. But what predicts who will last through the maelstrom of middle age and be there for the silver age of friendship? Whether people hold onto their old friends or grow apart seems to come down to dedication and communication.
Hanging out with a set of lifelong best friends can be annoying, because the years of inside jokes and references often make their communication unintelligible to outsiders. It is Nature. It is loving kindness.
The road that is filled with rocks that skin our knees, and cause us to stumble. The mountain that seems so high and challenging at times that it coaches us to slow down and take one breath at a time. The journey that honors ALL of our teachers, even when being challenged, and brings us to Serenity, Courage and Faith. I am walking feeling a bit more raw and sensitive, my eyes more open, mind a bit clearer, and my heart wide open.
Thank you for being on the path and journey with me! Previous Next.
More digital nomads could use the Serenity Prayer – especially the long version
View Larger Image. A personal note from a humbled Yogini. Let go or be dragged. I am wondering, can you relate? By tworiversyoga gmail. About the Author: tworiversyoga gmail. Related Posts. The Balancing Nature of Practice. Toggle Sliding Bar Area. Search Search for:.