The Lost Playground: What Adults Forget About Friendship

Life throws a lot at us as we grow up. Responsibilities pile up, routines solidify, and the carefree days of childhood. Friendships seem like a distant memory. But somewhere along the way, amidst the bills, deadlines, and adulating woes. We forget what truly makes friendships strong and fulfilling. Let’s delve into some key things we tend to overlook in our adult friendships.

What is Friendship?

Friendship is like a warm hug on a cold day. It’s having someone who makes you laugh until your tummy hurts. Someone who cheers you on even when you mess up, and someone who picks you up when you fall.  Sharing secrets whispered, and silly jokes cracked loud. It’s knowing you’re never truly alone. Because there’s always someone who cares about you, no matter what. That’s friendship, plain and simple.

Why are friendships important for adults?

As we grow up, life gets busy with jobs, families, and bills. But forget what? Our grown-up friends! Just like when we were kids, friends are still super essential. They make us laugh, lift us when we’re down, and help us through tough times. They’re like our chosen family, cheering us on. And celebrating our wins, big or small. So even if we don’t see each other every day. Remembering to call, text, or hang out keeps that special connection strong. Remember, friends are like sunshine in our lives, making everything brighter!

The Power of Play

Remember the endless laughter and spontaneous adventures of our younger years? Firstly, we forget that friendships flourish on shared experiences, not just shared updates. Secondly, the joy of simply having fun and creating new memories. Together get overshadowed by the pressure to be productive or efficient. For instance, ditch the coffee catch-up and try something new together. Explore a museum, go for a hike, play board games, or even build a pillow fort. Rekindle that playful spirit and watch your friendship blossom anew.

It’s supposed to be fun

In Rhaina Cohen’s article for The Atlantic on what adults forget about friendship, she writes, “Just catching up can feel stale. Playing and wasting time together like kids do is how you make memories.”

The point of her article is that. We tend to forget that the whole point of having a friend is having a good time. Where did the fun go!?

Just getting coffee to chat can feel like a chore. Especially when it’s been a while since you last saw someone. That doesn’t exactly make getting together memorable, does it? Think about it… when have you ever seen children spend the first few minutes of their time together going over everything that’s happened since their last play date? Probably never.

Why not try things their way and spend time together like kids? Focus on the FUN! Go explore downtown. Attend a concert. Put together a puzzle. Binge every season of Gossip Girl. Jump out of an airplane. WHATEVER just have a blast?

Quality over Quantity

However, adult schedules often leave us feeling always time-strapped. This leads to setting goals for quantity over quality in our interactions. Moreover, we fall into the trap of believing that frequently. But shallow, updates are enough. Instead, prioritize deeper connections. Initiate meaningful gossip, actively listen, and offer support when needed. Remember, a heartfelt phone call or a genuine in-person visit is far more valuable than a string of quick messages.

My friend, Maya, is always full of life, facing a tough time. She discovered a hidden treasure: her friends. Instead of just jokes and laughter. They became her support system, listening without judgment and offering a helping hand. Maya learned: that friends aren’t just for fun. They’re a lifeline. Just like Maya’s, every friendship is a gem, shining brightest when needed. Let’s remember to be that friend because everyone faces storms.

Forgiveness and Understanding

Life throws curveballs, and sometimes, misunderstandings arise. But as adults, we tend to forget the power of forgiveness and understanding. Firstly, we hold onto grudges more easily. Letting disagreements fester and erode the foundation of trust. Secondly, we neglect to communicate openly and honestly, assuming the worst instead of seeking clarification. Remember, true friends, forgive, empathize, and grow together through challenges.

Celebrating the Small Victories

Life is not always sunshine and rainbows. But amidst the challenges, we often forget to celebrate each other’s small victories. For instance, a new job, a personal achievement. Or simply surviving a tough week deserves a genuine “good job” from our friends. Offering support and celebrating each other’s successes. Strengthens the bond and reminds us that we’re not alone in this journey.

The Power of Consistency

Moreover, adults typically forget the power of consistency in maintaining friendships. Life’s demands can lead us to prioritize other aspects. Causing us to unintentionally neglect our friendships. However, consistent effort is vital in nurturing and sustaining these relationships. Regular communication, making time for get-togethers, and showing genuine interest in each other’s lives are essential elements that prevent friendships from fading away over time.

Your friend isn’t your therapist

Spending time with your friends shouldn’t feel like therapy. Even if they are your ride-or-die buddies. However, it may give you similar feelings of hope and a break from stress, remember that your friend is NOT your therapist, as was said on The Nicole Walters Podcast!

No, we’re not saying that you can’t discuss your thoughts with your best friend. However, when you’re with them, that shouldn’t be your unique activity. They aren’t going to be excited to hang out when you have another chance. If you’re always throwing your issues at them. At some point, you will experience mental tiredness as well!

You should save your most intense crying fits and requests for answers for your therapist (or perhaps an old-fashioned adult sleepover).

There shouldn’t be any pressure

Having high expectations before joining any situation is a surefire way to set yourself up for failure. With a true friend, you should be able to call off plans at the last minute with comfort. They need to be at ease informing you that they were unable to afford a birthday gift this year. If they didn’t get a “Merry Christmas” text, nobody needs to feel bad about themselves. Friendships aren’t meant to be transactional!

You two should always be free back and trusting of one another. Take advantage of the time you have right now with your friend and leave the pressure at the door. Oh, and be sure to listen to The Ultimate Adult Friendship Episode of House Guest with Kenzie Elizabeth for more tips on making the most of your time with your friends.


In conclusion, friendship holds a deeper significance than we often realize as adults. It offers emotional support, the joy of shared experiences, and a sense of belonging. By recognizing and prioritizing these aspects, we can cultivate and maintain meaningful friendships that enrich our lives. So, let us not forget the wisdom of friendship and invest time and effort into nurturing these vital connections. Through emotional support, shared experiences, and consistent effort, we can ensure that our friendships flourish and stand the test of time.


Why are friendships important for adults?

Friendships provide emotional support, companionship, and a sense of belonging. They offer opportunities for personal growth, shared experiences, and a support system during challenging times.

How do adult friendships differ from friendships in childhood?

Adult friendships often require more intentional effort and maintenance due to increasing responsibilities and busy schedules. They may also involve deeper emotional connections and a mutual understanding of each other’s life experiences.

What can adults do to nurture their friendships?

Adults can prioritize regular communication, make time for socializing, and show genuine interest in their friends’ lives. They can also plan activities together, celebrate milestones, and offer support during difficult times.

What if I’ve lost touch with old friends?

Reconnecting with old friends can be as simple as reaching out and expressing a desire to reconnect. Social media platforms or alumni networks can help facilitate these connections. It’s never too late to rebuild or strengthen friendships.

How can I make new friends as an adult?

Making new friends as an adult can be challenging but not impossible. Engaging in hobbies, joining clubs or organizations, attending social events, or taking part in community activities can provide opportunities to meet like-minded individuals and form new connections.

What if my friendships have changed over time?

Friendships naturally evolve as people grow and change. It’s important to embrace these changes and adapt to new dynamics while cherishing the shared history. Open communication and willingness to understand each other’s perspectives can help navigate these transitions.

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