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Adult Friendships

Updated: Nov 12, 2021

Vulnerability + Maturity + Intentionality create deep and meaningful relationships

Rumi said it with “What you seek is seeking you.” I reflect on this quote when it comes to forming genuine relationships with community…. “the people you are seeking are also seeking you.” In other words, the people I want in my life, also want me in theirs; it’s a matter of me showing up, authentically. When I show up authentically and with vulnerability, I attract folks who have the capacity to love and build with me.

One afternoon, as I was scrolling through Instagram, I came across a post that said “making new friends in adulthood is vulnerable;” this is so true. In adult friendships, there’s a deeper call to move beyond the relationship being based on us sharing a class together or a common interest. A common interest or place may bring us together but whats the secret sauce for the maintenance and building the relationship? How do we form these close, deep and meaningful relationships that last years? Like a Gayle and Oprah relationship. Sometimes it feels like making friends was so much easier as kids. There was a level of innocence we had and the connection was easier because it was carefree.

It’s been my experience that vulnerability, maturity and intentionality are the ingredients to maintaining and building relationships as an adult. It’s in this combination that positions me to show up as my authentic self, consistently. Experiencing “life” impacts us on many levels but one important impact to note is how we interpret the world and how we show up in it. After experiencing interruptions in trust with others and ourselves, we become more guarded than we tend to realize. We have tp protect ourselves because if we don’t, who else will? The larger question to ask is “do I need to protect myself right now?” Do we have to protect ourselves the same way we did in middle and high school or after our first or fifth heartbreak….. most often, no. As we continue to heal from those experiences and process the emotional experiences, we show up authentically with boundaries rather than defense mechanisms based on a subconscious narrative for our protection.

Jermaine Tucker’s “Stages of Friendships” article gives a nice breakdown of the various levels of friendships. I think we used language already around the stages of intimacy in friendships without outlining the stages of intimacy. This image "Friendship Pyramid" gives a more formulaic thought on the pyramid of friendships. This could be useful in identifying what’s needed in forming and maintaining “Intimate Friends.” As life evolves and we crossover into “adults” with responsibilities, body aches and changes our relationships shift because “acquaintances” aren’t enough our relationships must grow and mature as we do as individuals. “Committed to the development of each other’s character” is evidence of a deep and meaningful friendship- not all existing relationships have the capacity to grow deeper but more so shift to “Casual Friends” and that is okay.

“The people you are seeking, are also seeking you” we have to practice maturity, vulnerability with intention. It’s in our authenticity that we attract people with the capacity to meet us where we are to serve us in the best way possible.

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Cecil Johnson
Cecil Johnson
Nov 10, 2021

Great blog post, Hakim! It’s definitely making me think more about the topic of intentionally acquiring new friends as an adult.

Like you said, friendships don‘t form as easily as they did when we were younger and carefree.

I’ll keep this blog post in mind as I work on presenting myself in an open and vulnerable way that will attract my tribe of people. 🙌🏾

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