The Importance of Maintaining Adult Friendships and Fighting Their Obstacles

Ariana Jaramillo, Political Writer

Healthy Friendships Become a Vaccine Against Mental Health Struggles

A good friend shares laughter, advice, and support when it’s needed the most. Sometimes it’s when they help you clean your depression room. Other times it’s reminding you to breathe when panic fills your chest. It’s why friendships are important to maintain: they provide the support needed to combat mental health difficulties.

However, maintaining friendships can sometimes be easier said than done. As responsibilities grow, it becomes more difficult to make time to connect. “I work a full-time job, and I go to school full-time. I don’t have much time to spare, and when I do, I use it to rest,” said Maya Rodriguez, a student at California State University, East Bay.

Professional responsibilities aren’t the only obstacle either, as many adults begin to form and prioritize their families. “Taking care of my kids has become my priority, and unfortunately, not a lot of people are able to understand that I can’t go out as often as I’d like. It definitely leaves me feeling lonely, and the pandemic hasn’t made it easier,” added Lisa Johnson, a CSUEB student.

The pandemic required many people to remain isolated for an extended period of time. The loneliness that was felt contributed to a rise in depression and anxiety, a study found. “Before the pandemic, I was an introvert who craved alone time, but it became too much. I missed my friends, my family. I spent my 20th birthday alone, and it was the loneliest I ever felt,” shared CSUEB student Rosemarie Hernandez.

Despite the difficulties of their obstacles, friendships become stronger with mutual understanding of them. “My friends and I understand that we’re all busy. But at the end of the day, we know that if we’re in need, we’ll be there for each other instantly,” Rodriguez included.

Ultimately, friendship serves many purposes. According to Dr. Harry Sullivan, a famous psychiatrist, friendships provide “companionship, assistance, affection, intimacy, alliance, emotional security, and self-validation.”

Coincidentally, those factors are necessary for maintaining good mental health and personal development. They are also mutually beneficial, uplifting both parties and increasing connection. “I love my friends. We make each other laugh, and we bring the tissues when we need to cry. They’re one of the best pieces to my life,” shared Hernandez.

Click here to learn more about the importance of maintaining healthy friendships.