Navigating Different Relationships As an Adult

navigating relationships as an adult

When you’re a kid, there’s normally not as much to worry about. These are the simple days of going to school, playing with friends, and doing it all over again the next day.

While not every kid has such a carefree childhood, these years are normally marked by less stress when compared with the adult years.

One aspect of life that changes a lot as kids transition into adults is the relationships one has with other people.

Gone are the days when you live right down the street from your best friends and get to see them every day at school or soccer practice.

Gone are the days of seeing your significant other every day after school and getting to hang out with coworkers at your hourly job. Nothing can quite prepare you for the life lessons you’ll learn as you grow older, but you can try to prepare yourself.

Becoming an adult will change a lot of things about life and will often make them harder as a result. Still, relationships will always be necessary for one’s well-being and are worth pursuing.

The trick is figuring out how to navigate these relationships as an adult and stay sane while doing so. Sometimes you’ll need a little extra help as you transition into adulthood; after all, a lot is different when you’re not a kid anymore.

Platforms like BetterHelp match you with a qualified counselor who can walk you through any issues you may be having in life.

Building community as an adult and learning how to juggle all your different relationships won’t be easy, but it will always be worth it.


Ask any adult and they’ll tell you friendships can be tricky. As a kid, and even in college, all of your friends lived close by, and you got to see them regularly.

This isn’t always the case as an adult. Many times, your friends will be spread out all across the country or even the world.

Luckily, today’s technology makes it possible to keep up with long-distance friends, whether it’s over FaceTime, text, a phone call, or a Skype session.

Adult friendships tend to be harder than childhood friendships because of busy schedules, changing priorities, and romantic relationships.

Busy schedules give each person a limited number of hours to socialize each day, meaning you have to pick and choose what’s most important.

Your priorities switch from caring solely about social outings to prioritizing things like sleep, going on dates, and catching up on work assignments.

Once you find someone you want to spend the rest of your life with, and especially if you bring kids into the picture, priorities shift to focusing on the family.

Don’t let all of these factors push you away from pursuing new friends and pouring into old friends, though. Friendships are vital and everyone needs them.

You’ll just have to adjust your expectations, have clearer boundaries, and recognize that these friendships will probably feel differently than what you’re used to. It doesn’t make them any less important, just different.

Parent-Child Relationships

Familial relationships can change quickly when someone becomes an adult. The newfound freedom of being able to make your own decisions can cause some to withdraw from their family, while others find that becoming an adult only makes them closer with their loved ones.

Transitioning to adulthood will give many the chance to finally put up the boundaries they couldn’t put up before. Parent-child relationships are perhaps the most complicated among all other familial ties, for many reasons.

You might start to see imperfections in your parents that you didn’t notice before, and this can be a source of tension or conflict in the relationship.

You should know that this is normal. As you grow from being dependent on your parents to be completely independent, a natural shift in the relationship is bound to happen.

Some adults end up fighting with their parents because there’s a disconnect as to how much involvement the parents should have in their child’s life.

Parents can be overbearing sometimes, especially if they’re feeling upset about being an empty nester.

Other relationships suddenly grow cold and distant the moment a child becomes an adult. Some children have resentments from childhood that they continue to hold onto, making a relationship hard to maintain.

You might find that your opinions have changed and that you and your parents just don’t see eye to eye. Disagreements can become common, making it hard to be around one another.

As an adult, it’s up to you and your parents to decide what type of relationship you’d like. You’re allowed to put up as many boundaries as you’d like and you get to define what the relationship look like going forward.

Make sure to be clear about your expectations and what you’d like out of the relationship. If you want to talk more, say so. If you need space, make it known.

No one can read your mind, so it’s vital that both you and your parents are open with one another.

Romantic Relationships

As people grow older, romantic relationships become more important. Many people are looking for the person they want to marry or spend the rest of their lives with.

Others are already busy building a family. While there shouldn’t be any pressure to find a mate and settle down, it’s also okay if that’s what your mind is focused on.

It’s normal to want to put your significant other first and pursue that relationship over any others first. However, not wanting a relationship right away or wanting to focus on yourself is also acceptable.

Make sure to have a balance of time spent with your partner and your friends. Consider going on double dates to make the balance easier.

Workplace Relationships

Most adults actually tend to make their good friends at work. It makes sense, too. You spend the most time around your coworkers and have a lot in common with them.

Who else can understand the stress you’re experiencing at the office as well as they can? Sometimes workplace friendships are merely a condition of convenience, but other times you can end up making lifelong friends.

It’s always important to be professional at work by setting clear boundaries between yourself and the other employees. While workplace drama is a thing, you can try to steer clear of it by conducting yourself in a professional manner.

It’s clear that becoming an adult creates challenges you probably would’ve never seen coming. However, it’s also true that you can try to prepare yourself for these changes before they wreak havoc on your life.

Being prepared for relationships to change is step one. The next steps involve learning how to communicate well with the people in your life, setting up concise boundaries, and deciding what your priorities are in life.

Remember that everyone will go through these types of struggles, and you are not alone. If you need more support in navigating your relationships as an adult, consider reaching out to a mental health professional.

They’ll be able to help you narrow down what’s most important to you and provide you with the tools to build an amazing community of people to support and encourage you through life.

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