Are Your Relationships Changing? It's OK!

03/18/2015 05:34 pm ET | Updated May 18, 2015
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Spring is the perfect season to think about relationships, and how they can really affect our health. It's important to remember though that relationships can change. And that's OK.

After all, people change due to their circumstances, stage of life, major (or minor) events, etc. We need to accept that it's not only okay but beneficial for our relationships to grow and evolve alongside our life.

It's common to have a core set of friends. Often people you've known for years - these friends may be closer at some points of your life versus others. Then, there is typically a group of friends that are at the same life state as you. For example if you are part of a young couple, I bet you have a group of friends that are also young couples. New mom? You probably have some other new mom friends. You get the picture.

Some of these "stage of life" friends may stick around for life, but others end up transitory - once your kids are older and they have their own interests, you'll naturally start spending less time together. Makes sense, and it creates room in your life for new friends. Proximity is also a big factor - it takes a lot of extra effort to remain close to someone if you don't get to see them often.

Now I'm not suggesting you let go of old friends just because they don't fit your current life situation, just understand that this may naturally occur - and if you really want to hold on to those old friends, you'll have to make an extra effort to connect. A good motto: Once a friend, always a friend, just maybe not someone you spend time with every day.

Remember that the important thing overall is to develop a friendship support system. It's important to have support from someone who "gets it", which is why these life stage friends are so critical. Allow your friendship circle to expand or contract naturally and joyfully.

Need some assistance finding the "right" friends for the current season of your life? Try some of the following ideas to get yourself started:

  1. Shared activities. It's easier to get to know someone if you enjoy doing something together. So if you have an acquaintance that likes something you like, why not invite them to join you.
  2. Join a group. Book clubs, hiking clubs, mom groups, even a class at your local community college. Not all groups gel, but some do - and this is a great way to find others who have similar interests as you.
  3. Take the first step. This is often very difficult, but it will get easier with practice. Say hi to the person you see at the coffee shop every morning and comment on their sweater, the weather, anything. Talk to the lady on the treadmill next to you at the gym. Put yourself out there and people will respond.
How do you meet new friends? How have your friends changed through the years? I'd love to hear your perspective in the comments - it helps all of us feel a little better about the natural ebb and flow of friendships to know we aren't alone.