What are Low Maintenance Friendships - and are They Good or Bad?

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Published Date|
March 16, 2024

What are Low Maintenance Friendships - and are They Good or Bad?

As you get older and move further away from a lot of your friends, it can become harder and harder to stay in touch.

Keeping up with friends from afar is easier than ever with all of the technology we have access to - but is checking in with a quick “How are You?” text every month really enough to maintain a friendship?

Here at KMA Therapy, we know you want to make the most out of your relationships, whether they’re platonic or romantic. For over 15 years, we’ve helped our clients and community learn how to build and sustain lasting relationships.

After reading this article, you’ll know what low maintenance friendships are, their good and bad sides, and how to improve your friendships.

What is a Low Maintenance Friendship?

A low maintenance friendship is a relationship where you maintain your closeness with another person without necessarily speaking to them every day.

what are low maintenance friendships

They are the type of friendships that are able to last over time and across distance - you feel like you can always pick up right where you left off, like no time has passed.

Another term you might have heard is a “tenured friend” - essentially, tenured friends have been a part of your life for so long that you know they’ll always remain your friend, no matter how long you go between catching up.

tenured friend

The Pros of Low Maintenance Friendships

Low maintenance friendships can feel special and comforting because you know you’ll always have someone to turn to during life’s big moments.

1. They’re flexible

As you and your friends start to build your own separate lives, you’ll end up having less time for each other. This doesn’t mean you’re less important to one another, but it can change the way your friendship is structured.

Low maintenance friendships involve an understanding that life can be busy and complicated. You’re both flexible on the ways you keep in contact, and you don’t make each other feel guilty if a few weeks go by without checking in.

If you haven’t caught up in awhile, you’re happy to hop on a FaceTime call for a virtual movie night or catch up on the phone while you drive to work.

2. They ease your stress

Sometimes, despite their benefits for your mental health, friendships can add a lot of unwanted strain and pressure to your life.

Low maintenance friendships are usually a lot less stressful because there aren’t any high-pressure expectations.

You know you’ll always celebrate your birthdays together, but you don’t get upset over a missed phone call every once in a while.

3. They are enduring

Low maintenance friendships are lasting and enduring. While your life circumstances may change, the way you care about each other doesn’t.

Even if you’re in a different phase of life than your low maintenance friend, you’re both just happy to still be part of each others’ lives.

You have a shared history that makes your present and future friendship that much sweeter.

low maintenance friendships pros cons

The Cons of Low Maintenance Friendships

Low maintenance friendships can also be difficult - when you’re far away from someone or don’t see them as often, it can feel like they miss out on all the small moments that make life special.

1. They can feel surface level

When you aren’t interacting with someone as often, it can feel like a lot of the time you do spend together is used to catch up on each others’ lives.

You might finally meet up for lunch, only to realize you don’t know the new coworker they’re talking about or the new restaurant they just went to.

Taking the time to catch up on these details can be fun, but it can also be hard to get into deeper conversations if you’re lacking context about each others’ lives.

2. They can lead to miscommunication

Even low maintenance friends have their limits.

Going a long period of time without talking can be convenient for one person and stressful for another, and it’s easy for silence to be misinterpreted as a lack of care.

Cryptic texts or short voicemails can be misinterpreted, leaving a friendship with more questions than answers.

3. They can sometimes feel unsupportive

Your low maintenance friends often aren’t the first people you go to for support, simply because they usually aren’t around when problems arise.

While you might feel like you can tell a low maintenance friend anything and they’ll understand, you’re probably not going to call them every time you’re dealing with something stressful.

One of the great parts of friendships is having someone you can vent to about the big and small problems you face every day - and a lot of the time, the person you reach out to is not one of your low maintenance friends.

3 Ways to Improve Your Low Maintenance Friendships

These three tips can help keep your low maintenance friendships running smoothly.

1. Prioritize check-ins

Set up a regular date night with your low maintenance friends.

Whether you want to meet up in person or you just want to set some time aside for a phone call, establishing a routine can help you make sure you keep in touch and don’t fall out of sync with your friends’ lives.

2. Communicate about the silly things

You might feel like you can only bother your low maintenance friends with big life updates or important events, but the small moments in life are just as important.

Send them a few messages every week about the silly moments you’re experiencing, whether you just had the best coffee ever or you just got cut-off by someone with the creepiest bumper stickers you’ve ever seen.

These small moments of connection are important and help you keep your friends updated with what your daily life entails.

3. Show your gratitude

Don’t be afraid to tell your friends how much they mean to you!

It can be easy to take low maintenance friends for granted, so remind them how important they are.

Whether you go all-out for their birthday or you just send a sappy message every once in a while to remind them how awesome they are, make sure to tell them just how grateful you are to have them in your life.

Next Steps for Building Strong Relationships

After reading this article, you know about the pros and cons of low maintenance friendships and how to keep them running smoothly.

Here at KMA Therapy, we’re relationship experts. No matter what kind of support you’re looking for, our talented relationship therapists are here to help.

Register online to connect with our team today or read our Therapy 101 Guide to learn more about how therapy can help you.

If you’d prefer to keep reading, explore these related articles:

Author |
Emily Weatherhead (Guest Author)
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