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Hi friends! Today’s post topic is about…FRIENDS. It was actually a commonly asked Q in the CUR reader survey from a few months back, and I think it’s SUCH a goodie that I wanted to give myself ample time to put together something #WorthIt for all of you – hopefully this is that. 😉 But something I’ve been asked to cover + something I think is suuuuuuper relevant for SO MANY OF US is how to make friends as an adult. For some reason, we’ve got it relatively down until we graduate college (or whatever secondary education we all choose to take on after high school, if any), and it becomes absurdly + awkwardly difficult to make friends.
We get nervous.
We second guess everything.
We freak out, and it feels somewhat reminiscent of being on the playground again in 4th grade. Yikes.
While some folks immediately write off the idea of “needing” new friends past age 22, it’s not as practical a concept to maintain when the real world happens. We graduate, we move, we get married, we move again – and suddenly we’re in the middle of nowhere with our husband and 3 cats, working from home and seeing only your elderly male neighbor at 2 pm everyday at the mailbox. It’s all fine and dandy (heck, you’re married to your best friend, so it’s not bad!), but when it comes time for girls’ night and you’re a party of one…it doesn’t feel good. Also my cat doesn’t hold up her end of the deal and brings sh*tty snacks to the party, so I need someone who enjoys quality queso + margs on a Thursday night. 😉
Suddenly, we realize – we need to make friends as an adult.
*Also gulps said margarita*
It can be challenging to make friends as an adult for quite a few reasons – I think namely because we’re not sure where and kinda sorta forget how. It feels more awkward than it did on the playground, and nowhere near as simple. Right? There’s just no way it can be easy, because adult life isn’t always easy…so it’s bound to get complicated and messy and weird and not worth it in the end. Right????
Nope, not right. Not necessarily.
The biggest key: Find your peeps, lovelovelove them well. Simple as that. Once you’ve found some folks who are true, treat them as such! Some of my girlfriends and I were just talking about this the other day, because two of the girls in the group were experiencing in real time some not-nice girls lashing out (as adults) – girls who had been terrible friends to them, expecting the world in return. It was time for that tough #RealTalk convo, where feet were put down and separate paths were taken. And it can hurt on BOTH sides, because even if you’ve been in a not-so-good relationship, feelings might still be there and it still sucks when negativity is present at all. #BeenThereDoneThat. But in the end, if this is a decision you know you have to make for the better…make it, then move on with it to make friends as an adult who ACT like adults.
*Steps off soapbox*
SO. A few other keys: WHERE to make friends as an adult, and HOW to make friends as an adult. Equally important, equally confusing at times.
WHERE to make friends as an adult :
The first counterintuitive option – ha! But instead of focusing on making entirely new friends, think of any older friends that might be worth reconnecting with first. This could save your the trouble altogether AND provide opportunity to reconnect with people who you already know/knew you had something in common with, which is good!
- On the internet
SO many of my best friends are girls I met online, literally. This might be a bit obvious since I work on the internet, but I’ve met so many amazing girls through blogging! It’s easy to meet likeminded chicas when you find each other’s blogs, start commenting + reaching out, and just build genuine connections with good girls. It’s also like speed dating, in a way, since everything is already all laid out there online – if you do some digging, you end up knowing so much about someone even before that first outreach, so it’s a lot less intimidating when you already know that a friendship may be a fit from the getgo. My girlfriends and I laugh now because so many of us got connected by literally reaching out to someone and saying, “I like you, wanna be friends?” Ha!
No worries if you’re not a blogger – you can still make bombdotcom internet friends. Facebook groups can be great for finding some likeminded gals right off the bat! Actually, quite a few bloggers run their own Facebook groups for their readers + followers, so you can connect with others who have at least one thing in comment already (reading the same blog). Others started from a blog but stemmed into waaaaaay more than that, where the blogger isn’t really moderating even anymore and it’s more of a community-based free-for-all of #AllTheThings – ha! Off the top of my head, I know The Skinny Confidential is a poppin’ group, as is The Sassy Club.
- At work
Seems like a no-brainer, no? But get to know your office! While some folks might feel competitive or uncomfortable being too friendly with the folks at work, it CAN be a great space to get to know people on a deeper level (where appropriate, obvi) and create good friendships – especially since y’all might be there for years together. Take the time to get to know your colleagues! Especially those who work closest to you – physically + metaphorically. Physically, it’ll help having someone right by you to join for a quick coffee run. Metaphorically, it’ll help having someone who’s also friendlier when you’re otherwise working together collaboratively on the reg.
- At after-work activities
If buddying up while on the clock feels uncomfortable, try signing up for after-work activities – or initiate them yourself if your workplace isn’t the most proactive type! Some employers are ahead of the game and organize things like group kickball or happy hour, but if they’re not already doing so, don’t be afraid to try and set something up yourself. People crave connection – it’s our human nature! Chances are, if others aren’t already saying something, they’re thinking something – and they’ll be really grateful that you spoke up if you end up creating the opportunity for something fun on everyone’s random Tuesday night.
- At the gym
Specifically, at your favorite workout class, or something that you’ll be hitting up at least semi-regularly from here on out. You’ve already got the shared enjoyment of the activity, so if it’s also a regular class, that’s great for expanding upon. Once you’re class friends, that can turn into lunch after class together, or shopping before – etc. ALSO, what the heck is better than a buddy for working out?! The friends that stay fit together…stay together. That’s how that works amiright?
- At a bar (or coffeeshop, etc)
Many folks have used apps like BumbleBFF to find new, local friends, too. Disclaimer: I’m not the biggest fan. When we first moved, I downloaded the app because I was feeling super lonely having literally zero girlfriends in happy-hour-range from my house. No bueno. But I was finding that it was suuuuper hard to find actual kindred spirits on the app. Since I’m someone who really craves deep connections and similarity beyond a shared love of The Bachelor or queso (I mean, any girl in her right mind loveloveloves those things, amiright? 😉 ). After feeling a bit discouraged in app world, I decided I’d buck up and attempt what men notoriously pull on the reg at bars – to pick up a girl. But I wanted to pick up a girl friend, obvi. I was actually out with J, and a group of girls about my age showed up and were right near us. So I just struck up random conversation with one while her friends were talking amongst themselves, and it turned out, she was SO INSANELY SWEET and we had a lot in common, and now, we’re friends. How wild is that?! I mean, it’s not actually all that wild, but in today’s digital day + age, the fact that I met someone in a bar and became legit friends with her just feels really friggin’ cool. Ha! But in a setting like this, it takes chutzpah to keep it going beyond that surface-level bar talk. You’ve gotta do the same as you’d do “picking up” someone romantically – get their numba! So it’s important to have enough of a good, substational convo that by the end, it’s not weird AF to ask to exchange numbers, say you’d like to be friends and hang out, and go from there.
HOW to make friends as an adult :
- Be genuine.
It might seem like a No Sh*t, Sherlock statement, but I swear it’s not because too often I meet people who COMPLETELY miss the ball here. You have to BE a friend to HAVE a friend. We can’t expect folks to flock to us justbecause we think we’re awesome – it doesn’t work like that unless your last name starts with Karda- and ends with -shian. It really takes a genuine commitment to being…genuine! I lovelovelove this finding from the book The Myths of Happiness : The surprising finding is that the closest, most intimate, and most trusting relationships appear to be distinguished not by how the partners respond to each other’s disappointments, losses, and reversals but how they react to good news. Think about it! If you’ve got a friend who’s there for you through the bad, that’s great – but it might be easier for someone disingenuine to react correctly to bad news if they themselves are more a bad news bear and weirdly thrive off of it. Sick, I know. But some folks lovelovelove drama! Ain’t nobody got time for those folks. The true test of friendship strength is how genuinely someone reacts to GOOD news. Are they truly excited for you? Is there any hint of jealousy? Will they really uplift + support + encourage you through it all? Or just when it’s easy/convenient for them because they feel better and/or higher up than you in a moment? Think about that.
- Make the first move!
SOMEONE’S gotta do it. Showing fearlessness in making that first move opens up the door to convo quicker, AND it makes the other person immediately more comfortable knowing that you likely won’t reject their outreach if you’re the one reaching out – ha! Yes, it makes YOUR fear of rejection a bit more prevalent, but think of rejection as a good thing if it means you’re just weeding out the bad apple friends on the path to the best. 🙂
- Be vulnerable.
If you’re not there in good times and bad, you’re not a genuine friend. But if you don’t LET people be there in good times and bad, you might not be a vulnerable one. We feel good when we feel needed, and we trust others more when we entrust them with things! Similarly, like it says in the book Click: The Magic of Instant Connections, allowing yourself to be vulnerable helps the other person to trust you, precisely because you are putting yourself at emotional, psychological, or physical risk. Other people tend to react by being more open and vulnerable themselves. The fact that both of you are letting down your guard helps to lay the groundwork for a faster, closer personal connection. Let your friends have the chance to BE a friend to you by opening up, sharing deeper feelings, and getting past surface level ASAP. Ain’t nobody got time for surface-only. To find friends who will be there in sickness + health, you’ve gotta be that friend who isn’t afraid to be sick in front of ’em, so to speak. 😉
- Know your time commitment.
How often will you check in on the friendship? I’ve seen (+ had) friendships come and go BECAUSE of this and this alone If one party is more committed than the other, it shows…and it inevitably impacts the relationship. We all have a different friendship “style” with our own preferred communication styles to keep something going. Do you prefer texting daily to feel connected? Or are you cool with a phone call every two weeks to catch up? Do you need life moments to be shared instantly when they happen, or can they wait until they’re pooled together in one catch-up-call? I know for me, I can do either of the former, but I prefer more regular connection to feel really connected to someone. And I definitely need bigger moments to be shared as they come – otherwise, I feel like a random Facebook friend catching up on someone’s life through a newsfeed, which is near-meaningless to me.
Once you know your time commitment, it’s also OK to *share* that with your girlfriends and get on the same page with expectations. Expectations can KILL friendships, romantic relationships – the whole nine yards – if they’re not addressed up front + honestly.
- Ask for introductions.
Networking is the most effective thing on the planet, I swear, and people lovelovelooooooove to be the connector! So if you want to make friends as an adult, just make friends with OTHER people’s friends. 😉 Be on a constant game of 6 degrees of Kevin Bacon. (Do yannno that game?? It’s based on the “six degrees of separation” theory that any two people on the planet are supposedly six or fewer acquaintenance links apart – crazy!!!) Chances are LITERALLY that you know someone who knows someone who knows someone who knows Beyonce. So ask your friends to introduce you to other cool people that THEY know! It’s such a good way to a.) meet new peeps and b.) meet new peeps who you probably have something in common with already, if you share a mutual friend.
- Say YES.
I get it…sometimes saying no is just easier. Also better. But if you want to make friends as an adult, you might need to step outside that comfort zone a *bit* more than you’re currently accustomed to. 😉 As kids it’s easier, not because it IS necessarily, but because of the perspective that so much of life feels newer then. As an adult, we develop this #BeenThereDoneThat mentality and settle in, feeling more comfy where we’re at and in our routines, and less willing to extend the limb. But saying yes to something new could be that one last step to finding a fabulous friend – or heck, your soul mate. Don’t say I didn’t tell ya. 😉
How do you make friends as an adult ?
What’s your favorite method? What’s worked best for ya? Do any of the above tips + tricks resonate?
P.S. HOW CUTE ARE MY GIRLFRIENDS?!?! We had so so SO much fun together in Salt Lake City this past weekend – I’ve got a feeling we’ll be traveling to see each other again reaaaaaaal soon. 😉