Why is making friends as an adult so difficult? I guess we don't have tetherball and lunchables to bond us together anymore (if you still do, no judgement...). The more likely explanation is that opportunities are less abundant. We got so spoiled in school (kindergarten all the way through college) between classes, clubs, roommates, etc.—there was always an opportunity to meet new friends. It's a comfortable bubble.
Then you graduate and, especially if you move to a new city, find yourself starting from square one. *POP* Your bubble is gone.
I feel that. I went from a college lifestyle as an active sorority member with a full calendar, five roommates, and living down the street from some of my best friends, to a college graduate living with family in a new city and a new job. I had one acquaintance in the area. For the first six months, I was depleted and lonely. I found myself leaving every weekend to visit my parents or other friends... anything to get away.
Until finally, a coworker invited me to a party at their house on the weekend. Whaaaattt?! I wasn't too sure—everyone was already friends and I didn't know if I would click—but I couldn't spend another weekend watching Harry Potter (for my own sanity) so I said yes... and I am so glad I did! I ended up meeting some of my now best friends that night. Those people introduced me to more of their friends and the rest is history!
But then I moved again aaaaand back to square one...
Not that I lost my best friends by moving, but it's hard to hang out with people when they live 400+ miles away.
What I learned through that experience, though, is to stay open to new experiences and friendships. I could no longer afford to live in my comfortable bubble (mostly because I no longer had one); but also, why would I want to limit my social circle to my bubble?! There are so many other amazing people in the world. Crazy concept, I know... So I put myself out there, put myself in slightly uncomfortable social situations, and eventually made more friends.
All of that being said, I also learned that it's okay to still be selective with my friendships. Selective?! How can you be selective with friendships when you don't even have friends to be selective about?! Well... through my friendship-seeking endeavors, I met a lot of toxic people who brought drama, pain, stress and anxiety into my life...
NO THANK YOU!
I'm a busy woman and, quite frankly, I would much rather spend time by myself than with toxic people. *GASP* 22-year-old me would shudder at the idea of being alone in general (lo-ser!). The irony of being forced to spend time by myself when I didn't have "friends" is that I developed a new sense of security and self-confidence that allowed me to be more comfortable being alone, and more selective with my friendships. At this point in my life, I'm only interested in playing tetherball with people who are honest, fun, drama-free, supportive, driven, and adventurous (to name a few).
It sounds like I'm creating a dating profile—and honestly, that's not entirely false. Making friends as an adult is kind of like dating. Whenever I meet a new potential friend, I always laugh at the slight awkwardness of asking for another girl's number and then sending a "It was so nice meeting you! We should get drinks next week!!" text. You continue to go on casual little dates like hiking, happy hour, and getting your nails done to feel out each other's vibe.
Do we have similar hobbies in common?
How do they talk about their other friends?
Can we laugh at the same stupid stuff?
Does the friendship seem mutually respectful?
The more you hang out, the more comfortable you get with one another and start sharing secrets. You hope you can trust them not to judge you, not to share your dirty laundry with the rest of the world... You're literally friendship dating.
The moral of the story is that making quality friends as an adult is HARD, and you're not the only person who has felt or feels this. So first, get reaalllyyyy comfortable being by yourself. Then, take yourself on a date—try something new, sign up for classes or volunteer for a local organization. Don't be afraid to ask someone on a friendship date. Most people are open to new friendships. Have fun!