The Post About How To Make Friends as an Adult
Leslie is having a baby next month. She's ridiculously cute.
Let's be honest. We want those who are never fat who are getting fat to look fat. I can say that about Leslie, because we're friends.
Leslie and I didn't grow up together or meet at college where many great friendships find their origin. We met at church. We saw each other occasionally in the halls or near the doughnuts, and we liked each other immediately. But we were in our thirties. Could we become friends?
Jerry Seinfeld suggests no.
He's not wrong. Making friends as an adult is challenging. My friend Kara, who I've been best friends with since 1993, knows all my secrets. ALL OF THEM. She also knows the easy stuff like I love guacamole and guys with nice forearms and sitting at restaurant tables far from toddlers.
We have a shorthand that's delightful.
But even still, Kara and I don't connect on everything. She thinks Twitter is weird. Shopping is boring to her. Her career doesn't define her. She does not find The Bachelor riveting.
That's where Leslie comes in... Leslie boldly came up to me one Sunday and said "I'm going to need us to go to breakfast and become friends."
We did both.
Here are my tips for doing the same:
1. Find strangers. Take a class, join a club, volunteer, or join a gym. Also, look at the activities you're already doing and see who's around. Do you like any of those people? Maybe you spend all your time on social media - who's there that you like? My real-life friend Erin was a stranger I met on Twitter. We both loved books, music, Doctor Who and snark. One day, she suggested we meet for coffee. She brought me a cupcake and we've been friends ever since.
2. Find non-strangers. Who are your friends' other friends? Do any of them love the things you love? What about your friends' significant others? What about the people you went to school with who have grown up to be interesting adults. Facebook is a great screening tool. Look at the folks you haven't unfollowed and consider seeing them in person.
3. Speak up. When you're around someone you think might become a friend - talk to them. Ask questions, learn their story and share yours. It doesn't have to be a 3 hour meal, but snippets of conversation can lead to learning all about a person. Be vulnerable, not dramatic. Be transparent, not codependent.
4. Don't give up. I'm not suggesting stalking your prospects, but people can be shy or distracted or in a busy season. Don't be afraid to keep putting forth effort to get to know someone.
5. Don't look for a BFF. Sometimes we think we need the types of friends who will be in our wedding or be the godparent to our kids. Lower the bar. Look for a book friend or sports friend or parenting friend or neighbor friend or a Real Housewives of Atlanta friend or one of each. Simply fill in your gaps.
Quality friendships are ridiculously valuable and they require real effort. Until they don't. The effortless friendship is worth any awkward pursuit.
How do you make friends as an adult?