Whether you’ve moved to a new city or simply outgrown the one crowd you’re in, at one point or another you somehow realize that it’s really freaking hard to make friends. Think about it: when you were a kid, you made friends geographically. You were friends with your neighbors, the kids at your school or wherever your parents decided you would live. When you were a young adult, you made friends based on communal interests. Like the people you met in co-curricular clubs or your college dorm. But what happens when you become an adult and your friends aren’t in the same proximity or you don’t share the same interests?
During the early onset of adulthood, we start to nestle into our priorities. We care about ourselves, our family, and our sustenance. It’s literally in our nature. The need to provide is carnal and we start to put those needs ahead of others & there is nothing wrong with that.
When you find yourself in a different place as your college bestie or over the drama that your high school friends can’t seem to outgrow, where does that leave you? Meeting new people is hard as is – especially when we are all heads down on our phones.
Let’s start there. Maybe Bumble BFF was onto something. In a digital age, where else will you find your next coffee companion if not an app? Swipe your way out of solitude! (Is that their slogan? If not, it totally should be. Call me Bumble!)
TIPS FOR MAKING FRIENDS AS AN ADULT
Meet Them Where You Already Are
My favorite place to meet people? Where I already am: Instagram. I love chatting with people who are interested in the same things I’m interested in. Responding to people’s stories is a great way to “slide into their DMs” (did I do that right?) in a non-creepy way, of course! Are they eating something that looks good? Ask them for the recipe or what restaurant they are at. Every city I travel to, I always message the insta-friends I’ve made there and usually manage to meet up and chat IRL. It’s pretty awesome. That’s how I became close with Farheen from @farhfromordinary in Chicago, Payal from @payalMUA in Philadelphia, Sabrina from @doctor_u_derm, Shem @sugarandstamps in SF and even got closer to bestie, @maryamishtiaq in NYC.
Treat It Like A Date
Be open to meeting friends of friends, friends of coworkers, heck even friends of ex. You never know who you might click with. Be kind when you meet new people and listen more than you speak. I have the worst habit of always wanting to fill dead noise with talking and it’s something I’m cautiously working on. Ask about other people’s interests and not just what they do for a living. Ugh, I hate it when people ask me that first. I’m not defined by my job, but often it’s the easiest thing to ask. I try to ask others if they live in the city? How long they’ve lived here? Do they have any siblings? Any upcoming travel plans they are excited about, etc.
Compliments are Free
Being the first to compliment someone is a great way to break the ice. Plus, they are free! Everyone loves to feel good about themselves so it’s a win-win. But be sincere, duh. I recently asked an acquaintance what she first thought when she met me and held my breath for the same response I always get “I thought you’d be really mean, but turns out you were so nice when I got to know you!” – well, who is gonna say you’re still mean to your face. In a shocking turn of events, she remembered that over a decade ago a complimented her on her purse and she thought I was super sweet. Whoa, good job high school Sabrina!
Friendship will only get harder with age. Marriage, children and the growing needs of our dependents will continue to call for us and the balancing act will get trickier. Prioritize the friendships that matter to you and try to be forgiving when others aren’t available. No one wants to be friends with the person who always bails, but they also don’t want to hang with the person who always complains. Life is about meaningful relationships so always be positive and assume that your friends have the best intentions – and if they don’t – it’s totally okay to cut them out of your lives.