Girl, Bye: The Advice Column.
"Nik, How Do I Go About Making Adult Friends."
Short Answer: You Don't, haha.
There was a time when I would've kept the short answer, but 3 years ago when I moved to a new city without my own home grown community, I had to learn making adult friendships was similar to dating; hard and awkward.
I totally get the loneliness of not having an immediate tribe to shoot the shit with and spend down time avoiding, but know first a foremost YOU are not alone. I know that's the immediate bullshit answer, but it's true. Realistically we're all looking for friends in this socially distanced, working from home, "I can't eat that, it's dairy." realm of life.
So, I get it.
At the peak of my "no new friends" hiatus, I took some time to learn how to be alone. As woo woo as it sounds, self love was a new feeling and admittedly I hadn't been dependent on either a man or a friend in 10+ years. So in the most rom-com type manner I took baths, enjoyed music, drank wine, binged Seinfeld and started to see the pleasure of doing nothing. After about 3-4 months, I started the steps to finding a new community.
First, I started at work.
When I look back at some of my best friendships, they all came from work. I used to be the least social with coworkers until I noticed I was getting asked less and less to hang out, FOMO hit and it started to feel like everyone got the joke but me. So, I actively make the effort to get to know the people I was forced to see on a daily basis. It was a forced tribe, but I began coming from a place of "yes" instead of my usual "maybe next time "and surprisingly, I ended having a great time. So- start there.
Second, I reconnected with MY own tribe.
I remember feeling so alone the first initial months of moving that I didn't really reach out to my own people, and that was the worst thing to do... SO- DO YOURSELF A FAVOR AND DON'T. Make the call, send the email and/ or write the letter. Revisit the people who love you, know you, and remind you that there is a home/ tribe/ community somewhere missing you. Not only did it take away the pressure of trying to make new friends, it also was a reminder to myself I wasn't lonely, but just alone.
Third, I recognized that FOMO (the Fear of Missing Out) is fucking Real.
Looking back, I think FOMO was the main reason why I was so depressed when trying to make new friends. It wasn't happening immediately and societal pressures through social media and tv made me feel like without people the world was passing me by, which is super fucking scary.
So, I did some research.
I started talking to see what people did when they weren't working and ironically everyone seemed to say the same, "nothing." The glorification of doing mundane activities is so popular because we all can relate. We all sit in bed, binge watch tv, scroll through social media for hours and text our best friends things like "this is so us." WE ALL DO IT.
So, let me get this right? I'm over here feeling like I'm missing out on a world that everyone else is enjoying and y 'all doing the same shit? Exactly.
And like that, everything changed for me.
I applied the logic of coming from a place of "yes" but also realizing if I can't, it's okay.
Lastly, I listened to my OWN energy.
Do you ever make a plan and closer to the date try to find ways to back out or stay home? I did, and instead of dreading that- I listened to my energy. Don't get me wrong, being social is cool...but being comfortable indulging in some simple pleasures slowly became my oasis. So, do just that. Don't let that FOMO bully your ass into a bar at 2am talking to another yuck mouth about grad school; don't do it bitch!
I learned making new friends came from making the time to enjoy my own solitude and revisiting where the pressure of making friends came from. Once I enjoyed my time alone, I was able to accept that people come and the opportunities taken or not taken to do things was infinite, but on my own time. Don't rush the process and be okay with walking away if it doesn't work. Nothing is worse than having a shitty friend that also rids you of your own energy. So on the quest to making new friends, be vigilant but also allow the space for individual growth--people can't ignore internal light.
…and if at the end of reading this you're still like "what the fuck is she talking about?"
Try bumble friends or volunteering.