The other night, a friend of mine and I were talking about how hard it is to make new friends in the grown-up world. She recently moved to a new city, and although she already knows some people there, obviously an effort needs to be made to make some new friends.
Here’s the thing, though. When you’re a kid, making friends is easy. I made one of my best friends by mentioning the fact that we were both wearing shortalls (you know, overalls except they’re shorts) on the first day of 3rd grade. Boom. Friend made.
But as an adult, it’s a different game. You’re essentially “friend-dating” in an effort to find people who have similar interests, who seems vaguely not psychotic, and who have a good sense of humor. You essentially want to date this person, just minus the physical stuff. It’s a harrowing experience, and it usually goes something like this:
Step one: Meet potential friend person.
Okay, you’ve met someone. They seem great! Maybe it was at work, or a bar, or a party of some sort. Regardless, you have met. You chat, you get along well. No one is going overboard here and handing out phone numbers, but it’s totally a thing.
Step two: Meet potential friend person again.
What luck! You cross paths again. It’s obviously fate. This time you get a better feel for things. You think that yes, this person could definitely be your friend. But then you wonder, do they want to be your friend? Would it be weird to ask for a phone number? What if they only give you their number to be polite and actually think you’re really weird and dull? You swallow your pride anyway, and ask to exchange numbers.
Step three: The text.
This is the tricky part. You want to hang out, right? Yes, of course you do. But you don’t want it to be awkward or high-pressure. Best to find some mutual friends and meet up somewhere. Okay, yeah. That seems like a good idea. Maybe everyone goes out for drinks. That will relax the situation. So you send the text. The one that could start your new friendship or end it all.
At this point it either goes one of two ways – you begin to forge the path to a new friendship and exciting adventures, or that person actually did think you were really weird and was just trying to be nice.
Regardless, it’s a veritable minefield out there. The older we get, the more difficult it is to simply walk up to someone, say hello, and not be thought of as insane. The more difficult it is to be real, honest friends with someone of the opposite sex without everyone whispering about it. The more difficult it is to become part of a group of people who seem impossibly cool, but not in the “high school cool kids” kind of way.
Really though, you will meet people. Great, awesome, wonderful people who will become great, awesome, wonderful friends. Sometimes it will be easy – I walked into a new job that gave me the best coworkers in the world, and they quickly became amazing friends. Sometimes it will be hard – we’ve all been in a situation where it really takes some balls to put yourself out there.
But it will be worth it, because who doesn’t love making new friends?