Making friends when you’re a kid is so easy. Basically the only entry requirement is liking the same colour – as long as you have that much in common, you’re best friends forever. You can bond over that shiznit for hours when you’re seven, breaking down the infinite shades of emerald that bring you joy and that’s enough for a lifelong bond. That person often ends up quite literally being your friend for life. But as you grow older, leave high school and university and find yourself in all these new situations, all of a sudden you’re late twenties/early thirties feeling like, ‘hold up, how did I ever make friends?’ It’s something that is rarely discussed, but seriously, how do you make friends as an adult?
Outside of your friends you grew up with and your work mates, how many people did you just organically meet and become super good friends with as an adult? I mean, I’m fully taking into account here that I’m a pretty solitary soul who’s a little socially awkward and totally accept that perhaps my experience is different to many, but I’m guessing that your numbers aren’t way up there either.
You know why?
Because new people don’t know the jokes, they don’t know the history, they didn’t wipe snot and mascara from your face when you were crying about that dude you were obsessed with totally blanking you at a club when you were 22. They don’t know the intricacies of your romantic (both real and imagined) history, they don’t understand why you’ll never again get a bikini wax at that one place, nor do they comprehend your inexplicable hatred of sloths. And frankly, you just don’t have the time or energy to bring them up to speed.
Sometimes I wish I could just make a PDF of all the relevant points in my life and send it to any potential friend recruits and be like ‘here, familiarise yourself with this. There will be a pop quiz on Monday.’
Oh sure, you can make a new friend and build new memories with them and that’s all glorious, but there are a fair few hurdles to overcome before they can get in the inner circle, amiright? For example, if anyone ever either sends me or posts links to Daily Mail articles, that automatically rules them out as a friend for me (being that I’m not a raging racist or misogynist, I can’t see we’d have much in common). Likewise, if they’ve never seen Goodfellas, frankly I don’t know how they’d understand at least 72% of what I say.
If you’ve stayed around where you grew up, perhaps this isn’t something you’ve had to give a lot of thought to, but as someone who has moved around the world and lived in various cities where I landed knowing no one, I can assure you, getting to know people and finding some friends is a whole world of awkward sauce, amigos.
But on a serious note, there are people who find themselves, for whatever reason, isolated and very lonely at certain points in their lives (and Lord knows, I have been one of them). Maybe we all need to be a little more open and accepting of new people. Social media ‘friendships’ only skim the surface – they’re a paired down version of an actual real life friendship that requires real, human interaction, real time, real emotion and real heart and finding someone you’re willing to share that with can be tough in such a digital world.
Share your stories in the comments of friends you’ve made as an adult and how you came together.