Remember when it was so easy to make friends? You met other kids on the playground or at Cub/Girl Scouts or at school…You played on the jungle gym, or passed notes to each other in class and a friendship was born.
Making friends is so easy when you’re young, especially when you’re in an environment where everyone is around the same age and has a shared experience, like school (including college). But how do you make friends when you don’t have the benefit of constantly being surrounded by like-minded people?
This was my conundrum when I moved to Florida, and to some extent since I’ve moved back to Minnesota. By nature of my industry and career, at work I’m surrounded by older White men (with a few White women sprinkled in), and that’s not really a source of friends. Having sorors is great, but just because two people share the same Greek letters, that doesn’t mean they will be friends.
So when you’re out of school and in your career, how do you make friends? My strategy was to dive-in & get involved with activities that would allow me to meet new folks, via Meetup groups & Restaurant Mafia in Orlando. I had friends in other places hook me up with their friends in Orlando, so at least I’d know a couple folks, which helped a lot.
But meeting people is just step 1…it takes more than that be friends with someone. That’s the part I’m not good at – not being a friend (cause I think I’m a good friend), but recognizing that someone wants to be more than casual acquaintances with you and hanging out with them. I tend to not want to bother people or take up too much of their time, so with several of the friends I’ve made in the past 5 years, it took me forever to get close with them. I wasn’t hiding, I was just oblivious & also shy (what can I say, I’m a wuss). Asking a guy out on a date is easy…but asking someone to hang out as friends? Tricky…at least for me.
So how do you make friends as an adult? Am I the only one who has a hard time with it? Let me know!