Friend Dating | The Struggle is Real
Yesterday I took some time to ask questions about who you are or tips you might have for me. I really loved reading through so much feedback. It's fun for me to understand who you are better. Thank for taking some time to comment.
There were a few posts where the responses caught me by surprise and this one is at the top of the list. "How do you make new friends as an adult?" Guys?! Why is this so hard?! The good news, we're all in the same pool. I feel as though this topic is important enough to spend some time on. Just like anything, the way I've done things isn't the perfect way or the exact recipe for making things work but I'm a big believer in sharing the process of hard things in order to ease someone else's journey.
Without further adieu, how do we make new friends in new communities? To me, this is time-consuming, emotionally exhausting, at moments uncomfortable and completely worth all of it. I have moved often as an adult. Since I moved out of my parents home at the age of 18 to the time I married and moved onto our forever plot of land (unless something super crazy happens) I have moved upwards of twenty times- TWENTY times. That's twenty-ish times of packing and unpacking boxes, settling in and making somewhere feel like home and then onward to connecting with new humans in that area. Of those twenty (ish) times, nine of them have included crossing a state line and several more included moving across a town in an entirely new area. I mean, I feel like I just got a work out in thinking about it.
So if there's one thing I've learned how to do in my adult life, it has been making new friends.
I wanted to offer a few suggestions from you that I can totally get behind, I hadn't thought of but wish I had or keep it in my rulebook the whole time for the how to's of this topic...
I have made friends with almost every single one of these tactics. I've taken pottery and hand lettering classes, I've totally initiated awkward conversation with someone and then the next time I saw them that second conversation felt much more comfortable or not, and then I would know it's a no. My experience has been that if the conversations don't feel forced and/or you lose track of time in any capacity they're probably a good fit for a "friend date." Friend dating is so valuable. A cup of coffee, a date at the park if you have kids, happy hour, taking a class together whatever it might be it's important to me to get someone on one time and learn more about what makes them tick. When I first moved to New York, it was the hardest. Not because New Yorkers are a*sholes but because I literally knew two people when I moved there. One was my new boss and one is an ex's sister-in-law (who I adore). I connected with people through mutual friends and from there they were so gracious to include me in their church group, out to drinks with their friends or otherwise. From there it snowballed...
When I returned to Colorado Springs, I spent an unusual amount of time in coffee shops and allocated a large budget to lattes which had more to do with being present and making my face familiar to the ones that seemed so at home than for the sake of consuming that much caffeine in a day. I paid attention to events happening near my apartment that were associated with things of interest, I introduced myself to people that seemed to have a similar vibe and then connected through social media. And as weird as it sounds, once I moved to the north end of town I spent a lot of time at the shops of Briargate and after a while coincidentally grew friendships with employees. Ha! I didn't anticipate those relationships but I wouldn't change them. I cherish them. It took a lot of work and time but once I finally found a few really solid friends they introduced to other people and so on. I feel like it took a solid 12-18 months after committing to COS to really feel like I had started to rebuild with "lifers" like I once had in Phoenix.
Building lifegiving, really good community takes time. I love the ebb and flow of it although it sometimes means hard goodbyes to the ones I've grown closest with. It means getting uncomfortable when it's easier to just read a book with my glass of wine or stay at home with my family. There is a time and place for all of that but if you're feeling like you just need a few good friends for a different chapter of your story, I get that. I really encourage you to put yourself out there. While I don't feel the deep need for 3 dozen best friends like I once did, I love meeting new people and connecting with other's friends and hearing more stories so I'm always kind of "dating around..." ha! I think it's good for us, as humans. I hope this feels helpful for you that commented saying you're just not sure what to try and I hope its encouraging for those of you who already have your methods in feeling and remembering, everyone needs a few new faces at some point in their lives.