Friendship & Adulthood: How to make friends?
As I go through some of these experiences which leave me nostalgic for childhood friendships, I can’t but become intrigued by the way people and therefore friendships change as we grow older. While talking to most of my friends, close and not so close, I’ve come to the conclusion that a lot of people feel either lonely or awkward as they learn that the friendship game is completely transformed the more they age. So, in this article I will try to share my thoughts on how to make friends as an adult.
What happened to 24/7 telling your bestie every single detail of your life? In a series of articles, I hope to explore and hopefully understand what changes, why and how to actually foster great friendships as an adult, especially as a young adult when this situation starts to become an issue.
No matter when in life, friendships are and should be a major part of one’s life. Although when teenagers and young adults enter romantic relationships they tend to forget and neglect their friendships, there’s nothing like a friend to mend a broken heart, celebrate happiness with and simply talk. Most people go back to their friends no matter what because there’s nothing more comforting than knowing there’s a person who chooses on their free will, without any gain or dependency (financial or the like), to share life with you.
As a tribute to some of those friends, whose hurt would break your heart and whose happiness would grow it, I want to delve into the complexity of those special and extraordinary relationships which most take for granted. And, it’s part of this unwritten, unsigned pact that the friendship is often taken for granted because it is often given without expecting too much.
So, this is how to make friends as an adult:
Yes, it’s a no-brainer that you have to talk to people to later become friends. Great invention. But, what I mean is that in places where you see other people who are also on their own or just talking, don’t shy away. If people are sitting close to you and talking loudly about a topic you’re interested in, put your input. If they don’t react well to that, well, they’re probably not such good friend material. This past month I was sitting at a café talking to a friend while we tried to work on something, and I was quite positively surprised as three people, on different times, talked to us and became part of some of our conversations. Soon, we started having all kinds of talks and became acquainted. Then, we shared socials and well…the rest is history.
So, do talk to people just randomly because that is how we became friends as kids. No one is born with friends, but you make them. I know it can be intimidating to just go to a café and talk to a group of people, but maybe start by talking to someone who’s having coffee on their own, or maybe buy someone a cookie and introduce yourself. Don’t worry, people won’t go crazy, and if they do – pretend it’s for a social experiment!
This is my solution to many life problems. Just speak out and be honest. Last week I and my best friends sat with two other women in a coffee place kind of setting and we talked. Although we were there together almost accidentally, we absolutely enjoyed one another’s company. The reason? We were being awfully honest! Just talking about some intimate situations because the topic arose and none of us had any intention to lie or pretend. We immediately became closer and we wondering why we hadn’t talked before although we’d seen one another before.
I’m not suggesting you go and tell people every single detail/secret of your life. What I’m saying is that it’s better to be honest and it’s okay to be real and maybe even vulnerable. This shows people that they can get close to you, that you’re human. There’s something so wrong about cultures who promote a perfect picture, especially for women. So, talk the talk with a girl and she’ll become a girlfriend, or tell a dude and he’ll become a dudefriend?
Okay, if you’re not interested in listening and being a friend, don’t seek a friend. It’s a MAJOR deal breaker if a person seems s/he just can’t listen. I had a friend whom I hadn’t met for two or three years and when we actually made it to meet (although we live in the same city) I was so absolutely disappointed. All the while she kept talking and I kept listening. Eventually, she asked me “juicy” details about some things she needed clarified about my life. Then, she proceeded to use her phone every single time I spoke and when I’d finish telling something she would drop the phone on the table, say an awkward “I See” and continue telling her stories.
Needless to say, I never called this friend again. Furthermore, I never even texted her. I was almost disgusted by her behavior. That’s not friendship – not even close. Friendship is caring. If you don’t care about someone, don’t waste their time, or yours. Yes, friendship is very joyous and everyone needs it, but it goes both ways. I love sharing my life with my friends but I also want to listen to what they have to say and share their burdens. Sometimes even give advice. Sometimes it’s hard to be a friend because you can’t help and you just have to be a listening ear of a heart that cares. But, the heart must care lest you’re not a friend.
So, if you actually listen to someone and care about what they say or what they’re going through (because everyone is going through something) then it is very easy to become friends with them. Most of my best friendships are a fruit of some honest talk when either of us opened our heart and the other lent their ears and own heart into the equation.
I’m sorry to break it to you, but it’s likely you have many friends whom you haven’t given enough attention, love, and care. Although it’s not so hard to keep friendships, it’s also easy to lose them. My mother, who has SO MANY friends and her father who had even more always claimed that you have to invest in your friendships. When I was younger this immediately translated to financial investment and I couldn’t understand why they were saying that because I didn’t need to pay anything to have my friends close. However, as I grew, their words made so much sense. This investment can mean anything, from actual gifts to what really matters: time.
As people grow older, time becomes a scarce resource. We study, work and try to accomplish more personal goals. Often, people forget that friendships are what make life so much better and easier. So, when time becomes a resource of value, it becomes an investment to give it to someone. Aside from close family, there are no better social investments than friendships.
Therefore, seek the friends you already have and put an effort. Evidently, your effort will be repaid manifold just by the interaction, let alone by the friendship overall. Also, there are some friends with whom you might’ve stopped communicating for no other reason except that you did other things in life. People go apart for no apparent reason. When you’re an adult and want to make friends, it becomes the perfect occasion to rekindle past friendships and pay them attention and some love here and there. This is one of the easiest ways to make friends because you’d start from a more advanced stage.
To sum up
I think it’s pretty evident that if you’re seeking to make friends as an adult, you should be a friend. Talk to people, approach them because most people actually like that and would love to become friends. When you actually get talking, be honest – there’s no point in being fake or market-y because you’re not trying to sell anything. People actually prefer genuine friends whom they can talk to. Which brings me to one of the most important traits of a friend, listening and caring.
So, if you want a friend, someone who will care about what you have to say, you have to put in the same effort. Which, again brings me to the point that you really ought to value friendships you already have or friendships of the past which you’ve almost forgotten because you’ve been friends in the past for a reason. If not, there are plenty of new people who want and need to talk, share life and become friends with you, just say Hi!
Do you have any advice on how to make friends as an adult?