An interesting life skill that I didn’t know would be so difficult to hone is the skill of making friends as an adult. As I thought about this and why after approximately 22 years of making friends, why all of the sudden, it’s so hard to make friends, I realized somethings:
1. What you need from a friendship changes as you get older so how you look for a friendship changes.
2. For the first time in my whole life, I’m not in a forced situation to make friends where other people are also forced to make friends.
Number 1 isn’t rocket science – the little ones on the play ground just need someone to play with for the immediate future. In elementary, it can be as simple as being the spelling bee champs, or whose parents will let you stay up all night watching movies your own parents won’t let you watch. Junior High brings awareness of personality markers that form different groups. High School is about social status based on activities and skills. College is a rush of desperation leading to mediocre friendship choices which usually change throughout the years and majors until you get settled into a tight-knit group who remain close in heart but never in geography. Then there’s moves and new jobs which brings us to #2.
#2 is hard. It’s strange. It doesn’t seem like it should be hard because you have a whole life of making friends as practice. But it doesn’t really count anymore. First of all – no one at work HAS to talk to you. And no one at church HAS to invite you over for dinner. No one who is in a similar life position HAS to realize it and befriend the new people even though they already have friends. None of this HAS to happen. You have to work at it – pretty hard. Friendships don’t always come easily. Sometimes the conversations take quite a bit of work. Schedules don’t line up. People are extremely kind but truthfully don’t need one more social obligation. People you expect to befriend easily don’t pan out and people who are not at all what you pictured as your friends become your favorite people to spend time with.
And I was fortunate to say the least – I had Hubs to be friends with me but some people are in a new place with no one else you really know. You are brave.
I have no solution to this problem. I am still learning. I am watching my parents struggle with this after moving. All I can say for sure is that making friends as an adult is one of the hardest things to do. And if you meet true and good friends, keep them.