Why Are We Embarrassed to Admit We Want Friends?
We have no problem saying “I want a boyfriend,” or “I need a husband,” so why the insecurity around our longing for friends?
I’m going to cut right to the chase. Making friends is awkward.
As we get older, making friends becomes harder. But the reason why, I think, is because we aren’t consistent in our friend-making efforts. We make excuses like not having enough time to meet up for coffee and not being able to get a babysitter to go to dinner.
We can’t walk across the street to the frat house and crack open a beer with whoever’s sitting in the living room playing video games anymore.
Because we’re no longer residing in communities abundant with people just like us, we now have to work for our friendships. And because we have to work to find and retain companionship, it feels like another job — the last thing we want.
As adults living far past our college years, marriages, moves, kids and careers are the main friend-repellants — but that doesn’t mean we should stop trying to make (and keep) friends.
Fact: Humans want to feel loved and accepted by other humans. We (the human race) have an innate sense to belong to a group of likeminded people.
Furthermore, it goes deeper than simply wanting a friend or three. We legitimately need them in order to thrive in the world.
New Crew, New You
I’m moving next week. And my concern doesn’t lie in finding a new preschool for my son or ensuring my marriage stays intact — this is the third “big move” the three of us are making, so I’m numb to movers piling my clothes into boxes and introducing myself to hair stylists as the new girl in town. I’ve actually grown to love my low-key-nomadic lifestyle, and am looking forward to hanging out in Connecticut, however long that may be. Maybe forever.
My concern is meeting cool people. It’s easy to say that I’ll make trips to NYC and join Meetup groups and volunteer in my new community. Because on paper, it looks easy. I say I’m going to meet up with the three friends I have in New York, but am I actually going to do it?
I think I will, but I can’t rely on once-a-month hour-long train rides turned into a few hours of hanging out with my girlfriends at their apartments as my sole variant of a social life.
Also, I’m a freelancer. I don’t have the luxury of befriending co-workers in the break room. Instead of viewing my isolating profession as a setback, though (I see you, self-help books), my only choice is to perceive it as an opportunity to get out into the big bad world of the New England states on my lonesome to seek out likeminded women through places of similar interest like clothing boutiques, coffee shops, smoothie bars, fitness studios and bookstores.
If not having friends is what we’re all fussed up about amidst the stresses of work and parenting, why are we afraid to say, “I’m lonely and need a friend” out loud?
Making new friends boils down to convenience.
It’s convenient to make nice with neighbors down the street. Hello at-home entertainment where you don’t need to find someone to watch your children or spend $300 on a night of “catching up.”
Although moving cities is now no different than picking up my dry cleaning, I know my pattern of excitement followed by sadness followed by frustration followed by acceptance is on the brink of eruption.
I know it will take me exactly one year to get used to my new life. It’s like clock work. And I know I’ll need friends to get me through it.
Making Friends Tip
The beginning of anything is always exciting. It’s finding ways to sustain that excitement that proves difficult.
Don’t be lazy. Keep in contact with your current friends and make an effort to meet new people by forgoing Netflix to go to a happy hour or wellness summit or marketing conference or whatever it is that you’re into.
The success or happiness you feel with work is most likely fleeting. Good friends, however, can be the one constant measure of fulfillment in your life, next to family.
Make the time to welcome new people into your life. They make everything so much better.
Thanks for reading!
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