Making + Keeping Friends As An Adult: The Good, The Bad + The Weird

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this blog post is part of a series, #oneblogpostaday.

the first part of this series is focused on relationships + love.

As we grow up - friendships becomes weird.

You know what I’m talking about, right?

When we’re kids finding and keeping friends isn’t necessarily scary. We’re often at similar stages in life. We have something in common - whether it’s our classroom teacher, summer camp or even the color of our hair.

But, as we leave the comfortable confines of school we enter this world where everyone is seeking something different. Some people have 3 kids and just want to relax after work. Some are still hittin’ the bars like they’re in college.

Our values, our idea of “fun” and our amount of free time shift and change.

The cool part though is that with all those confines - we end up choosing to be around people that we actually care about. We become more comfortable with having less but better friends. We know that we could count on those humans for more than just being a person to go to yoga with.

But finding, making + keeping those friends is confusing in the first place. So, how do we do it?

be vulnerable

meeting new people isn’t magic.

when you put yourself out there,  you are vulnerable. you are exposed. you are alone.

but, you also have power.

just remember, whenever you’re feeling like that lost kid at lunch; when you expose yourself to a new crowd, people’s natural tendency is help you.

robert epstein, a senior research psychologist told fast company in an interview: “put yourself in situations in which you and potential friends will feel vulnerable, because such situations make people feel needy and provide occasions for other people to provide comfort or support.”

so, put yourself out there.

do something that you never would have before. you already made the real change — moving to a new, big city or quitting your job. this part is cake.

if anything, you can always join zog sports, right?

be curious

being curious & asking questions creates a rainbow of feeeeeelings.

that’s the scary part (we know).

so, let’s take it one step at a time: instead of thinking about that daunting feeling creeping up when you’re in a sea of new faces — start with a question.

we’re all waiting for others to speak first, or approach us. we do a little dance of smile & wave & awkward eye glances.

just speak up.

does someone in your office that always wear the coolest outfits? ask where they get it. is someone always talking about this cool new bar they went to? ask which one they’re going to next.

start simple. 

we all just want a little acknowledgement.

the last solo trip i took was to the small island in belize called caye caulker. i wanted to use it as a time to recharge, and reflect during a hectic time in my life.

i wanted to be alone — but not that alone.

so, i had to find a way to make friends. i remember going down to the little beach that all the cool backpackers congregated around. it seemed like everyone had already had their clique of friends. i was the lonely kid, looking for a lunch table.

even though as i looked across the beach for a place to lay my towel i felt embarrassed & lonely — i pushed those thoughts away. i sat down next to a fun looking group, and asked where they were from.

i started with a question.

of course, they answered willingly — interested to have a brand new person join their little group. so now, was part of them. and, it didn’t seem so scary anymore.

find that courage, and be curious. who do you think is interesting? ask them about it.

and, get some hobbies

drinking does not count. beer olympics are so college anyway.

what are activities that you’ve always been meaning to try?

wine club, book club, mentoring club. these are groups of like-minded people who, similar to you, also have other interests besides this random club their friends made them join. clubs are just a starting point for friendships.

and, trust us, these people will make you better.

they will make you think.

if you’re not into that intellectual type of shit, what about activities you loved growing up, and kind of miss doing now?

playing sports? playing music? these are activities you’re already good at — and feel pretty nostalgic. you found time for clubs in high school, so why can’t you stop the netflix binge and get out of your apartment?

remember — you only have 5% of personal time.

make that 5% worth living.

Katina Mountanos