The evolution of my friendships has been fascinating when I look back on my life with friends. It’s directly correlated to how I have evolved. Because of my personality and how I continue to grow, it’s a challenge to keep friendships with many people from my past. Alas, those versions of me are long gone, although a few pieces have remained the same. Only the strong have survived in my life, as I am not afraid to distance myself from people that aren’t aligned with the current version of me. Making friends as an adult has been one of the biggest gifts I have ever known. Being an adult comes with so many challenges, and hopefully I can give you some of the tips I’ve used to create and accept adult friendships with more ease.
New and Old Friends - All Transplants!
I'm a real estate broker
who specializes in helping people move to a new city (New Orleans). I noticed my clients craving interaction once they settled in. While they are thrilled to be in their dream city, they realize that making friends as an adult in a new city can be challenging. They would ask me to hang out one-on-one, and while I enjoyed it, I didn't have the bandwidth. I’m also an introvert, so while I am extroverted at my job, I want to come home and curl up with my pets. Therefore, the solution was to start having gatherings at my home with the newcomers. I chose my house is because it’s a low stakes game for all. My preference is to completely host the party soup to nuts, so everyone just shows up for a good time. If you’re not willing to go out and find people, host something. Yes, get out of your comfort zone like I did and have people over. And tell them to bring a friend so more people can meet and create relationships. Win-win!
Love These Friend I've Made as an Adult
Accept the Circle is Smaller
This was so hard for me to accept for a long time. My younger years were filled with humans. So many humans to hang out with, go out with, just be with. However, as I got older and I started making friends as an adult with different people, I noticed how little I had in common with people from my past. My circle started to look more like a dot. Finally, in my 40s, I am A-OK with this. For a while it was tough to let myself be uncomfortable with this new reality of fewer friends, but I let myself be uncomfortable. Having a smaller circle means exclusivity. It means you get to choose who is close to you. A small circle does not mean people don’t like you, either. It’s just an adult choice that comes with evolution and age. Embracing it is so liberating, and if you aren’t there yet, I do hope you are soon. It's the bees knees.
Fitting in is one of the worst things on the planet. It’s altering who you are to someone else’s expectations. As the proverbial black sheep of my family, I never fit in, but it was really hard when I was younger. When I found myself trying to fit into my family, I felt awful. Like I was selling myself out to make someone else feel better about themselves. It’s the same with friendships. Making friends as an adult gives you the agency to keep people around that you belong to, not where you have to try to fit in. Belonging is a much better place to be in life, and you have to learn to belong to yourself before you can belong to others. Your gifts, talents, kookiness…it’s not meant to be for everyone. Pick and choose who you let into your beautiful existence. Life is too short to keep soul-suckers around. And for the sake of all humanity, stop trying to make yourself small for others’ insecure sakes. You’re doing neither of you a favor. Parade your crazy and people will join your parade!
Release Friendships That Are Not Aligning with Your Values
This is a big one. How do you make room for who you are now when you’re so tightly holding onto what doesn’t serve you any longer? My dears, this includes stale friendships. Making friends as an adult becomes impossible when you’re wrapped up with your past people and past self. I had a best friend for 20 years. We were in a very unhealthy and co-dependent relationship. Everything one did, the other did. Things started to unravel in our 30s, and one day we just stopped calling each other. At first it was quite comfortable, then I felt a bit empty, sad. Eventually I processed it, much through therapy and just letting myself feel the emotions. I realized that our relationship was petering out for a while, and we both held on so much that it was suffocating. I would never have gotten to meet all the amazing humans I know now if I was still so focused on that relationship. Sometimes, it's just time to let go.
Find Activities You Enjoy and Meet People Through Those
What a damn effort this is. Ugh. Particularly after this global pandemic, I have noticed (in myself as well) how I harrumph at leaving my house. My preference is to work from home, workout at home, eat at home. I may be turning into a hermit, send help. However, I have been encouraged by my therapist to seek out activities that make me smile as well as make friends with people of the same mind. She is right, and I am trying to decide how that looks. One of the things I did do was start a book club. It has since ended, but I tried it and I did enjoy it. For you…what does that look like? Perhaps, SCUBA diving, pottery, a walking club, or adult gymnastics. The older we get, the more making friends as an adult seems a bit daunting because we get stuck in our comfortable setting. However, I do think trying things out and meeting new people is a gift. Remember: you only live once. Do the tap dancing class if you have dreamt of it for years. You never know who you’ll meet.
Get Out of Bed and Find Your People
Is making friends as an adult a lot to think about? If so, reach out to me for more tips. I’ve actually gotten great at matchmaking humans, and I would love to help you figure out what you need to create more joy in your adulthood. Staying in stale, old, stinky, rotten relationships serves exactly no one, and if you know you’re in one or even more than one, it may be time to make the move. Once you identify it, there’s no going back. You can’t un-know this fact, and you likely won’t go back to the same old you that approved of said relationship. Moving on is scary, yes, but you can do it. Let yourself be uncomfortable, unhappy for a bit, discombobulated. What? Do you think you’re above those human feelings? You aren’t. I am not. We can get through all the hard things together, and come out 1000x better than we were before. Let’s do this.