I can still remember all the things I wanted to tackle as I was entering adulthood. I asked questions and relied on Google for tips on things like creating a budget, building a career and how to get red wine stains out of a white blouse. (All the important stuff.)
Over time, I figured out the secrets to juggling it all and finding the answers on my own. There were even days where I felt like I was succeeding at this thing called “adulting.” Yet, here I was without the slightest clue when something as simple as making friends became such a puzzle.
Growing up, I was always a social person who loved meeting new people and making new friends. So how was it that, as I entered the after-college and newly married phase of my life, that forming new relationships was harder than ever? Even holding onto existing ones proved a little more difficult.
As I’ve grown through the years and reached this pinnacle last year of my twenties, here is what I’ve realized that nobody tells you about making friends as a grown up.
- You have to get out of your comfort zone.
Remember what it was like as kids? You’d see another little boy or girl in your classroom with a sticker of your favorite cartoon character, and you declared right then and there that you were friends. Times were simpler. Many times, you are spending your days in and out of the same places doing most of the same things without the opportunity to meet new people. Getting out of your comfort zone by doing something new is a fantastic way to meet new like-minded people. You can explore your city, check out an event or Meetup, head to a trivia night at a local bar, take a class and try something new! If you’re determined to connect with new people, you may have to push yourself a little and get out there.
- Making the time for a social life is a challenge.
I’m not talking about sending the casual text message or Facebook post. I’m talking about real quality time with people! One of the best ways to make new friendships is to get together in person and do something fun. With so much fighting for our attention and time, this can feel impossible sometimes! Think about how often you go back and forth on your calendar trying to find a free time to schedule something! Remember, this takes discipline. Even when you want it, you have to carve out the time for those people in your life that are important. This goes for new and old friendships. Scheduling a phone call with your best friend once a week might be what you need to keep that closeness. There is nothing wrong with making relationships a priority on your calendar!
- Significant others add another element to the mix.
Albert Einstein was a genius, but I’d love to go back in time and challenge him to find the perfect equation for making friendships my husband and I enjoy equally. So often one part of the relationship makes an acquaintance or an old friend but when it comes time to meet? Things can get complicated. Sometimes half of the party just doesn’t seem to hit it off as well. Understanding that just because one of you has a friend who’s with someone, doesn’t mean your better halves always need to be included. Enjoying those friendships and having some quality time one on one is just as important. Every now and again that miraculous moment happens when you do meet that perfect friend couple. When that happens, start scheduling those game nights!
- Friendships are even more important than you realized.
What I’ve come to realize is that the friendships I have now are some of the most meaningful I’ve ever experienced. The reason? I go out of my way to make each of them a priority, and so do they. Balancing a social life in the middle of everything else on your plate can seem daunting, but this is the time in our lives when relationships mean even more. The friendships we have are just that much sweeter.