I’m starting a new series of posts here at On the Other Hand about making friends. Most of my current friends live far away or have very busy lives. As much as I love and appreciate them I’d like to meet some people who live nearby. There’s nothing like getting a warm hug in person or calling up a friend last-minute to see if they wanted to go to the park this weekend or check out that parade or art festival.
But before we begin let me tell you a story.
It Was the Summer of 1994…
I was 11 and my parents had just moved cross-country to pastor a new church. We’d spent the last four years living out west and pastoring a small, independent church. Most of our members were young college students living away from home for the first time and so many weeks my brothers and I were the only children at church. Later on there were a few babies crawling around but never anyone my age who wasn’t a sibling.
The new church was about ten times larger than our old one. Suddenly we were surrounded by other kids. As much as I’d loved the adult attention at our last church there was something exciting about the prospect of making friends with some girls my own age. On one of our first Sundays at the new church I gleefully walked into the 5th and 6th grade Sunday school classroom only to be greeted by a half dozen rowdy (and even worse, flirtatious!) boys and one flicker of hope – a tall girl who turned out to be the daughter of our teacher and who was just stopping by on her way to the high school class. She’d later become one of my closest friends as a teenager…but that was a few years away.
I was girl-less and unimpressed. My predicament must have filtered up to Dad between Sunday school and the sermon because during the announcements he asked the congregation if anyone had little girls close to my age. After the service a few different adults stopped to say they had a sister or daughter who would be at church the next week. And they were. For the next two and a half years we spent at that church I was never surrounded by only yucky boys again. 😉
It Was the Summer of 2012…
And I’m wondering why it’s so much more difficult for adults to meet new people. Is it because we’re busier? Or maybe it’s because there are fewer clear-cut places for adults to meet up? As a kid I made most of my friends through school and church, two institutions I no longer attend.
So how do we make friends as adults? I’m especially interested in this question as someone who doesn’t have children or pets, watch sports or regularly drink alcohol.
This is also a question that I think may be a little more difficult to answer in a reserved city like Toronto. People who’ve lived here more than five minutes tend to live in their own little bubbles when they walk down the street. They’re not (generally) rude or unkind….they’re just completely uninterested in talking to strangers.
This question is going to take more than one post to answer. I hope you’ll join me on this journey as I figure out how to go about doing this. The next post in this series will be a compilation of ideas. Do I want to try the platonic personals on Craigslist? (Probably not.) A more organized site like Meetup.com? (Maybe.) What about starting conversations with people on elevators? (Might be creepy.)
How have you made new friends as an adult? Is there any advice you can offer to those of us giving this a try?
Looking back, I simply have stopped making many friends after high school. The structure of school, being mandatory, forced me to find something enjoyable to do when attending. The only option was found in the others there who were probably attending also because it wasn’t an option. So some of them stayed simply acquaintances, a few became friends, and unfortunately a few became those who I butted heads with on a semi-regular basis.
Now, a decade out of school, out of the dozen or so high school friends I had, there is only one who I keep in regular contact with to this day and since high school I have only really added maybe 1 or 2 other people to the circle who I would consider calling if I were in desperate need of something to do on a Friday night.
Does this mean that since I am no longer in mandatory situations (high school) which I prefer not to be in that I am content being in a somewhat isolated life with only a select few sharing my day to day business? That just may be the case….maybe someday I will feel the need to try harder to find more people to be close with…and then again maybe not as I am quite happy with how it currently is.
That’s how I felt for a long time. It’s only very recently that I’ve decided to try something new.
It will be interesting to see what we both think about this in the future!
My first friend in Phoenix I met was through craigslist. Somebody mentioned it to me and I had never heard of it before so I didn’t know the reputation associated with it and thus didn’t realize this person was joking.
Anyway I lucked out because the first (and only) person I met off there is awesome, we now have kids around the same age, and still hang out on a fairly regular basis. (I know you read my blog from time to time… it’s Kristen… there’s plenty of posts about our adventures.) You might get lucky on there… or you might meet super creepers who are friendless for a reason… guess you’d have to give it a shot to find out.
Too funny! Did you meet her in the platonic personal section or somewhere else? I am curious to give it a try…it’s just that a lot of the ads in that section mention stuff like the person wanting things to be discreet or are very oddly specific about the attractiveness/age/marital status of the people they want to “befriend.” It makes me think they’re not actually looking for friends. :O
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