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?