Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Making Friends

Remember when it was so easy to make friends?  You met other kids on the playground or at Cub/Girl Scouts or at school...You played on the jungle gym, or passed notes to each other in class and a friendship was born.

Making friends is so easy when you're young, especially when you're in an environment where everyone is around the same age and has a shared experience, like school (including college).  But how do you make friends when you don't have the benefit of constantly being surrounded by like-minded people?

This was my conundrum when I moved to Florida, and to some extent since I've moved back to Minnesota.  By nature of my industry and career, at work I'm surrounded by older White men (with a few White women sprinkled in), and that's not really a source of friends.  Having sorors is great, but just because two people share the same Greek letters, that doesn't mean they will be friends.

So when you're out of school and in your career, how do you make friends?  My strategy was to dive-in & get involved with activities that would allow me to meet new folks, via Meetup groups & Restaurant Mafia in Orlando.  I had friends in other places hook me up with their friends in Orlando, so at least I'd know a couple folks, which helped a lot.

But meeting people is just step 1...it takes more than that be friends with someone.  That's the part I'm not good at - not being a friend (cause I think I'm a good friend), but recognizing that someone wants to be more than casual acquaintances with you and hanging out with them.  I tend to not want to bother people or take up too much of their time, so with several of the friends I've made in the past 5 years, it took me forever to get close with them.  I wasn't hiding, I was just oblivious & also shy (what can I say, I'm a wuss).  Asking a guy out on a date is easy...but asking someone to hang out as friends?  Tricky...at least for me.

So how do you make friends as an adult?  Am I the only one who has a hard time with it?  Let me know!

9 comments:

Ron said...

If I'm so inclined, I never aim to be more than acquaintances w/ other adults. Usually via online resources, through any group/work memberships I'm in (few & far between), or through friends and acquaintances I made in college.

Being a friend is an important thing to me, and is more meaningful to me than a lot of people make it. I just be myself and be gregarious enough to make for pleasant company. More often than not though, my misanthropic side comes out and I tend not to be bothered at all.

I always say that I've accumulated all the friends I expect to, and any future friendships to be made will purely be by accident.

LM said...

I have to agree with Ron's last statement. I have a great group of friends right now who've been there for me and have taught me so much.
I think it's different as you get older because the friendships become more and more important. One tends to expect more out of the friendship - more than someone to play with and trade notes. So you may not recognize that someone else may want to be more than casual acquaintances because you're trying to figure out if that person has the potential to be a friend. You know what I mean? It's because we are analyzing so much, we miss the obvious.

Ms. Minx said...

I blogged about this a while ago, too. I'm exactly the same:
"I tend to not want to bother people or take up too much of their time"

I've moved around a lot since I was young, so keeping friends close has also been an issue.

Nowadays, if I meet someone I really like, I just gauge their interest (sounds weird, I know, lol) and try to build on it. They may become a very good acquaintance/buddy even if they never cross over to the friend zone, and I'm ok with that. I think I already have all the "BFFs" I ever will :o)

Faydra Deon said...

This is an excellent post and an even better question.

This is also something with which I've struggled since becoming an adult. Since I'm single with no children, and many people my age are either married and/or parents, I always feel like even a phone call is an intrusion. When people are "familied" and/or "coupled" off, where do you fit?

Another issue for me is that I've been a tomboy all my life, so I've been accustomed to having way more male friends than female friends. When you're an adult, you don't want to hang out with someone's husband, and I still have to get accustomed to dealing with females.

Anyway, I'm working on it, Jubi. I'll let you know when I get it together. Haha.

Jubilance said...

Great point abt friends versus acquaintances. I've always known there was a distinction, but now acquaintances serve a greater purpose in my life, which is ok.

Michael said...

This is interesting. When I moved to Atlanta I had 3 friends here who all ended up moving but now I built a good consistent group of friends here in Atlanta. I call them to hang out and vice versa. The problem is some people are only conditional friends. They inadvertently suck the life out of their friendships rather than letting them progress.

As far as meeting people, first off, we cant try to date everyone we meet. Some people are cool and just that. I have female friends that I can go have drinks with and hang out but I wouldnt look at them seriously.

Finally, you we also should get involved and do stuff with like minded people. I volunteer, go out, socialize, etc and I have met cool people from all of this. It also helps that Atlanta is a transplant city and everyone is from a different city so thats always a good ice breaker. You never know who you are standing next to and what you two may have in common.

M.

DC DIVA DATING ADVENTURES said...

I think you got it right in FL, use the same techniques for MN, Meet-up, Volunteering, Friends of Friends, . It will take a little time, but at least you'll be out, and be social.

Knowledge of The Union said...

making friends in the real world has been extremely hard for me. How you described your sorors is exactly things are with me and my Groove bruhs in Philly. I'm ok with getting to know people, it's meeting them that's been my problem

Mimi said...

Finding Black female friends is hard to do in MN. I've lived in Mpls for 15 years and still struggle with this. I too moved here working as a chemist and my workplace was 99% older white males.

I agree with the advice above, do the same things you did in FL.