I tweeted a couple of months ago about how making real friendships are a lot harder now as an adult than it was when I was younger. Like I’m talking real, authentic friendships that aren’t just about talking about the weather or asking “how are you?” in passing. I mean real friendships where you support each other through difficult times, you can count on them and who are always in your corner.
I am very blessed to have two friends who are my longest friendships that I’ve had who fit those checkboxes. We don’t get to spend as much time together as we’d probably like to, but we’re constantly checking in with each other, supporting each other through thick and thin, and we have a lot of fun together. They have always had my best interest at heart and have proven themselves over and over to be quality friends to me. Plus, I think it says something whenever my mom, who I now know can sense who’s going to be a good friend to my brother and I or not, says that she thinks that they’re good friends to me that’s saying a lot.
But I digress.
Even though I have these wonderful friendships that I really value, I don’t really have many other friendships like that. There’s people I could probably ask to grab coffee with, but it’s rare. There’s people I’ve worked with that I’ve befriended, but it’s been really hard to meet up so things kind of just didn’t pan out.
It got me thinking, why is it so hard to meet and make more friends?
Why is that I have spheres where I could very easily meet new people such as at work or at church yet it’s SO hard to make them?
Then I thought about it – I’m a lot more introverted than I was in college. I know that’s hard to believe because I own a blog, but when it comes to social settings, I can be social, but more often than not, I don’t like larger social settings. Around close friends and family I am extroverted, but even after a while or after a long day, I get tired.
In college, however, everything was so new and so exciting and I think the desire to be involved in so many organizations sort of propelled me to be more extroverted. I think about the things I used to post in college and I cringe because I would NEVER do that now for a lot of reasons. Yet in college, I didn’t care.
I went bungee jumping at Six Flags in college because I wanted to and my friends who were with me wanted to do it.
I paid $300 to see BIGBANG in college with one of my best friends because we thought that would be the only time they’d perform in America. Jokes on us because they’ve been back twice since then. Neither of us really listen to them anymore, though.
I traveled to New York for a concert BY MYSELF.
I introduced myself to random people in my class during my freshman year because I wanted to meet new people and honestly because I thought one of my classmates was cute at the time.
In short, I did a lot of things that right here right now, I wouldn’t have done.
Even at the time when I met my now husband during my senior year of college, I didn’t really initiate going on a date or making it official. It’s just gradually over the years I have grown more and more introverted and more cautious.
Is that what makes it difficult to make new friends as an adult? We’ve experienced more life and thus we find ourselves feeling more and more cautious about who we open up to and when?
I think it’s a lot of things, but I think that’s a big part of it.
As we get older and experience situations more, we learn more about ourselves and about others. For example, I have learned so much about not only myself and others, but what I want and don’t want in a friendship. I have been learning from my own mistakes and from the errors of others what a healthy friendship looks like and what it doesn’t. If you would asked me that question in college I wouldn’t have known because I was friends with EVERYBODY. However, we learn fast that not everyone is meant to be friends with us and that’s okay.
We learn what we want in a friendship, so we’re much more choosy about who give our time to.
We crave more authentic conversations so we find ourselves avoiding circles or situations where it’s all just about fluff and networking.
We aren’t the risk-takers we once were and we analyze (sometimes over-analyze) everything.
I think these things aren’t bad things to be honest. I feel like although I had a ton friends during college that I am no longer friends with, I am much happier right now that I’ve ever been. I have my husband who I love, a supportive and loving family, a wonderful group of best friends, and so many things that I didn’t have back then. Yes, I had a ton of friends, but were we all really friends or study buddies?
I think my personal goal to myself this year and probably even next is to put myself out there a little bit more. I’ve been praying for more friendships – not because I don’t love and value the strong ones I have, but because I really do enjoy connecting with people. I still would like to make more genuine, good friends to add to my group of amazing friends. However, I think I am growing to realize that maybe my small group is less of a sign that I need to be more extroverted more often and more of me just growing more into who I am as a person and being more choosy as a result.
We’ll see, but I’d love to know your thoughts on this topic!
Do you have trouble making additional friendships as an adult?