How do we make friends as adults? Secret glances over the beige clothes rails at H&M? Connect in the comments under the photo of a cute animal on Instagram? In line for the chiropractor? There are hundreds of people I have brilliant, lively, and engaging conversations with in my online messages, but they’re not friendships I’d like to take into real life.
I’ve done this a few times, but without the ability to respond to them with a series of crying and laughing face emojis when they’re actually in front of me in real life, the pressure is too much. Also, some of these people live in far away places like Connemara or Laois and object permanence is an issue for me. It’s not that I agree with the term “out of sight, out of mind,” but it’s sometimes difficult to maintain a connection with someone when we’re not in regular contact. Initiating that contact can be a lot of pressure when the oil well that lubricates social interactions is dry—and it’s always dry for me.
Trying to make it unromantic Connections always seem suspicious to me when I try. I feel like people question my motives in the same way we are all cynical and suspicious of the clerk in a store who is too direct. When I’m trying to make a new boyfriend I feel like those muggers standing in the middle of the shopping streets asking if you have a minute to save the world.
If I ever had to move to a new city, I would drown. I can imagine my husband, the Mayo man, gallivanting to every social event; Charming and talkative, I pick up on social cues while avoiding socializing by going to the buffet and filling my plate with spring rolls, goujons, and a triangle sandwich.
A few people online tell me that when they moved to a new place they were actually inundated with neighbors stopping by to greet them with food and invitations to local yoga classes etc. This would immediately raise red flags for me. Firstly, we do not accept food from strangers – unless there is a death in the family, in which case it is unlikely someone will try to poison you and cause another death. And second, never answer an unwanted knock on the door. I removed the doorbell from my house in 2010 and loved the freedom it gave me.
While I love having close, meaningful friendships, building a friendship, getting to know each other, is too stressful for me. The juice just isn’t worth the pressure.
Since the pandemic, there has been a huge redistribution of people across the country. Realizing that sharing a tiny room with six strangers, all working from home, was not their best life, the people fled to literally greener pastures. In my mind, it’s like someone being late for a movie or Mass and having to push past everyone else to take their seat – their arrival means everyone is temporarily disturbed and it takes time for everyone to get back into position brought.
Communities across the country have welcomed new members or said goodbye to others, and there is a sense that some people’s social connections are weaker than they were before the pandemic. Many feel lonely and disenfranchised, but it’s definitely not an end state. It is possible to make new connections as an adult.
It’s harder without classmates Birthday parties, sports teams, and acting classes populate our youth, but emulating that lifestyle is key to making friends as an adult. Children tend to approach social situations positively. They aren’t usually cynical, so they just assume a stranger is a friend they haven’t met yet. Taking a leaf from this book can help adults too.
Don’t focus on the lack of friends, focus on meeting strangers and enjoying interactions. It’s also helpful when friendship is the secondary goal. When you fill your life with activities and events you enjoy, like attracts like, and you’re likely to become part of a community of like-minded people like you did when you were 10 at the swim club. Doing Something You Love Other people reduce fear of embarrassment by giving you something to focus on alongside the people involved. Let’s go. But remember the golden rule: don’t accept sweets from strangers.
https://www.independent.ie/opinion/making-friends-as-an-adult-is-difficult-we-should-learn-from-children-how-to-do-it-41901204.html Making friends as an adult is difficult. We should learn from the children how to do it