If you’re interested in a guy, you can casually flirt and give him your number (or straight up ask for his). Boom! You have got yourself a boyfriend. Unfortunately, the process isn’t so simple when it comes to making friends.
Making friends as an adult feels seriously impossible. Unlike the basic steps we follow when we’re sick of being single—going on Tinder or striking up a conversation at a coffee shop, yada yada—there really is no foolproof way to find or make friends. I mean, you can’t just walk up to a cool looking woman at Starbucks and say, “Hey, I see you like your coffee the way I like my coffee, we should be friends” without it feeling sort of cringy. Not to mention, there are so many things that can go wrong in the formations phases of friendship; personalities clash, values don’t match, or at the very least schedules don’t allow for bonding time.
After a certain age, it is not cool to just ask “Can we be friends?” Have you ever seen little kids declaring that they’re BFFs after playing together for 15 minutes? If only it was that simple in adulthood. Unlike those schoolyard memories of the past, as an adult, it feels very awkward to ask someone if you can be friends. While it’s totally normal when you’re a kid, being so straightforward as an adult can come off as creepy and a little desperate.
While being single is socially acceptable, being friendless is not. All of us at one point or another have experienced a season of singleness, whether by choice or not. While your mom might give you a little hell about it, being single doesn’t make anyone really stop and look at you differently. The same can’t be said about having no friends. Not being in a relationship can be spun into a choice (whether it is or not), but not having any friends looks like a personality deficit, no matter how you spin it.
The rejection seriously sucks. At one time or another, the majority of us will experience rejection in friendships, whether it’s in the form of a disagreement, a full-on argument, or breaking up the friendship outright. We remember those wounds almost more deeply that we do the breakup of a romantic relationship. While rejection during dating is mostly centered around romantic interests, rejection in friendships is centered around who we are, and that makes a major difference (and it hurts). That rejection alone can be a preventative hinderance in making new friends because, well, who wants to go through that again?
The older we get, the pickier we become. Blame it on increasing wisdom or decreasing nonsense patience for the nonsense that comes along with additional people, but making friends certainly gets more difficult as we get older. We sniff out the BS from a mile away—the drama, the neediness, the attitudes, the short tempers, and all the things you can spot pretty early if you’re paying attention. We tolerate less and less, but at what cost? Often, the answer is a really restricted social circle. I’m not saying invite unnecessary drama into your life but I am saying that we should give people more of a shot as we build friendships. They might surprise us.
There currently no dating apps for friendship. Unlike dating apps, which are so prevalent in our culture and are saving the world from awful blind dates one swipe (both right and left) at a time, there currently exists no app strictly for making friends. That being said…
Making friends requires actual social skills. Whether it’s the sheer lack of needing to talk to others throughout the day or our over-dependence upon tech, social skills are becoming a thing of the past. Things like social cues, innuendo, and subtlety are slowly being lost, and all are essential when meeting new people and making new connections, let alone creating a platonic connection.
While it may seem harder to make friends than get a boyfriend, what girl doesn’t need her girl gang? After all, behind every modern successful woman is a group chat of women hyping her up. I say peel through the awkward, wait for the opportune moments, and pick up on the connections to make those friendships happen.
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