Where Are All My Friends?

This is almost embarrassing to admit, but I am really struggling with making new friends as an adult.

I am quickly approaching thirty (EEEKKKK!!!) and have had the same core set of friends (including my sisters, but not my brother—he and I only became friends when he turned eighteen) for basically all of those years. Besides my sisters, I’ve had the same best friend for thirty and a half years (I’ll explain how I can have a friendship longer than I’ve been alive shortly), and my other best girls pals I’ve been friends with for fifteen-plus years. And because I’ve had the same consistent group of girls for basically a lifetime, I have NO IDEA how to make new friends. And the part that sucks: All of my best friends (except my seventeen-year-old little sister who will be moving after eighteen!) have moved away! And not like the next city over—like, two are in different states! Now I find myself spending a lot of time alone on the weekends trying to entertain myself. So I’ve come to the conclusion: I need new friends.

By no means do I want to replace my friends and older sister, but it would be really nice to have new friends who lived locally, had similar interests, were free regularly during the weekend, and most importantly… SOMEONE WHO I CAN SPEND SEVERAL HOURS WITH AND NOT FEEL SUFFOCATED OR ANNOYED BY. But now my question is, how?

I work really hard all week long and when the weekend comes, I just want to kick it with my girls! There is nothing better than good food, good conversation, and laughing until you cry, but I’ve really been lacking that lately. I need that old feeling back!

I didn’t realize as an adult just how hard it is to build friendships with strangers. I wish I were as cool as my dad. He goes to a local coffee shop every day to work (it’s his “other” office) and he is basically a superstar there. All the patrons and employees know him, every time I meet him there he’s introducing me to another friend of his, and even more cool: my dad is kind of a surrogate father/Yoda to a bunch of people who come to visit him. How does he do it? I just don’t know. Teach me your ways, Dad…

Thankfully, I work with a bunch of AMAZING folks at my “regular job” (sadly, writing is not my meat and potatoes 🙁 , I know, so disappointing), but it sucks because they have to ruin the potential of weekend hangouts by having families and marriages and other friends. How rude of them. They definitely make my life better, but I also think if we spent our weekends together as well as out Mondays through Fridays, we’d hate one another and want to rip each other’s heads off. So, where else can I make new friends as an adult?

I feel so creepy being out and about by myself. I used to be able to make new friends while in the company of my old friends because I was basically walking around with a live reference check. It’s like the friendship equivalent of the blue check for social media, verifying I’m a good friend because here’s the proof of an actual friend with me. But now, since my time with most of my best girls is so limited, I find myself wandering Target and catching a movie all alone. And who wants to go and be friends with some girl walking around aimlessly by herself? It automatically makes me seem weird and unapproachable because there’s no live examples of my interactions with others. So people look at me and probably think I’m alone because I’m either really mean, or really strange.

I’ve gotten so desperate that I saw an ad that said Bumble had a “friends” option. And… I signed up. I still have a few ounces of dignity, so I have not gone on any friend-dates yet, but as each day passes, I feel myself more and more willing to “swipe right” on the new potential perfect gal pal.

I’m just so awkward when it comes making new friends. I’ve tried to make friends at different churches, volunteering; I recently started law school and am trying to make friends there, and I’m trying to develop non-organic friendships with people on Instagram… I’m really making an effort here, people! I have successfully made one new friend. Well… we’re on our way. She’s a barista at a local coffee shop. We haven’t exchanged numbers yet, but she loves my lipsticks and I like her glasses, so it’s only a matter of time before we’re grabbing Chipotle together on our lunch break and gossiping about problems at work. Keep your fingers crossed for me and this potential new friendship!

I think what’s so special about friends that have been in your life a long time is that you never have to explain yourself to them, or give any background information to the story. My close friends know all my family, they know the ones to stay away from. I don’t have to tell them my fears and anxieties, and I don’t have to be vulnerable for the first time with any of them. They’ve seen me at my absolute worst and didn’t run for the hills. I have solid proof I can trust them and they know what my favorite cheesecake is at Cheesecake Factory. And they already know Cheesecake Factory is my favorite restaurant. There is something so special about growing up and glowing up (HELLO!!!) with someone!

When you’re a kid, you’re forced into situations to build relationships. Preschool, elementary school, summer camp, vacation bible school, choir—the list goes on and on. These institutions are partially constructed to help form relationships with others and teach how to develop interpersonal relationships. In first grade, I was best friends with a person because we were in the same class and both liked Power Rangers (thankfully, I always wanted to be the Yellow Ranger and she wanted to be the Pink Ranger—otherwise, it would have never worked!). Nowadays, there is a greater necessary dynamic needed to form a friendship, and I’m struggling to figure this all out.

My best friend and I are six months apart. Well, five months and twenty-eight days (she’s older!). My mom just so happens to be her godmother, and her grandmother was my godmother (RIP godmommy!). Around the time she was born, my mom was on bedrest with me, and her mom would bring her over to the house and my mom would hold her for hours, so her and I began to form a bond when she was a baby and I was unborn. And we have been bonded ever since. And maybe I’m struggling to make new friends because the ones I have are so perfect.

If you ask me, finding a new friend is harder than finding a new partner. But just like dating, I think I need to put myself out there and hope for the best. I’m at the age where I’m beginning to understand that the only thing consistent is change, and I have to adjust with each turn life has for me as well as my friends. But I guess this article has kind of become my own personal ad for friends! If you’re in the SF Bay Area, let a sista know! I’m hecka cool, I say “hecka” so you know I really am from the Bay Area, I’m an award-winning sweet potato pie baker, I love to shop (I own like three hundred pairs of shoes), I own two yorkies that we can take to a dog park together, and I hate roller coasters but love an adventure on level ground. In the meantime, if anyone has any movie recommendations, let me know! I’ll go catch a matinée by myself this weekend!