While I am an unabashed and unapologetic weird, creepy loner and introvert, sometimes I do seek out human companionship and interaction. Sometimes.
I’ve got a good bunch of friends, some I’ve known since high school (who’ve put up with all manner of my delightful shenanigans over the years – hi guys!) and some I’ve made later in life. But as I get older, I’ve come to realise how much harder it is to make new friends – a fact that became painfully obvious when I moved to a little town by the ocean, ninety or so kilometres from Sydney.
When you are at school making friends is easy. For me, I just found the weirdest looking group and plonked myself in amongst them. (“Are you guys weird drama/art nerds with fluid sexuality who enjoy such activities as making out, smoking by the back fence, and rock and roll music? Oh wow, me too! Let’s be best friends!”) Later, at uni, everyone bonded over short stories in Prose Fiction class and schooners at the uni bar. Friends just happened, because you were all there and why not? BEST FRIENDS FOREVER!
But outside of educational institutions, making friends is way hard. When I first moved to Little Beach Town, I didn’t make a single friend for eighteen months. EIGHTEEN MONTHS. That is, like, many months. And while I still got to visit old friends, it wasn’t the same as being able to just go and hang out with someone. We had to organise it and then I had to drive there and either find my way home or find a place to stay… Effort much? And while friends are indeed worth said effort, I longed for people close by who I could interact with when I felt the desire for it.
But how does one go about this as a full-grown woman? It’s not like I can just walk up to the weirdest-looking group of folk I can find and ask if they wanna hang out. It doesn’t work, in fact– it’s kind of frowned upon. I’ve discovered that folk really don’t like it when strangers approach them.
So what’s a girl to do? Well, I’ve found that joining in on some kind of activity is key. Whatever you are into, find a class for it. Always wanted to learn to knit, cook, juggle, write obscure poetry that no-one will ever read? Other people feel this way too, gather together and learn these things in a social setting! You can usually find an affordable class somewhere close by for almost anything you might be interested in – and It’s like paying for friends without the weird, hooker-ish overtones (also, much cheaper.) There are also the ‘groups’ and ‘clubs’ – like writers groups, drumming circles, fishing clubs. Oftentimes you can wheedle your way into these for little to no cost and BAM – people have to hang out with you, because they are there too!
Me, I’ve always been keen on doing cool, tricky shit, kicking things and getting hurt, so when I joined my martial arts class I found a bunch of folk who were into that too. And I’ve managed to find a couple of crazy kids with whom I have other shit in common, who I do things with outside of class. An added bonus of making a new friend is that they often have friends also – instant social circle! It’s a sneaky, but totally legitimate way of ingratiating yourself amongst other humans.
Have you had trouble making friends as an adult? Got any suggestions as to how to make grown-up friends? (Wait, no, not those kinds of grown up friends…) Have you used other methods to convince folk to hang out with you? Let me know below!