It's a funny thing isn't it, the idea of making friends as a grown up? At school, or as a child, we talk about it, we actively work on it and we ultimately are expected to do it. But making friends as an adult? It's not as easy and for some reason we find ourselves feeling so different, so tragic even, asking if somebody wants to hang out, asking if someone wants to be our friend. All the inhibitions that we just didn't have as a child, inviting people to our birthday parties left right and centre are here en masse now and we are left feeling lonely.
You feel like the only one, like everyone else is paired up and you're the sad loser who is left begging people to hang out with you. But you need to know, that you are NOT the only one, that actually this is a problem that effects so many more people than you might think. People move cities, countries even, people who hate school, people who feel like they have changed or people who's friends have let them down. So what can you do? How do you make friends when you are an adult?
We look for partners online, so why not friends? The app/website is available anywhere in the world, events happen everywhere and it allows you to meet up with people with similar interests to you. Cycling/gardening/site-seeing/dancing/cooking/board games, you name it. And the best thing is, if, on the day you find yourself too nervous to go, it won't be the end of the world as no one is relying on you.
I know you're busy as hell with work and stuff but volunteering is a great way to make friends. You'll find something that you are passionate about and meet people that are passionate about the same things, so you already know that you have something in common with them. Even if you don't make BFFL, you're still out doing a great thing with your time so either way you will win something.
Use social media
How many friends do you have on social media that you never ee? I have LOADS. But recently I have started to ask people to meet IRL for no other reason than that I would love a catch up and a drink. I know that this takes balls but sometimes it really will pay off. Social media is a very useful tool and I've actually made some great friends throughout Twitter. This isn't for everyone, but it might be worth trying.
Join a club/group near you
Let's take running for example. Near me there is a great running club that meets on Sunday mornings at 9am in the park for a 5k jog. This might be scary but I promise you, even if you hate running, you will not be the only one who is nervous or a beginner, so this might be SO worth your time and effort. Even if it's not running, have a look online to find events near you, I'm sure that you will find something that you'll enjoy and it's so worth trying. What have you got to lose?
This might not be for you, you might be done with school or not have the money or the time but if you do, this can be a great way to make friends. It won't be like school the first time around with the bitchiness and competition BUT there is an element of unity that you did have at school and psychologically it might be easier for you to do it there. Worth a try eh?
Talk about it
Don't be ashamed of not having as many friends as you would like to have, it is a much more common problem than you might think. Saying to a friend or family member: "can you introduce me to some of your friends? I want to meet some more people" is not embarrassing or a weird or unusual thing to do. They will not laugh at you, it's so worth trying.
I know that the idea of making friends as a grown up is scary and I know that you feel that by this point, you ought to be established with hundreds of cronies, but you DON'T. This is not abnormal, I promise you. I moved to Dublin a few years ago to live with my boyfriend and I knew no one, I went through all of these emotions then and, when my boyfriend came to live in London with me, he experienced the same thing. People grow up and change and it's not uncommon to lose touch with your school friends, I did with lots of mine. And it's definitely not something to be ashamed of to find yourself alone on a Friday night because somehow you grew apart from your school friends.
If this is something that you have/are going through, could I please ask you to leave what you do/did in the comments section so that anyone else going through the same thing might be helped? Don't feel isolated or go this alone, it's totally normal and it is something that you can change.