I’ve never really had a hard time making friends.
Is that weird? Sometimes, when I hear people constantly complain about how hard it is to make friends as an adult, I think maybe it’s weird.
Even weirder? I’ve also never had a hard time making girl friends.
I think it’s a pretty common trope in our society that some women take a certain amount of pride in the fact that they can’t get along with other girls. (I’ve mentioned before that this makes me not trust said women.) But I’ve always been extremely fortunate in that I’ve always had girls/women in my life that were just awesome. It’s part of the reason why I was a tiny bit surprised to discover that there are genuine mean girls in the world as an adult — I simply didn’t deal with any for most of my life.
Like I said, I think I’m weird.
But the fact is, while not every friendship I’m fostered post elementary school has continued to flourish, I’ve continued to make what I would consider close friends even now.
Then yesterday I read this article that talked about making friends like a 6-year-old. I just find something incredibly poetic about that. I immediately forwarded it to my friend Diana because it basically described the premise of our friendship — you like doing the same things at the same time, you share food, you lend each other clothes, and you basically became friends in exactly the same scenario described in point #3 in the article.
Joey and I discussed the idea last night and came up with about three skills of mine that make it easy to make friends:
1. I ask a lot of questions. Blame it on my journalism background, but I have no qualms about sitting down with a stranger and asking them to tell me their life story. I like knowing a little bit about everything, and I love hearing people talk about something that gets them excited, and curiosity is sometimes all people need to get going. And who doesn’t like someone who listens to them talk about things that are important to them?
2. I’m kind of loud. If I’m with someone who isn’t a big talker (at least initially), I’m more than capable of carrying the conversation. My friend Annie is also really good at simply talking through an awkward situation. The trick is having an arsenal of funny anecdotes that don’t require the listener to be at all connected to the story to find them funny. I also laugh a lot, which (I hope) puts people more at ease.
3. I actually like making plans with people. I typically dedicate one or two nights a week to getting dinner with someone and catching up, and I try not to let more than a month go by without any kind of interaction with most of my friends. I’m fortunate in a way that most of the people I like spending time with are just as busy as I am, so none of us get especially needy with each other’s free time. When we do get together, it doesn’t really matter how much time has gone by. So maybe it’s also important to make friends with people who have similar expectations as you do so as to avoid any hurt feelings.
I think I’m really fortunate to have a good mix of lifelong friends and new friends. The lifers know all your business and never need an explanation for why it was funny that that random guy from high school looked at your LinkedIn profile. The newbies don’t carry around any ancient history or assumptions and haven’t heard all your stories already.
So tell me: Am I weird? Or just in a weird situation that I’m meeting new people (and new potential friends) fairly regularly? Or is the whole “it’s hard to make friends as an adult” thing just a myth?