My two best girlfriends live 3+ hours away from me – in opposite directions. We stay in touch over Facebook, texting, phone calls, and – with one of them – using the little chat feature embedded in Facebook Scrabble and iPhone Words With Friends. I’ve known them both for more than half my life at this point; I trust them with anything, know I can call them about anything, know that they would come running in a crisis – and I’d do the same for them (and they’d do the same for each other). We are so lucky to have one another…and yet. And yet, having pals you can call on Tuesday to go get lunch on Wednesday is important too.
Yes, I have a husband, a husband who is amazing in so many ways and who is unquestionably my best friend on the planet. Sometimes, though, you need other people. This is something he and I both acknowledge. It’s something my two girlfriends and I have discussed countless times. It’s something I’ve heard echoed in my conversations with other women and among my college friends on Facebook. The deep, like-a-sibling friendships are incredibly important, and no one wants to lose those, but when those friends aren’t nearby, you need in-town friends too. And it’s damn hard to make friends as a grown-up.
It’s pretty easy to make friends in school, but as an adult, not so much. My husband and I both moved to Charlottesville at approximately the same time with our friends who wanted to be here. Once here, I had my friend and several of her friends who lived in the area, and we all hung out on a regular basis. My husband had his friend and his friend’s fiancee, who was also his friend. And then we met each other, and he met my friends and I met his and we had this nice social circle. But one by one, they all moved away. One went to law school in Pennsylvania, one moved just an hour away to run her own business, one moved to be close to her fiance, David’s friend and his now-wife moved for a new job, etc. etc. etc.
I tried a few friend-making methods. I scoured the online fans of a local radio station I like, found a girl who seemed cool and who seemed to have stuff in common with me, and I sent her a note. I lucked out on that one – she didn’t think I was a total nutjob, and we hang out occasionally and keep up all the time on Facebook. I also (and I know how sad these seem, but I really didn’t know what else to do) responded to an ad on Craigslist from a girl just looking for other people to be friends with. We met up for coffee once, and we just didn’t click. Meh. Then I joined my book club, which I found on Meetup.com, and I made a few real friends that way (though two of them are getting ready to move to Michigan – here we go again!). I hope to make a few friends in my new walking group, but it’s a bit too soon to tell on that one. And I definitely have friends among my co-workers, and we do hang out outside of work sometimes, but after working together all week I would say that we’re less inclined to hang out nights and weekends.
I’m an introvert, with an even more introverted husband. I don’t make friends easily or often. It took me nearly 11 years in Charlottesville to feel like I sort of have friends and a life here. According to my conversations with friends, it’s pretty much the same for them – making friends is hard! It’s seriously like dating people all over again. Why do you think it’s so hard? How have you made friends as an adult?