Guest Post: How To Make Friends As an Awkward Adult

I am very excited about this week’s post. Camran has always had a delightful way of telling things. Fun note: one of my favorite theatrical performances I have witnessed in my life was watching Camran do The Santaland Diaries back in college.

Hope you all enjoy his post as much as I did!                                                       ~C

As a young adult, friendships always came fairly easily, which I feel has set this expectation that I feel the rest of my life will not be able to fulfill. I’m not being thrown together with people my age that have similar interests on the regs, like in a classroom or club or theatre production. I’ve been spoiled, and now that so many of my favorite people are spread out, I need to seek out new friendships and it’s work. It can’t be that hard to find like-minded people who are fun to talk to and want to put up with my bullshit, right?

Bwahaha, oh yes it can.

You see, the older you get the more difficult it can be to find that thing that ties you to other people. A lot of that can be attributed to being more sure about who you are and what values are important to you.

And forget making work friends. My prospects working in healthcare are generally limited to older women, and though I adore them we’re in very different places in life. I will however accept their baked goods as consolation.

So how is one to overcome these changes and develop new meaningful friendships, especially when combating social anxieties?

lord of the rings gollum no friends nobody likes you

Learn the difference between a friend and an acquaintance. I remember having a conversation with my partner after I had described probably five different people as being “my best friend”, and he asked how that was even possible.

The truth is that I hadn’t given much thought to the different degrees of association, and who a friend might be as opposed to an acquaintance.

Mr. Webster defines “friend” and “acquaintance” in much the same way: “one attached to another by affection or esteem”. I have found that many people my age and younger tend to take the more diplomatic definition of friend: “one that is not hostile”. It may not be a bracelet-worthy friendship, but I guess as long as they’re not actively working against you they can be added to the tally.

It’s taken me time to realize that it is perfectly okay to say that someone is an acquaintance instead of a friend. I adore and like spending time with many of my acquaintances, but I wouldn’t necessarily come to them if I had a problem. We just don’t have that kind of relationship though they’re good people.

It’s crucial to make that distinction, because you need to know who’s going to have your back when the chips are down. It really is okay to not be friends with everyone.

Determine what level of engagement you are satisfied with. What role could you see a particular person playing in your life? What could they bring to your existence, and what do you think you can offer to them in return? Do you want someone to just have fun with, or something a little more serious?

If you’re trying to figure out an existing friendship, are you comfortable not talking super regularly? Being able to keep a friendship nourished is an important skill that can be easily lost in the social media age, but it’s always so comforting to be able pick up where you left off with no trouble.

Try not to be too disappointed when someone does not respond to your platonic advances. Seeking out new friends is a lot like dating. You have to clearly show that you’re interested, but not come on too strong.

Note to self: “Platonic Advances” would make a great indie band name. [C Says: I’ll add it to the list!]

You get excited when you meet someone new, do your due diligence to make sure you’re not pursuing being besties with Norman Bates, then ultimately become disappointed when they never reciprocate the “friend crush”.

It’s natural to want to be liked by everyone, especially when you are clearly a flawless and beautiful human being. Some people are just not going to appreciate everything you have to offer, or there could be something else going on that you’re not aware of. They could be a werewolf and are trying to spare you the messy angst.

Most importantly, be open and be yourself. It sounds cliché, but it’s a time-proven method.

So seriously, who wants to catch a movie?

Camran Caldwell is a healthcare administration worker bee, amateur improv performer, and rookie Crystal Gem. He may be a collective hallucination, he’s really not sure.

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