A thoughtful article went up on Vox.com yesterday about making friends as an adult. Eve Harder, the author, found herself in a common spot for many 20-something to 30-somethings (and I’m sure beyond that): she was losing her friends. And people need friends. Even if you consider yourself a loner, there’s probably someone out there who you seek to trust and validate your human experience. Eve decided to do something about it. She writes, “I was open to attending the speed friendship dating event, cleverly named ‘Friend Request,’ at a hip synagogue in downtown DC. It had sold out all 30 seats; clearly I wasn’t the only one on the hunt for new friends.”
I’ve always prided myself on the longevity of my friendships–more so than my romantic relationships–but have also often been in the odd position of dropping the axe or drifting apart. There have been lean years where I only rotate between the same two people, and years when I’m choosing between social commitments. (Which always feels weird because I’m an introvert and a one-on-one type. It’s a little surreal.)
I’ve definitely heard from others how hard it is to meet new friends as they age. It can be a combination of things, from the “epidemic of business” (are you really busy or just afraid to seem needy with too much free time?), to family to work commitments, or just the plain old getting stuck in your ways. Personally, at 31, I’m past my “party phase” and welcome the warmth of a cozy throw and wine. Unless I hit a midlife crisis in another decade, I just don’t see myself high-tailing it from bar to bar throughout the week anymore. Not that bars are the only place to meet new people. Just that, whatever your routine is, it’s hard to break out of it. Even if the goal is worth the while.
Friendships take time not unlike romantic partners. If you want people in your life who can be a source of support and joy for whatever life curves you, you have to work for it. Eve writes, “…maybe what we really need isn’t proximity, but persistence. Whether it’s speed dating for love or for friendship, there’s no shortage of ways to gain access to potential intimacy; there’s just a lack of effort on our part to stick it out when it stops being convenient, to keep knocking, to keep coming back, even when it’s hard. To decide it’s worth it.”