I’ve read a few things over the years about how the majority of the good friends you make in your life are made before you leave college. When you think about it, you will never spend as much time with friends as you do before say, 25. Especially if you live with them be it in a dorm or an apartment. I’ll be the first to admit that the bonds I made with friends I went to boarding school with for four years will never be duplicated. I don’t think I even have spent that much time with people I’ve been in long term relationships with since then. But anyway, even if you don’t live on campus for high school and/or college, you still spend a great deal of time together in the student years. After college it becomes harder to redefine how you make friends. So you most likely have close work friends but are for the most part are still bonded to those friends from high school and college.
As we age however, we do not all follow the same paths in life. Some people have kids, some go hard career wise and some flounder for a bit and hold on to their lifestyle from their younger years. If you are like me and attended boarding school and college where everyone you know is from all over the globe, you most likely don’t live near each other. Social media has helped many of us over a certain age reconnect and those younger than us stay in touch, but our lives still evolve and sometimes you find your self in a situation where you need to make some friends.
I felt this especially when I moved to Texas from New York four years ago. I was fortunate to be dating someone who lived in Austin, and I of course had the internet and phone so I could talk to my sisters and friends as often as I liked, but I still needed to find new friends to hang out with, go to lunch with and actually see in person. Some of you may not need that, but I do. It was interesting being in my mid 30’s and moving to a new city where I would not really have a forced connection to people. As I was self employed, am someone who prefers solitary exercise, has no kids, has a dog who does not like dog parks, am not a member of a spiritual group or really having any connection to stick me in the middle of like minded people, I had to be proactive about making friends.
Facebook was great as I was talking about moving to Austin all the time, so I connected with anyone I knew who lived here before I even arrived. That was only a small of handful of people though and I knew I would have to actually put myself out there to meet people, I also knew that it would not happen over night. Luckily, I am naturally outgoing, so I joined a local group of hand made artists and applied to be in markets in a popular part of the city to make “work friends”. I volunteered, I got involved in anything I could and I attended everything I could in the way of networking events. At all of these things I would basically ask any one I felt there was a friend “spark” with out to lunch or coffee. Sometimes I would meet them and then weeks later email them and ask them to meet up. Making friends is really like dating, you basically have to work at finding the perfect people you want to have a relationship with. As there’s never the added stress of also wanting to make sure you want to have sex/babies/marriage with new friends, its much less stressful too. However, also like dating, sometimes you never go out on a second or third date, you just have to accept that.
Four years later, as I look back on who I have met since moving here, I am blown away by the wonderful new friends I have made who have become such large parts of my life. Now when I attend events, I am no longer as aggressive in my quest to meet new people, but I definitely still do. I have also noticed that in the past 2 years, a very interesting thing has started happening thanks to social media. More and more, I am meeting people I have connected with via instagram or facebook in real life. Some are people who I may have emailed with for work at some point due to being in related fields and we ended up connecting everywhere, some are just people who we have reached out to each other as we live in the same city and are obviously into the same things. I met my friend Jessi (she is in the photo with me above) after we connected on LinkedIn. She sent me a message asking me out for coffee and the rest is history!