One thing I never anticipated being as difficult as it is, is making friends as an adult.
In university it is easiest because you have like minded individuals and drinking to pave the road. You all are going through similar classes, passions, and phases of life.
It’s kind of like a smorgasbord of commonality between a group of people at the same time, and same place. What better way to make friends!
Then you enter into the real working world, and suddenly everyone is busy. Everyone has opposing schedules, some people move away, some people get married, some have kids, the list goes on and on about differences you all have.
The window of opportunity has closed, and you better have a solid friend group behind you, or else you will find that you are sorely missing some of the social occasions that had been readily available the moment you left your dorm room.
What I have found in my efforts to regain a social circle, are 5 types of people in my home city.
1. The Flake
This is the person that probably means well, but is either too busy or forgetful. This means that they will enthusiastically make plans to hangout with you, but will either bail last minute, or change the date of your hangout so many times that you eventually give up.
These individuals I don’t mind terribly, because most of us have already experienced that time in our lives where we feel way too overbooked to want to add anything else to the mix.
2. The Circumstantial
The circumstantial person is someone who will buddy around with you at a specific place or phase of their life, but wouldn’t go to you in their spare time to hangout or chat. This can be a co-worker, or maybe somebody else on the PTA. You are grateful for the fun you two have, but sadly they cannot be counted on to be present at a more informal get together (or past the phase they went through).
I have had a few co-workers I got along with great, but I also know they would never want to hangout with me outside of our mutual workplace. I again understand this one, it can feel like you are being jilted, but I understand a woman with 2 children who works two jobs does not want to come over for a glass of wine. She wants to finally sit down in her own home, and maybe catch up with her husband, whom she rarely gets to see.
3. The Interested
‘The interested’ are people who are interested in you but you are in a relationship and or are single but don’t share the interest. These are individuals whom you know aren’t interested in being friends, but they buddy up to you to get to know you better. Annoyingly enough, if you aren’t even a fan of them on a friend level and they continue to hang around, things can get awkward.
Another unfortunate situation is if they insist that they feel nothing, but in fact they do and you are not interested what so ever. This never ends well, and should be avoided at all costs.
I have had a few interested parties hang around, and it makes for nothing but discomfort. You can’t base a friendship on discomfort, lies, non-mutual feelings, or a lack of understanding.
This is where ‘the friend-zone’, has cropped up many times- a fire I attempted to tame in my youth, but have since learned that this spells out danger, and to stay well away if there is any sign of smoke. The best I can do is to casually bring up a significant other and hope that deters any miscommunication regarding interest.
4. The Insincere
The worst of them all.
No one irks me more than these individuals because there is no reason for them to be insincere in their interest to be friends, other than to be mean.
These individuals range in severity from people who will ask details about your personal life over Facebook, but refuse to put in the effort of actually meeting up and hanging out-To people who act excited and interested in hanging out, but never invite you to any social gathering or show up to one of your own.
To take a direct quote from a conversation I have had:
Insincere person: “Oh it’s so great talking to you! We should totally hangout together!”
Myself: “Definitely! I’m actually free this weekend if you want to catch up?”
Insincere person: “Oh sorry, I’m not available.”
Myself: “No worries, what about next Tuesday?”
Insincere Person: “Can’t then either!”
You see, if this individual had in fact been genuine, they would have suggested another day, or responded after saying they couldn’t. See what I mean? It isn’t as though you invite someone to hangout and they say no. If they had, fair enough, maybe they’re not feeling it, or they have enough going on. But to suggest a hangout and then not show any interest…?
Why? Seriously, there’s no point.
5. The Unicorn
It’s happened. The beautiful moment has finally happened… you’ve met someone you share interests with, whom you click well with, with schedules that magically align, and they want to hangout.
Have a friend festival to commemorate this occurrence because as an adult: This. sh*t. doesn’t. happen.
I don’t mean to make everything sound so bleak, and who knows maybe despite my mediocrity this doesn’t happen that often, and I am just one hell of an awkward person. I do struggle with the transition of acquaintance to friend in the sense of, I don’t know when to cross that threshold. When I run out of enjoyable small talk, I feel like I should invite the person to hangout, but don’t know if that’s too soon.
I struggle far more with making friends than I do dating… Anyone want to trade advice?
In the mean time I will make do with the friends I have, and hope my cat doesn’t bail!