Let's be friends!
Let’s be real. Making new friends as an adult is hard. And a year and a half ago when I moved to DC I felt incredibly helpless in that department. But, lately I have found myself in a season of friendship. And when I really reflect on this beautiful time in my life I realize that it isn’t just fate, it is me. I am actively putting myself out there and the world is giving back in full force! Because of this, my sister, Em, had the great idea for me to write about it. So, here we are.
Let me start by saying I have always struggled in making real, true friends versus falling fast for someone and looking past all the flaws or their own personal crazy and finding myself in a mess of drama later. And for every two or three amazing friends I have made in different chapters of my life, there have been people that I have fallen for a little too quickly (if you know about my love life before my wonderful husband, you are not surprised)! I always seem to have “crazy” blinders on. But, I think I have finally kicked this habit.
And this is how I have done it. When I meet people now, I put it all out there (I think I used to just mirror other people’s behavior? I don’t know—something to figure out in therapy one day I’m sure). You will know in the first hour of meeting me that I love hot Cheetos, am a nanny, want to be a stay at home mom, that I am Catholic, that I am happily married, that I enjoy tequila nights and a trip to Target on a Friday equally, that I am usually down for anything pending affordability (ha), that I will overshare and really listen, that I have anxiety and might need to cancel plans for no reason, that I think I am funnier than I really am, and that I am slightly ridiculous. I have learned that sharing all of this seems to attract my same kind of crazy. And guuuurl (or guy, hi guy!). Let me tell you. IT WORKS.
Earlier in my 20s, when I think about my best friends I made in college, they are the people that saw this right away. Typically by fluke, or they were just able to look past my annoying habits (I obviously have zero of those now—just ask my husband) and see that this was who I really was. I give all the kudos to them. They are also pretty much the only people who read this so thanks, guys! And these wonderful college friends are still my best friends today. And it is pure magic to have true, genuine friends who have known me for 10 years.
But, when I moved to DC I didn’t have those friends within a drive able distance. And even though texting and facetime is great, I needed DC friends, too. I was really lucky when I moved here. And that is because of my girl Becky. Becky and I met through a mutual friend (my girl Liz who deserves a post all on her own) and hit it off right after college. When you are twitter soulmates, diet coke fanatics, and literally watch every same (horrible) tv show, it is pure fate when you finally end up in the same city (and yes, we went to Marquette together, but sometimes you don’t realize that pure soulmate friendship until it’s too late)! And she has been my lifeline ever since I got here. We have conquered skeeball, attempting (and actually succeeding) at becoming runners, and she helped me overcome my fear of book club (a social anxiety nightmare). And it only seemed fitting that our significant others also hit it off right away.
I could literally go on and on about how we are the same and how the differences we do have seem to have made me a stronger person, but that won’t help you make new friends, too and I’ll just save that for Becky’s birthday card next year--! So here are my tips!
1. Get a puppy. No seriously. Don’t do that unless you don’t want to sleep for 6 months. However, when Ryan and I got Murray I met so many great people in our apartment building.
2. Get a hobby! And I say that as a person who struggles with the idea of hobbies as an adult. (How many hobbies should I have? Is it weird that I don’t have any? Does nail polish count as a hobby? Do panic attacks count? Does talking to my mom every day?—you get the point). But, when I started regularly working out in our apartment gym, I started seeing the same girls in there. And boom, new friendsà which leads toà
3. Wear your college shirt to the gym! This is so silly. I used to notice that Ryan would wear his MMA/Emory/Pens/Marquette hoodie kind of based on where we were going and who he could potentially strike up a conversation with. And me happening to have a Marquette sweatshirt on in the gym one day led me to make a great friend in the building!
4. Meet your friends’ friends! This can be so intimidating. It doesn’t always work out and sometimes that can be awkward, but sometimes the stars align and a girl group is formed (I promise I am aware of the cheesiness here).
5. Say yes! I have said yes to so many things this past year that I normally wouldn’t have and because of it, I have met a lot of new people. A bocce ball team, joining a bachelorette bracket, going to the running of the Chihuahuas, running a 10K, getting together with other nannies, seeing a post in a fb group about someone’s daughter who just moved to DC for her husband’s job (and Georgetown LLM program) who is a new mom and needs friends---you get the idea! And that last one is so spot on that Ryan thought someone was going to kidnap me because a person with that much in common just couldn’t be real J (I was not kidnapped, and now have another new friend ps).
6. Be gracious! If you meet someone who is struggling with ANYTHING, they shared that struggle with you for a reason and help them! Invite them for dinner, sympathize, empathize. Share your struggles, too. And just listen.
So many of these things are easier said than done. I get that. And this is just what has worked for me, but I truly believe that this combination has not only opened me up to new friendships, but has also made me a better and more well-rounded person. I have learned so much from all of these wonderful new people!
And let’s be honest:
7. Message me or leave a comment because obviously I am always down for a new friend!