Adulting has been filled with big girl paychecks, financial growth, love (a whole engagement), career growth, learning my passions, and growing my faith. However, adulting has NOT been full of making new friends. I will give a disclaimer that this is my truth and that everything you are about to read is a reflection of my thoughts on my experience. Your experiences of course, will be based on so many personal factors like personality, level of involvement in activities, etc..
I am an introvert who loves long conversations but is exhausted by meeting and engaging with strangers. I get anxiety about having to meet new people, not knowing what to expect, and so on. I love my people and I have a hard time with new ones. However, as an adult, I have wanted to make new friends and have definitely tried my hardest not to let anxiety affect how I show up in new friendships.
All that said, it has been hard af to make new friends and especially as a black woman! I still have my college friends, but they live all over the country and I have one to two childhood friends left from my pre-college days who don’t live in my immediate area. The older I have gotten, the more I wonder when my adult social life will flourish. My adulthood has been full of very short or very one-sided friendships. I’ve met women who were amazing and then I relocated and they stopped responding to calls and texts. I’ve met women that whisked me into a world of lopsided effort and crooked expectations. I’ve met a couple women who I have developed bonds with over travel or a season of similar careers and interests. But I admittedly haven’t had a best adult friend, a go-to person I could consistently count on, and most certainly not in the same geographic area.
I have spent a lot of time thinking about this, talking about it with my therapist, praying about it, and trying to figure out how to let my “vibe” attract my “tribe”, in the words of a million corny Pinterest and Instagram quote graphics. I’ve even done some things differently like gone to meet-ups using the meet-ups app which is waayyyyyyy outside my comfort zone. I don’t think many things could be much more uncomfortable socially for me. I have also used friend finder apps which was a major fail. I joined a church, just a few short weeks before covid upended all of our lives. As of late, covid and quarantine have made making new friends completely impossible for anyone, especially if you are truly trying to be socially distant.
In addition to my personality and characteristics, I think that there are some factors that can be barriers for any woman trying to make new friends as an adult. I have listed those things below:
- Work Schedules/ Time ( Work hours, commute time, etc.) – people don’t have as much time as they did when they were younger to devote to new friendships especially without roommates.
- Serious relationships/family (being engaged, married, or having kids) – having a family or a spouse takes up a lot of time can can be a barrier for women looking to grow new friendships
- Established friend groups – people have their core group of friends by a certain age and tend to stick with that group unless they relocate
On the contrary, my fiance makes new friends fairly easily as a man and also doesn’t deal with the added layer of “drama” that sometimes comes with navigating newfound friendships with women. So the point of this post is to reiterate that making friends as an adult woman is hard. Yes! I’m engaged (about to be married in 85 days) and I love my fiance who is also my best friend…BUT obviously, he is not a girl and women need women. Many women have shared these sentiments with me, mostly introverts like me and mostly in passing or on social media. Making friends as an adult is an “under construction” area of my life and I have no suggestions for how to do so in this post. However, I want to call out the fact that many women are challenged by this and don’t talk about it. I’ll take that a step further and say that many black women are even more challenged in dealing with friendship, duality, and being a black women in our society and the intersection of those things. That is definitely a topic for another time, though.
I would love to hear your experiences, thoughts, and truths in the comments.