Making friends is hard.

Posted by on July 18, 2010 at 3:20 pm.

I love meeting new people. I loved going to summer camp and not knowing anyone and leaving with a half dozen new best friends. I loved starting at a new school (middle school, high school) because I’d have the safety net of my old friends but I’d get to meet all sorts of interesting new people.

That’s one of the main reasons I’m a journalist. You get to work with people who like meeting new people. Whose job, in fact, is to meet new people and tell their stories. Seems like an area ripe for making new friends.

Alas, I have not found this to be true. The people here I would be most likely to label friends are from work. But considering my newsroom is 80 percent under the age of 30, about probably 50 percent under the age of 25, it seems like I should’ve more easily been able to fit right into their social circles. I don’t, yet. Maybe I will after a few more weeks.

When I got to college, I had a hard time making good friends for the first few months. Some of the friends I made right away, I realized after a few weeks, I didn’t really want to be friends with. Then I joined a student organization, and after a few months of only kind of having friends in it, I made some of my best friends. (Getting a boyfriend also helped. I adopted his friends as my own.)

I was hoping to find something outside of work here that would fill the role that student organization played. Church was my best bet. That didn’t work out.

In college, I criticized the sororities and fraternities like any good non-Greek. Paying for friends. Superficial networking. (Not to mention the unrealistic body-type expectations, the peer-pressure actions and the social ego that often, but not always, are associated with Greeks.) My first year at college was spent surrounded by people obsessed with stereotypical sororities. By my senior year, I had calmed down a bit on the Greek-bashing. I knew more people in less crazy frats (honors-, music-, volunteer- based groups). Why am I telling you this?

There’s a group of professional 20-somethings (20-somethings who are professionals, not people whose profession is to be a 20-something. Though that would be awesome). They’re looking for new members. It’s significantly cheaper than the sororities in college, but I still feel like it’s paying for friends. I’ll probably do it anyway, even though they meet mainly while I’m at work. If nothing else, it’ll look good on a resume.

Working nights really changes how one goes about looking for friends. I’m not going to be able to go to bars, movies, concerts, etc., with any friends I make, unless they want to go on the two slowest days (Sunday or Monday) when I don’t work until 1 a.m.

I’ve considered trying to volunteer at the library or a bookstore, or even the animal shelter. Maybe this week.

While writing this post, I’ve had an old Girl Scout song stuck in my head:

“Make new friends,
but keep the old.
One is silver,
the other is gold.”

Why was making friends so much simpler in elementary school?

All through college, I told myself it would be 10 times easier to make new friends once I turned 21 and could go to bars.

I blame sitcoms for this unrealistic expectation.

I’m so thankful for the company of all my college friends (by e-mail, gchat, Skype, even hand-written letters). I have some of the best friends in the world. I would just like to make some friends within 500 miles. Tips?

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