I have been saying for a while that making adult friends is like dating. But events of the past few weeks has proven this to be more true than I was even realized! So I will say it again, making adult friends (after college and marriage and kids) is the same thing as dating!
I have been very blessed with the very best friends, and they have been in my life since as early as elementary school. The same group of girls has been with me through every detail and drama and bad hairstyle I have had for the past 18 plus years. I never really needed to make new friends. But the past year lead many of my best friends heading in different directions. They will forever be my best, the friendships are not going anywhere, but I became acutely aware that I needed to find some girl friends closer to home. Ones to go out for a girls night with, or to bring their kids over for a pizza night every once in a while. I couldn't drive South Jersey or Maryland or fly to NC every time I needed some girl time. That is what started me on my adventure to find some new adult friends
Back to why it feels a lot like dating- Some examples-
-It can be awkward at first, you have to the play the whole getting to know you game. At first it may seem like you have mutual interests, but after a few times hanging out all of a sudden you realize you are very different people. What do you do next, keep working on it? Let it go? It's a bit weird.
-Sometimes you find out they are crazy. Unfortunately I have had a few issues of this recently. Girls can be drama filled and over the top and everything is the end of the world. I don't have time for this in my life, I haven't dealt with that since middle school, and I certainly have no interest in drama filled, crazies in my life as an adult. But just like some of the weirdos we have dated, its hard to shake them.
-Playing the should I call/text game. I know this sounds funny but it's true. You meet someone you think would totally be a great new friend. But you don't know if they feel the same connection (haha I am laughing as I write this). So do you call them? Find something random to text them about? When is it okay to reach out and ask them to do something? Or now that you have hung out a few times, and you feel like you are always the one making the plans, do you keep initiating or do you stand back and wait to see if they reach out. Oh the stress and anxiety over trying to read the situation.
-Deciding what to wear. Women know they really only dress for each other, right? So I seriously found myself in a situation last week over thinking what to wear for dinner out with a new friend. We have known each other for a while now, see each other at daily school drop off in our yoga pants, even had a few social events we both attended... but we had never been out for a girls night just the two of us. I didn't know what her usual dress would be for a girls night (with my high school girl friends I can pretty much predict what each one of them will be wearing to any situation because we know each other so well). Was our night a casual jeans and flats and a sweater night, hair in a pony tail running out the door kind of night? Or would it be more of a "yes we are free, lets get all dolled up for a night on the town" kind of night? I went somewhere in the middle, and luckily it turned out to be just fine.
-Continuing with the same night, it was all about trying to figure each other out- are we ordering full meals, or just bar foods? Would we split some appetizers or like totally different things? Do we pick up this small stuffed endive and eat it whole or cut it up into little pieces (yes this moment actually happened and we laughed a lot about it). We each have our own norms when it comes to going out with friends, but we had to get use to each others.
- But lastly, and just like with dating, if you meet someone who is a good fit, then all these silly little things become easy. Just like when meeting a guy that turns into a real relationship, it should be easy and fun and none of the stress I described above. It's the same with making new friends. If it's easy and fun and you enjoy having this new person in your life, then it probably means it will be a good friendship. If its awkward and work and doesn't make you happy- cut the losses and move on.
Again, I am lucky to have my girls. We know what we will wear, what we will order to eat, what kind of activities we like to do. We know who wants to go out and get a bit tipsy and who would rather sit in sweats on the couch and chat. We know each others quirks and have no judgments about them. We understand each others relationships with our husbands and parents and inlaws and children. We can be ourselves 100% all of the time and know that know matter what these are my best friends that I can go to whenever I need them.
I am hopeful that going through this friendship dating game will lead me to a few more new friends that live a little closer to home. Until then I will blog about my adventures!