I like to think I’m pretty evolved in my views on relationships. Although I think I did marry my best friend when I married Husband, I never expected “best friend” to be equivalent to “all the friend I’ll ever need” because I am very aware that I need more friends! Girls friends! And lots of them! For yoga and wine tastings and Downton Abbey and dress shopping and all the beautiful voices and perspectives that cannot possibly be contained in one human (but adorable) man.
I didn’t make many friends in college. I was awkward, took a ton of classes, worked three jobs, and graduated early so I could head to graduate school. But thankfully, graduate school was an ideal friend destination full of sweet, thoughtful people who had similar interests and passions and hopes and dreams. Through a combination of first jobs and late-night classes, I developed multiple strong, beautiful friendships. I’ve now had these friends for almost seven years and we’ve watched each other grow up, get married, buy houses, start families, join churches, and transfer jobs. My friends give me financial advice, pick me up when I have a flat tire, come to my birthday parties, and listen to my family drama. I am very blessed.
There’s just a problem: My friends are moving away. Like almost ALL of them. And all in the last four months. I don’t want to negate my remaining friendships or just brush off friends because they live hours away, but I am legit starting to feel lonely in a way I haven’t felt in years. Yes, I have Husband. But Husband is not going to be the perfect companion to check out the new hot chocolate bar at the pastry shop tomorrow or binge Say Yes to the Dress with me this weekend or stock up on Sephora samples during the sale and I don’t expect him to be. I’m proud of my friends for living their dreams and finding new adventures, but I sometimes feel trapped in my 5-year commuting PhD “adventure.” I know I’m where I’m supposed to be, but right now, where I’m supposed to be is rather void of playmates.
So, I’m trying. Trying to make new friends. When I meet someone interesting, I say, “Hey, would you want to grab coffee sometime?” And I’m on Bumble BFF. “What is that?”, you might ask. “Why, it’s like a dating app, but for friends!”, I reply. Because apparently, other people are having the same problem. Actually, just Google “hard to make friends” and you will see a plethora of articles about the challenges of making adult friends in the modern era. It’s rough out there, folks. (It’s so odd to be not alone in my loneliness)
Bumble BFF appears to be working, though. I’ve met up with several other smart, educated, and generally awesome people. The only downside? Making friends through an app is slow going. You don’t have work or class or church acting as a buffer to slowly get to know someone or bump into them in a casual setting. It’s super intentional. And a little awkward. And you have to stick with it because getting to know someone takes a while! It’s real old-school stuff.
I’ve also joined the Junior League. And a Lean-In Circle. And my classes are about to start again, so I’ll start to enter the “wistfully thinking about friends while not having any actual time to see them” stage. But female friends are a priority to me, so I’m going to keep at it. I plan to continue investing in my current friendships, even if my friends are halfway across the globe and I hope to open myself up to some new best friends, whether they come from graduate school or yoga class or a phone app. And in the meantime, I’ll be extra thankful to Husband for going with me to Sephora.
I would love to hear perspectives from other people about joys and struggles of making adult friends! Thanks, in advance!
I love that you shared this. Because I’m the friend that left all of my high school friends every summer to live for two months on the other side of the country, only to come back and feel like I had to make new friends at home. I’m the friend that went to university online while working five part-time jobs and never had time for friends. I’m the friend that left and moved to the other side of the world where friends never stay–they are in a constant coming and going kind of flux. And now I’m the friend who is leaving, again. I’m the friend who will never stay in one place long-term, the friend who is always busy with work and school and sports, the friend who…has no friends.
Somehow I thought the people that stayed…the people that lived within three hours of their hometown, or who at least stayed in one city for more than three years…actually had friends. That it was just the wandering vagabonds like myself who didn’t have friends–or at least friends they had known longer than six months to a year.
So yeah… thanks for sharing. Thanks for making me feel a little more normal in my loner-ship.
And…I wonder if that app works internationally? I’m going to check it out. 🙂
Haha, you’re def not alone. It’s totally a millennial thing since we tend to wait longer to get married, start a family, etc, but still value divserse adult relationships. Hope you keep trying, though! 🙂
Thanks for sharing this – I know the feeling having moved to three new cities in the last 16 years – it’s hard but possible! Great post.
That’s a lot of moving! Good for you for continuing to make the effort to make friends!
I totally relate and am struggling with this myself. Thanks for posting! Lets me know I’m not alone! xo
Thanks for sharing!
What a great post and relatable topic! I’m the friend that has always moved. But currently I want to make new friends because in one circle of friends, I’m the one only married friend without kids, so I just can’t relate to the whole mom thing; and in my other circle of friends, I’m the only friend who isn’t single. So I’d love to make friends with other women who are just working wives trying to build a career and enjoy life before the kids come 🙂
It has to be hard with your friends leaving, but I hope you find the connections you’re looking for. Also I’m wishing you the best on your PhD journey, as I’m sure it has it’s ebbs and flows too. Thanks for sharing!