Making friends as kids was pretty straight forward, you would say “hi”, say you like someone’s shoes, sit with them at lunch and then your parents would arrange a playdate. But once you start getting older and become an adult, making friends gets more difficult because suddenly you are more self conscious and have no idea what to say. Looking for friends now feels lonely and you internalize things, even if you already have friends. What is important to remember is that everyone feels this way, and we all have some trouble with friendships, and just knowing that can help a great deal.
So, here are 10 thoughts everyone has when trying to make friends:
- Are these people out of my league?“They are so beautiful and put together, I really want to go talk to them. But, I’m a mess. They would never want to be my friend. Maybe I could say hi, though. They might think I look better than I think I do… Oh my gosh, they said hi back, this is exciting! What happens now?”
They remind me of this childhood friend…
“Like that girl who I used to know in kindergarten, brown hair, I mean so many people have brown hair. See, their names start with the same letters! Does this new person like horses too? Let me ask them if they like horses!”
Can I just creep into this group? Will they notice me?
“That group of people has a lot of people, they’re all laughing, maybe I could just slip into their circle and start laughing with them and then I’m part of it? Would they notice? Should I ask first? Probably not? Well, I’m already making my way there.”
4. They look alone, but busy…
“I know I’m supposed to go and talk to people who are alone, but they look hella busy. They have earbuds in and are on their phone and are eating, but they are still alone. I could sit next to them and see what happens. I don’t want to be pushy, they could make the first move. I would always want someone to talk to me if I was alone, well, not if I was busy though.”
5. If I look pitiful, will someone come over to me?
“Okay, so I’m sitting all alone, not listening to music, just staring at other people who are alone. Will someone come sit with me or ask if I’m okay?! I must look pretty sad though, I should pick someone to stare at. I would sit with myself if I saw myself, why is no one asking if I’m okay?!?!”
6. Who should I say hi to?
“There’s so many people, how do I pick? Those people look mean, and that one smells weird. This person reminds me of that girl in the seventh grade who tripped me in gym class, and those people over there look too beautiful to want to talk to me. Oh! That person looks lonely… And they are on the phone. Of course.”
7. Who looks like someone I can latch on to and never let go of?
“This person needs to be able to deal with me through my good days and bad days. I can be endlessly funny, but moody and mean. I hope they are too. They have to be my partner in crime, my new best friend, how do I look for a best friend? Is there a certain face shape that is for a best friend? Kind eyes? Nice lips? Eyes that match mine? We need to be compatible, or not, whatever, I’m never letting go regardless.”
8. How many more friends do I need?
“Do I need more friends? I know this is a social event, but I already have too many ‘friends’ who aren’t even friends, they are just acquaintances. And we can’t even get together as it is. Do I have time for another friendship to cancel plans with? God, we make so many excuses. Could I just be friends with this person for the night and then never see them again? Like a one night stand! Perfect!”
9. Please let normal noises come out of my mouth…
“I am so nervous, Oh my God. Am I actually talking to this person? They are nodding, so something is coming out of my mouth, but what is it? I hope I’m not babbling about goats again, no one wants to hear that. Although maybe they do want to hear my goat noise, it could be a party trick. Oh no, they asked me a question, Jesus Christ, I have no idea what is happening, I think I made a goat noise again.”
1o. Why is this so difficult?
“Holy Mother of God, when did this get so hard? I can drive and give presentations and have a job, but I can’t even talk to people and make friends???? I have friends, they would be disappointed if they saw this and how did I even become their friend if I am such a failure at this? Ugh… Oh, someone said hi to me, but now what? What do I say? What do I do???”
Trying to make friends when you are older can come with many of these thoughts, sometimes more than one at a time. Let us know what you think when trying to make friends or if you have had similar experiences!