I have recently learned that I have NO CLUE how to make friends as an adult.
And you might say: "But Grady, haven't you been an adult for ten years? What could you possibly mean? You have friends!"
And to that I would say: "Why yes, yes I have. And yes, yes I do. BUT MAKING A NEW FRIEND FROM SCRATCH AS AN ADULT IS A TRIP, YOU GUYS!"
Alright, let me explain further and with less capitalization...
So very recently I met someone and I immediately had this feeling that I just HAD to know her. She captivated me in her conversations, both with me and others, and I instantly found her hilarious and brilliant. So, naturally, I felt compelled to try to get to know her better. Maybe even (gasp!) eventually become friends. But since I'm super clueless on this whole thing, my initial methods were awkward, repeated text message questions akin to a very strange job interview, and a lot of internet "research" aka reading every post she's ever written in a blog she had in 2008. So far so good, right?
(Sidenote: I have never considered the fact that someone could, theoretically, even find, nevermind READ all of my old blogs/facebook posts/etc. but it's 100% possible, just a forewarning. Check your content, ya'll!)
Although I have learned some wonderful and hilarious and phenomenal facts about my new friend, (and she knows I read it! I'm not THAT creepy!) when I'm just reading her work I am not engaging in a back-and-forth, which makes it more akin to stalking than building a friendship, so that's not really ideal.
It turns out that I literally don't know how to make friends on purpose. I know how to HAVE friends, and I know how to make friends out of my immediate circumstances, but I don't know how to make friends with intention.
Leave it to nerdy old me to do research on this subject - I actually ordered this book (affiliate link) after listening to THIS podcast, which rather appropriately appeared in my podcast inbox as I was beginning to navigate this crazy friendship-making thing. I can't speak to the book at all, as it hasn't arrived yet (Come to, Prime! You can do it!) but the podcast was killer. I listened to it twice. If you have a spare 45 minutes, I would definitely recommend you check it out.
Something I learned from listening is that the three main things needed in a successful friendship are: Positivity, Consistency, and Vulnerability. And that's why friendships, ultimately, take work to create and build and maintain, because those aspects need to all be there. You can't force them - you can work on them and cultivate them, of course, but you can't simply force it. And I love that! It also made me feel WAY less crazy that when it came down to it, I really had no clue how to make friends or why it seemed so much easier as a kid or in college (or, as it turns out, in my theatre work as well) - well duh, ya'll. Back then we had our consistency built right in! One of the three was automatically taken care of!
But here is the other really cool thing I've learned from this adventure: Getting to know someone new, although it might feel somewhat like being in the dating world again (the nervous waiting-for-a-text-back thing still applies in friendship, turns out!) is also REALLY FUN! So many possibilities and so much to learn about someone else! And when you find that you "click" with someone and you're not afraid to go for it and hang out with them!? It's just glorious!
Honestly knowing that I'm not alone in my cluelessness has really helped me feel more excited and less nervous about trying to put myself out there and make a friend!
And for the record, I would consider this person my friend now (yippee!) and I'm really excited to continue learning about her and getting to know her and asking her random questions over text message (because that bit comes with the territory with me, regardless of the stage of the friendship).
SO GET OUT THERE YA'LL!!! Ask someone to coffee! Text message them random curiosities! Read their blogs from 2008! (Well, maybe don't do that one... your call.) The point is --- pretty much everyone finds friendship-making difficult as an adult, but that means that the person you wanna get to know might also feel as awkward and shy and excited and unsure as you are!
Go make some friends, you guys! Turns out it's actually kinda fun!