Sometimes I think friendship is just like dating. I know that sounds weird but hear me out. Everyone needs to fill that void in their life of that one close friend, or several close friends even, but someone you call in the middle of the night when times are tough, someone you can rely on in an emergency, or someone you call when you find a YouTube video about a monkey riding a goat and “isn’t that the most hilarious thing you’ve ever seen!?!”
But that one good friend is hard to find. Especially as you get older and you move around more, you become separated from your best and oldest friends and time differences and distances make those everyday interactions impossible. Also, as you get older you get more guarded. It’s not like when you’re younger and you spill all your secrets in the park after school huddled under the slide. As you get older you get more wary, you have the fear of judgement or the fear of rejection. You don’t want to tell all right away… just like dating, right?
Or maybe you’ve found that one good friend, but things didn’t work out the way you hoped they would… sometimes friends break up. It doesn’t happen often, but having been through friend breakups and boyfriend breakups, both can be equally difficult and heart-breaking. They’ve always left me baffled, wondering what went wrong, what I should have done differently, feeling betrayed and so so sad - and feeling like you’re never going to meet anyone else who gets you, weirdness and all.
So the facts are: for those of us who don’t have sisters and a built in BFF, you’ve got to go out and find it for yourself! You need to find that person, to build a history and to have that support system. A boyfriend or a husband can fill that role too, but I think for the sake of that relationship it’s important to spread the responsibility. Putting the pressure on your partner to be everything to you can lead you into trouble, no one can be everything to somebody, and it’s not fair to expect that.
The thing is, just like dating, if you want to make friends you’ve got to get out there. You’ve got to talk to people and you’ve got to trust that you’re not the only one who is missing that one good friend, a partner in crime. Just because you’re at the age where you thought you would have it all figured out, and you don’t, doesn’t mean you’re not worth being friends with. Just like dating, you’re going to meet a lot of people that would make better friends to have fun with rather than friends to binge watch Orange is the New Black with, but if you give it time you’ll eventually find someone who is obsessed with the same flavour of Ben and Jerry’s as you are.
And if you find yourself suddenly friendless due to a breakup, a big life change, or for whatever reason, don’t take it to heart. If you did something wrong, or you were wronged yourself, give yourself time to heal. And if it just fell apart, well that’s life I guess. I don’t think people really change, I just think that they get better at pretending to be who they think they should be. Life is hard for some people, pressures and priorities change and that’s ok, it’s no reflection on you. You’re still awesome and worth being friends with.
When you’re ready, pick yourself up and get back out there. There are plenty more friendly fish in the sea.
Here are some interesting reads on making friends I've found around the internet.
This article from the Huffington Post about how it's not uncommon to feel the need to make friends when you're an adult.
The New York Times on why it's so hard to make friends when you're older.
An article from Marie Claire on how to find a new BFF when you're in you're over 30