As it turns out, I feel as awkward as an adult as I did as a child.
In a social media conversation about making friends as adults, one person said it was simple: “Just ask!” The answer seemed like good advice.
Except, I wondered, what do you ask? (So I asked, because it was a mystery to me.)
That’s when I realized the awkwardness I felt as a third-grader, trying to make friends in a new school, is the same thing I experience today.
As a child, I had friends in my neighborhood, dance friends, church friends, and later swim friends and drama friends. I didn’t always have — or, at least, feel like I had — friends in school. That was tough. But I had plenty of people elsewhere.
Friendship in adulthood is a whole different ball game.
In some ways, I thought adulthood would reflect what I saw in my favorite TV shows. My friends and I would meet at our favorite diner for comfort food and catching up (“Seinfeld”), drop into our go-to coffeeshop for lattes (“Friends”) and have cocktails at the hottest nightspots all the time (“Sex in the City”). There would be weekend brunching and dinner parties and trips to the theatre. It would be a constant flow of laughter and fun.
Life hasn’t exactly imitated art in this way. I mean, my friends and I have done all these things over the years, but it was never the constant flow I imagined. We’ve had jobs and other commitments. There were bills to pay. Plus, our lives changed. Many of us have kids. Some of my old friends have moved. I moved. That picture of adulthood I had was as fictional as the shows I loved.
But I’ve discovered the magic of friendship. The very best of friends are the ones who still touch base on a random afternoon to commiserate about the fact that our kids are about to start high school. Maybe you don’t speak every day, but when you do it’s like no time has passed. And then there are the new friends — the ones who share your love of cooking or your adoration of showtunes. They are the ones you haven’t known as long but feel so compatible with.
I’m lucky to have some of those, too.
And as I sit here now, I think I know the answer to my question about what to ask would-be new friends: It’s anything. Ask them about their weekends. Ask them to grab a cup of coffee. Ask them to catch a movie or attend a book signing. Heck, just ask them about their adorable pet.
Opening that door starts with the simple act of saying hello.
This month’s issue is all about being a healthier you. We’re talking about yoga, mindfulness, financial health — and friendship. Because having friends is important, too.
This was originally published in Bangor Metro’s May 2019 issue. To subscribe to the magazine, click here.