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What am I even doing doing here AKA: How do adults make friends?

I wrote a piece recently about the introverts guide to gig-going, and some hot tips from one introvert to another. I definitely still have flashes of extroverted-ness if that even makes sense, but a lot of the time, especially if I’ve been writing a lot, I tend to exist in my own little world, and hug a little tighter to the introverted edge of the personality sword. After the piece went out yesterday, I received a few messages along the lines of working out how to bridge the gap between a whole bunch of people and exactly how we could maybe connect lots of different sorts of people together. This then got me thinking… How exactly do you make new friends as an adult?

[x_pullquote type=”left”]A team mate of mine asked me to hang out the and my very first thought was, “Why?”[/x_pullquote]I mean you’re at school for an extended period of time and you may keep in contact with your old compadres from High School, or you may not. But what about the gap in between High School and well… adulthood. You know, that really illusive grey period of your mid to late 20s. How do you reach out and connect with new people? Especially in a town you’ve spent the vast majority of your life existing within.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think this process would probably be a lot easier if you were moving to a new city. When you move somewhere new, you kind of have the chance and almost an excuse to be whoever or whatever person you want to be. It’s a chance to wipe your entire slate clean. But when you’re trying to branch out, or extend your network in your home town, especially if that home town happens to be Newcastle, you can never really walk 10 metres without running into someone you know.

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[x_pullquote type=”right”]I’m really trying to let go of having a set agenda, to relax a little in the company of others…[/x_pullquote]This year I started playing footy, the AFL kind. Now I know nothing about AFL (still) except for the fact people yell out BALL a lot, but I actually joined the team for reasons far removed from having an unconditional love for the great game. One was for my mental health, I needed something tangible to focus on, instead of hunching over my laptop and talking to characters I’d made up. I also wanted the chance to connect with an entirely different network of people. I realised the other day just how out of practice, and perhaps suspicious of new people I am. A team mate of mine asked me to hang out the and my very first thought was, “Why?”. Lucky this team mate of mine decided to call me an idiot and picked me up anyway. I am grateful for this and the world needs more people like her.

Friendships form mostly out of shared connections. If you have a hobby, no matter how outrageous you think it is, chances are, someone in this big wide world will share that hobby with you. The pressure is then off you to actually make a ‘friend,’ instead you can just focus on sharing space whilst you both complete said hobby. This is the introverts way after all. You could also take the time to jump outside your comfort zone, try something totally new, I’d personally recommend AFL to anyone who asked for my two cents on the matter.

I think the key to making new connections, and forming friendships during adulthood, is allowing yourself to trust people again. It’s all about deviating away from the idea that a person you’re interacting with is expecting something from you in return. That you actually can just talk to someone, and spend time with someone, just for the sake of spending time. I’m really trying to let go of having a set agenda, to relax a little in the company of others, and maybe even make a few friends in the process. Maybe we could all follow this advice? Learn to trust each other a little more. Reach out a little more. And maybe in time, we’ll all feel a little more connected, in one way or another. 

Written by Laura Kebby

I write words about talented people doing talented things, and translate chatter by putting pen to paper.