Sisters Before Misters
In honour of Galentine’s Day, Tea Adesanya explores the intricacies of making new friends as an adult
What is Galentine’s Day without any gals? A lonely platter of wine and cheese for one? I mean, yeah, that sounds pretty heavenly to be fair. Nonetheless, being an adult lacking a wine and cheese companion can be challenging at times. But I’m about to say something that challenges a belief I think a lot of people subconsciously labour under:
It is not desperate to want to make friends as an adult.
There. Now, here’s why. Firstly, that all-too-human desire to connect shouldn’t infantilise you, or indicate some shameful inability to form friendships. Societal perceptions can sometimes make it feel that if you haven’t locked down all your life-long mates by the time you’ve graduated, you’ve failed. After all, we all know university is where you meet the love of your life AND the 200 bridesmaids that’ll walk you down the aisle. Right? For that reason, admitting you’ve arrived at the doorstep of adulthood surrounded by more acquaintances than friends can be extremely painful.
Moreover, when other people’s mates are paraded on social media under a plethora of beaming heart eye emojis, it may appear like everyone’s friend slots are full. And one might well start to wonder “Why don’t I have that?” Or, even worse, “What’s wrong with me?”. Yet, according to You Gov, one out of five millennials say they have no friends. It’s clear more people feel lonely than they care to admit and, whether we’re five, 25 or 55, we all crave substantial connections. So, lets unhook the shame and stigma that stains the wholesome desire to make new friends later on in life.
Which perfectly segue-ways to the second point, how the hell does one even cook up a friend? (Figuratively, not literally. Please do not cook your friends). I’d like to know, because I don’t know if you’ve tried recently but that’s shit’s actually really hard! Creating good meaningful connections is a recipe with little to no rhyme or reason to it. There is no ‘ABC, just made a mate’ formula, no instruction manual. Apparently, you can’t even survey your way into friendship. How bloody impractical is that? I’m fuming. It appears that the act of successfully conjuring a platonic spark exists in the same jurisdiction as finding love and bingeing a whole ten seasons of Friends – the land of ‘how the fuck did I manage that?’.
So, I posed a question my Instagram stories: ‘When was the last time you made a good friend, and how did it happen?’ Then I pressed play on season one of Friends and patiently waited for the responses to roll in. Here were the most interesting answers…
“A year ago, he ate pasta with a spoon on an Insta story. So, I called him out for it.” @tylgrnt
“I think they messaged me saying they liked my writing, and we had a pretty natural chatty conversation. Then one day, I just asked if they wanted to go for coffee!” @Bethashleywriter
“Slid into @styledby.chloe DM’s last April and we’ve been inseparable ever since. To be honest I don’t think it was anything particularly exciting! From what I remember she was talking about work on her stories so I DM’d her to ask what store she worked in, we had a chat about that and then literally just never stopped messaging, lol.” @jesselleking
“The online friendships started as bloggers supporting bloggers I guess! A few comments and likes and then conversations got started. In terms of IRL blogging pals, I’d say it was more just chatting at events and then carrying that online, seeing them at other events etc. They’re not particularly close pals, but it’s general niceties nonetheless!” @positivelyloz
“We met on Instagram after I replied to her story. Two weeks later, we went to the pub!” @girlonfilm_
“How I make my friends? ONLY THE INTERNET. But only the best ones make IRL” @Foreveryoursbetty
“We matched on Bumble BFF, chatted for about half an hour, and then she texted asking if I wanted to go for coffee! The rest is history… She’s one of my best friends and we hang out multiple times per week.” @buro155
“So, I made three friends there so far who I see regularly. With my Italian friend Sara, we first spoke about our love for Nutella and desserts. On my profile it said that if I had to choose one meal for the rest of my life it would be Nutella Calzone. You could say pizza and chocolate brought us together. She eats chocolate digestives with an extra Nutella layer. Mental…” @eivapoppins
“At work! I know not everyone considers work friends as actual friends but…” @emmachallis
“The majority of my latest friends are from work. We were around the same age with the same interests, so it didn’t take a long time for us to bond. One friendship in particular, we were working for a music festival together and with the weird hours and the not-always-on-top-administration, we became close. Even today, we both don’t work there anymore, but this experience always comes back in our conversation.” @entrelescouvertes
“I met, through my new job, two real cuties. It’s quite a small conservative area and when another queer person who gets your references starts at your job, a bond is made and drinks are had!” @Hollyindigo_
“Two years ago, I met one of my best friends when I started my new job! She was a friendly face so I started chatting with her really easily and we became friends quickly because we have so much in common!“ @tylermaree14
“I told her I liked her outfit and then we happened to go to the same pole dance class” @daniellesams
“Like BFF level, almost two years ago when I was 23. She was a student on a trip I was managing. I saw a lot of myself in her. She was terrified to talk to the boys on the trip and stayed in her room while everyone else partied, and once we got home, we realised we had more in common. Now she’s come out of her shell completely and we’ve grown together.” @allie_davies
“I made a new friend last week and we became friends because because our mutual mate invited us out. It was slightly awkward at first because I obviously didn’t know her at all but it slowly became more friendly and comfortable. I think the thing that makes making new friends easier for me is being surrounded by people I’m already comfortable with. As an introvert, I wouldn’t be very comfortable approaching someone to start a friendship by myself.” @emstelous
“Like a week ago. We made eye contact on the library steps then went to the pub.” @tawnyleaves
“Going into labour with a woman on the same ward as me!” @peoniesandfallenleaves
So, what have we learned? Apart from the fact that you lot clearly don’t have resting bitch face, like me, it seems the way we make platonic connections is evolving. Apps like Bumble BFF and Instagram are actually great tools at our disposal, if we use them with care and intent. I’ve learnt DMs are a powerful friendship mechanism and we shouldn’t be afraid to use them – I too met my last friend through DMs. A fork lover can be friends with someone who scoops up pasta with a spoon. An online friendship could translate into something powerfully meaningful in real life. Regular chats and meetings help grow a friendship. And lastly, a bond can bloom even in the most unusual places…like right before pushing a seven-pound baby out your hooha. Isn’t that ace?
It’s ok to feel lonely and want to make friends as an adult, and you are, ironically, not alone if you do feel like that. Sure, it’s undoubtedly hard, but it’s not impossible. As we can see, beautiful friendship can appear in the most unexpected places, so keep your heart open. And be my friend already…