Being in your 20s is such a weird place to be in life!!!! Do you agree? Cause like...You’re definitely an adult, but often times you don’t quite feel like one?? Yano what I mean!? You’re likely done with college, or maybe on your way to finishing up. You’re starting a career. You know people having babies, and maybe you're starting to go that way yourself. There are a lot of exciting, uncertain things going on at this stage in life, and I think we’ve all dreamed about what they would be like. One thing is for sure—we all imagined facing this season of life, best friends at our side, but if you’re anything like me, you may find it difficult to find those best friends...
I struggled for months after graduating college to find my niche of community. It was so difficult for me to feel like I fit in anywhere because I'm an ultra deep person. I find, even up until recently, that when I hang out with someone new, I always ask complex and real questions. If I stop asking questions, then it's just complete silence wherever we are. The other person doesn't say a thing. And if they do, it's about shopping or a reality TV show.
I even had some doubts that maybe I was just messed up and I didn't know how to find young, hip, girl friends to jive with because of my personality. I spent some time really thinking and trying to understand this dilemma that I keep having to face. After talking to several people that I trust about this, I was encouraged to take the enneagram test to better understand myself and the circumstances I tend to find myself in. Eventually, I realized that I was a 4w3. After reading about this personality type and really studying what it means, I’ve been able to understand myself a whole lot better and have come to see friendship in a brand new light. Through this time of self-reflection, I had many conversations with people close to me about the difficulty of making and maintaining friendships in your 20s. I noticed three themes that almost everyone would bring up. Here are those issues and some ways to work through them:
You're Too Busy
You’re hustling to move ahead at work. You’re trying to be a good wife or girlfriend. You’re trying to stay healthy and establish those good habits. Oh, you're making some time for yourself too! We can get so wrapped up in our own lives that we forget we have to make efforts to get others involved. We tend to think that our husband or boyfriend, or maybe our mom or sister are the only support system we need. But that couldn't be further from the truth.
Those people in our lives are so wrapped up in the everyday things of our lives that they may not be able to always give us the most objective outlook. Plus, anyone else get super annoyed when their husband only gives super reasonable advice to a problem? Do not let yourself get so caught up in the every day responsibilities that you forget to make friends along the way.
Honestly, I would use this busyness talk more as an excuse. I've been really hurt by friends in the past, so sometimes I would just fill my calendar with things so I wouldn't have to hang out or reach out to anybody. I didn't want to get hurt again. I didn't want to be vulnerable with anybody again that wasn't going to share other parts of their life and heart with me too... but I realized I had to make time and show up anyway. I had to start inviting friends into my life instead of trying to do everything on my own. And yes- it was terrifying.
But where do these friends fit in? How do you find the time?
It’s not like you can stop going to work or being a good wife. You could stop working out, but you shouldn’t, and you definitely need to keep your "you" time, or you might lose what little sanity you have left. I suggest finding some friends to do your "to do list" with you!
Seriously, it may sound stupid simple, but it is the easiest way to make a friend and get to spend time with her! Sit with someone during lunch at work and strike up a convo. Do you always see the same girl at the gym at the same time you go? Ask her to workout with you! (I've done this and it was so scary, but we actually got along really well) Visiting your old home town? See if a girl you know wants to make your monthly mani-pedi a friend date!
It may seem scary to make the first move toward a new person, but the worst they can say is no. So put yourself out there and look in the places you already are for some new friends!
Do Your Values Align?
I feel this is especially true when you’re just coming out of college. So many people spend their evenings and weekends drinking and partying and I would rather go to dinner or binge watch Jane the Virgin while sipping on some tea. If you constantly surround yourself with people who share different values than you, are you really going to be making a great friend out of them? Proooobably not.
If you’re the kind of girl who loves self-growth and learning about Christianity and furthering your love for Jesus and this world, you may not find the closest of friends in the gossip tabloid section of the book store. While you shouldn’t necessarily look for someone who shares your absolute same values on every detail of life, I definitely recommend looking for friends who share your same core values. You don’t like vulgar language and raunchy tv shows? Look for someone who agrees with that.
Wanna know what I did just a few weeks ago? I reached out to my pastors wife and told her to give me a list of names of everyone that goes to church with me that is around my age. When she did that, I added them all on Facebook, and even messaged a few. Yes- That probably comes off as creepy- but it actually birthed one awesome friendship that I'm digging right now! I sought after girls that loved God, because I had to learn that they just weren't going to show up at my doorstep.
Social media is such an awesome way to meet people as well and learn what they’re about. I've connected with some of my best friends through the digital space. Look for like-minded individuals who you think you could get along with and start chatting! If social media isn’t quite your vibe, I highly recommend checking out your church, or if you don’t attend one looking for one! Most churches in my experience have small groups for young, post grad adults. This could be a great resource for you to meet other people of the same age who share your values. Not to mention, if you're shy—forced mingling! It may sound kind of awful, but ice breakers and forced mingling can be a shy introverts life saver when it comes to making new friends.
You Need To Grow Up
It’s a hard thing to admit, and I think sometimes we don’t recognize this is why we aren’t making friends but it’s so true! Most of us have felt the hurt and betrayal of a friend who quit being friendly. Whether it’s someone who dropped you like a hot potato when you chose to no longer live life like they do. Or maybe out of the blue this person turned against you in the worst way. Most of us have seen the unfortunate, ugly side of friends, and it can scare us off. But, it can also help us prevent it from happening again!
While we may never forget the hurt of what those people did to us, they do teach us lessons. Dealing with bad friends makes us better at filtering out who we do and don’t want in our lives. So, if we have that kind of built-in friend filter what do we have to be afraid of? Nothing! Not to mention, what kind of life is it to live in fear constantly? Some people just aren’t going to live up to your expectations, but using the other ways I mentioned above hopefully you can find some new ways to put yourself out there and meet some new, awesome friends!
Making friends as a 20 something year old can be super daunting. Life can be challenging, even without the whole maintaining friendships and figuring out yourself element. Sometimes we get busy. Other times we struggle to find those who share our values. And sometimes we can just be afraid of getting hurt. No matter what the reason is, there is ultimately a way to work through it. I believe that if you use these practices, and say a little extra prayer that God brings some great people into your life you are sure to meet the exact right people who will be by your side for all those big life moments.