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 Post subject: Making Friends as an Adult
PostPosted: Sat Apr 09, 2016 9:47 pm 
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I need help making friends and doing things.

Long story:
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Most of my social life for the last few years has been through my roommate and work (and dating, though I'm more of a serial monogamist, so I've had three 6 month+ relationships in 3 years).
While I like all of my coworkers, they're mostly all older than me (by a decade...most by almost three or more) and married, so it isn't quite the same as going out with people closer to my age. So when we're out doing things, it's mostly just a chill drink after work. And the ones close to my age...well, they're all fine. But one is in a serious relationship, one lives half an hour away, one I don't like much, and one is a really busy productive social person I aspire to be like.
My roommate recently (through boneheadedness and a lack of any consideration for anyone other than himself) nearly killed my dog, and he refuses to apologize for that plus a few other highly inconsiderate things he's done, so we are not on speaking terms...which makes for a super fun living situation. Our lease is up in December, but my dad and I are talking about other options.
I have a few friends, but like most people in their mid to late 20's they're busy. I see them often enough- once or twice a month, I guess.

It's not like I love going out and getting trashed (I don't). I don't like loud clubs, so dancing isn't my cup of tea unless it's in a living room, and a partner dancing class is out, too, because strangers touching me sets off my PTSD (which sucks, because I'd love to take one if I could find a partner- if anyone has advice on this, I'd love to hear). I hate socializing with the Dog People at Dog Parks because Ichabod is scared of all other dogs and they like to "give me advice."
I do like bars and pubs that remain calm and relatively quiet. I like hiking, like any good Seattleite. I do yoga, but that's a solitary thing for me. I (for those who don't know) enjoy music of almost all kinds, though I do spend my work week around it so my social life is kind of structured around avoiding much of it- I'm open to ideas with music involved, though! I love writing and enjoy reading, though I dunno if a book club is really my kind of thing. I'm too intimidated by the local Slam Poetry meetup to actually perform, or even attend more than one every few months, which, typing out, makes me feel ridiculous.
I'm just super awkward and uncomfortable going to crowds and events and things by myself. I need tips on how to rock being alone, or how to get conversations started or how to make friends. Bear in mind...I live in Seattle. Apparently we're notoriously difficult to make friends with? I've been told I don't "at all act like I'm from Seattle" so I don't know how to take that. And I work in sales, so I'm 100% used to faking it and being personable and friendly to total strangers, yet doing that in a sincere capacity seems way more daunting.


The tl;dr version: I guess, I just need advice on how to be an adult who makes adult friends. I always fall back on dating instead of creating new friendships... But since my last few relationships have come to such unfortunate ends, I am just not interested in dating for my own emotional sanity- at least not actively or online. I know tons of you have moved to new cities and things as adults and thrived and flourished and found happiness, so, uh, help???

eta: dudes, I am sitting at home, alone, in silence, drinking a beer on a Saturday night. I am 24! I live in a major metropolis with so many young people! and art! what am I doing?!

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 Post subject: Re: Making Friends as an Adult
PostPosted: Sat Apr 09, 2016 11:13 pm 
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Hi!! this is a notoriously hard thing to do so I hope you don't feel alone at all in your struggle here.
I don't know if I have the answers, but I do have a few things that work for me. I move every 2-3 years so I have to make new adult friends pretty often. not only that but I don't drink, smoke, go to clubs, or anything loud/crowded at all which means I have exactly 0 of the normal 20-something-year old's social schedule.

again, things that have worked for me, not necessarily for everyone:

1.) go to places and talk to people - I swear to god I am not being patronizing here, go to events/lectures/readings etc and talk to people. I've met tons of folks at art openings and public lectures and film screenings just by going and talking to the person next to me or asking questions etc.
I know you said you have trouble going to things alone and I totally feel that, it helps me to think of myself as a cool mysterious badass and pretend it's not making me anxious... essentially fake it 'til you make it! Now I love going to things by myself because I have complete autonomous control over what I do before/during/after an event.
Even going to a cafe and reading something interesting/being open to conversation can make a friend! I was once speed-reading a textbook for a class I was about to teach and a stranger sat down and started talking with me about speed reading and then we got to chatting about the neighborhood and now we're actual real life friends.


2.) start a club or meetup or board game night or something! - this sounds really forking terrifying but it WORKS.
I started a zine club on a whim last year and it has been a touchstone in my social life recently, I've made a bunch of friends through doing it, many of whom are super cool and I would not have run in to them otherwise, I'm lucky in that zine club has a solid 15-20 people and 10 have already met before so it's now its own organism and I don't have to "carry" the conversation between people who don't know each other like I did the first few meetings (which is the scary part for me). but it's not always like that!! A few years ago when I lived in maine I decided to host a weekly pie+pushing daisies night and only 2 people came regularly but they are both now some of my closest friends!

3.) check the flyers at your local coffee shop and/or library and go to a bunch of weird events. if you hate 'em you can leave immediately! if you love them you have found a group of people with similar interests!

4.) become a regular somewhere. it doesn't have to be a place that involves money, maybe a library? pretty much just go some place enough that folks will recognize you, then they might talk to you, or at least won't be weirded out when you talk to them!


also re: seattle folks being hard to befriend
I've never heard that! If it adds any insight at all I'm from Philadelphia and I don't think we're notoriously easy to talk to.

good luck!

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 Post subject: Re: Making Friends as an Adult
PostPosted: Sun Apr 10, 2016 3:27 am 
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I have managed my joining different volunteer orgs, and picking up new activities. I'm with boober on the "I don't do or enjoy most typical things" front, but creating opportunities works? At least, in bigger cities, it has worked for me. I'm currently out in the middle of nowhere, and am not where how or where to start.

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 Post subject: Re: Making Friends as an Adult
PostPosted: Sun Apr 10, 2016 5:28 am 
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Try meetup.com. Look for things that interest you.

Also, there are dancing type execercise classes that dancing studios may have that aren't partner based

Also look at various classes that your city rec centers may have. Ours has all sorts from art, computer based classes, martial arts, exercise, etc. our local parks also have volunteer days for things like marking trails.

Basically, you have to expose yourself to other people and sometimes you'll find someone who clicks.

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 Post subject: Re: Making Friends as an Adult
PostPosted: Sun Apr 10, 2016 10:58 am 
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Boober, that was all really helpful advice. Though I'm a regular at a lot of places; working the same job for four years and living in the neighborhood did that accidentally. We moved to a new hood recently though, and there's both a vegan diner and a nerd themed coffee shop nearby...

And the rec center idea is a good one! Didn't even cross my mind. I'll have to find one nearby.

Thanks! If anyone has more advice, keep it coming. These are great.

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 Post subject: Re: Making Friends as an Adult
PostPosted: Sun Apr 10, 2016 11:35 am 
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I second the meetup.com suggestion.

I go to two meetups every week, and while I haven't made any "true friends," I have made plenty of meetup friends. People I'm happy to see every week, people who know something about me, people I can catch up with a bit. And it's pretty painless.

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 Post subject: Re: Making Friends as an Adult
PostPosted: Sun Apr 10, 2016 1:31 pm 
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So I looked through a ton of meetup.com stuff and found a couple things, and then I remembered REI offers a bunch of free classes! So I signed up for three of those- basics of hiking first aid for dogs, bicycle maintenance, and backpacking for women (in the hopes I'll find someone who has a similar enough schedule to partner up with). These are all three things I've been meaning to do. They're all in May, though.

Hopefully this thread is useful for other people, too; if so, I'll keep adding things as I try them out, and I hope other people do, too.

Sidenote to Boober: Also, yeah, the Seattle Freeze is a serious thing that people believe. It's frequently used as an insult, especially with the massive amounts of people moving here to work in the tech fields. Just because some people are unfriendly to you doesn't mean the city is cold and rude. We get called passive aggressive, cold, unfriendly. I don't see anything wrong with people being polite to strangers but not wanting to be overfriendly with them. I doubt any major city is very different, but we get the bad rap. It's especially annoying with my coworker from Boston who bangs on about it. Shut up. Boston culture is probably just as weird and foreign to me, but I don't give you shiitake for it. I'll admit people in the midwest and NC cities I stopped in were...very friendly, but they didn't have populations anywhere near Seattle's, which doesn't make a Seattle vs. Other Cities thing, but a small city/large town vs. major city thing.

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 Post subject: Re: Making Friends as an Adult
PostPosted: Sun Apr 10, 2016 1:42 pm 
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missdelaney wrote:

Sidenote to Boober: Also, yeah, the Seattle Freeze is a serious thing that people believe. It's frequently used as an insult, especially with the massive amounts of people moving here to work in the tech fields. Just because some people are unfriendly to you doesn't mean the city is cold and rude. We get called passive aggressive, cold, unfriendly. I don't see anything wrong with people being polite to strangers but not wanting to be overfriendly with them. I doubt any major city is very different, but we get the bad rap. It's especially annoying with my coworker from Boston who bangs on about it. Shut up. Boston culture is probably just as weird and foreign to me, but I don't give you shiitake for it. I'll admit people in the midwest and NC cities I stopped in were...very friendly, but they didn't have populations anywhere near Seattle's, which doesn't make a Seattle vs. Other Cities thing, but a small city/large town vs. major city thing.


I can totally see the small city v. large city thing. Your Boston coworker sounds profoundly irritating!! Boston has an equally bad but different reputation that i'm sure they wouldn't want to hear someone constantly complaining about!!

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 Post subject: Re: Making Friends as an Adult
PostPosted: Sun Apr 10, 2016 2:08 pm 
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Making friends as an adult can definitely be hard! I agree with other advice though, you just have to go to things and talk to people and if you like them, invite them to do other things. I basically approach adult friend making like dating, but I'm just looking for something different out of the connection. I have to psych myself up a bit in the same way, and prepare myself with general chitchat questions ahead of time in case I don't have something to say that flows naturally from the event/space/existing conversation. I hate starting with "What do you do?" because for so many people that's not one of the more interesting things about them. Also because I graduated college and moved to a new city in 2009, so lots of people in my age bracket were having trouble finding jobs at all. I like asking people what they like to do, instead, or how they spend their time, and learning about their hobbies. Or asking about what they did earlier in the day. Or if they're from here, and if not where they came from and why they moved here. I feel like those questions tend to spark more interesting conversations and I learn more about people than learning that they're a data analyst or something.

I also personally think repeated exposure works better for me than meeting someone at one thing, so things like classes are better for me than going to an art opening. Not to say single events can't work though!

I have definitely heard of the Seattle Freeze. I've never lived there or tried to make friends there personally though. But my husband lived there for two years, and has lived in lots of cities including Chicago (though he also grew up here, so maybe that one is not comparable for him), Oakland, Buenos Aires, and has spent some prolonged time in other South American cities, and said he found Seattle very challenging for making friends. He never really found his "people" and that's a big part of why he left. He regularly volunteered at a food bank, worked at a bike shop, lived in a house with a bunch of people, and generally is pretty good at making friends in new places, and said he would ask friendly acquaintances "What are you up to tonight/this weekend?" And they would respond with what they're doing, but not invite him to join them, where I feel like extending an invitation would be very common here in Chicago. He also had some weird situations where he would ask his roommates or other people about friends of theirs who he wanted to befriend, and would get these jealous responses that were very foreign to him, like people didn't want to share their friends. I'm not trying to insult your city or anything, I don't think there's anything wrong with being polite but keeping your distance, but that is just to say that there may be some cultural norms that make it more difficult than it is other places.


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 Post subject: Re: Making Friends as an Adult
PostPosted: Sun Apr 10, 2016 2:27 pm 
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Where I live the people from the area HAAATE newcomers and always will, so us newcomers have to befriend each other, and we do, but once a while I meet a local who so incredibly wonderful and I'm thrilled to call a friend.

I don't have very good advice. I am typically antisocial with a job that require SO MUCH sociability, so I'm constantly exhausted, but do meet the odd friend in my work life. I joined a book club but I've missed the first two due to basically made-up and/or avoidable excuses AKA anxiety.

It's tough!

ETA I have a tiny insight. I invite people for dinner. I am always scared shiitake-less and obsess over the menu, conversation, whatever...but luring people into my lair has resulted in some pretty good friends. :)


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 Post subject: Re: Making Friends as an Adult
PostPosted: Sun Apr 10, 2016 2:33 pm 
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missdelaney--if it is any comfort you are not the only one in your awesome city missing out on social opportunities. People these days are really struggling with looking at anyone at all unless they've posted a selfie on instagram and then it's just "swipe on to the next." Okay, that wasn't comforting was it?

Um, MeetUp.com! Yeah! Great idea! (Seriously)


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 Post subject: Re: Making Friends as an Adult
PostPosted: Sun Apr 10, 2016 3:55 pm 
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Most of my friends that I've made over the last 5 years or so have come from riding or racing bikes. Since you are a hiker, I wonder if there are any local hiking groups or meetups that you might like to be a part of? I have found that having a common interest is really helpful, since it's generally pretty easy to talk about, say, what hiking boots you like or what your favorite routes are (I'm guessing here - I know dick about hiking) even with relative strangers. I imagine hiking might be similar to cycling in that regard.

On that note, if you think you might be interested, I know some ladies in the Seattle bike scene, and I'd be happy to ask them if there are some social type events they'd recommend.

Other than that, I think you just have to push yourself out of your comfort zone a bit. You might find that people who are older or squarer than you are actually pretty awesome. My partner and I made friends with our next door neighbors, who are about 10 years older than us, have teenage kids, go to church... and are completely awesome. Relatedly, the website nextdoor.com can be good for finding out about community/neighborhood based activities. There's a group in my neighborhood that does weekly game nights at a local seniors center, and I haven't been able to make it yet, but it looks like a cool event.

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 Post subject: Re: Making Friends as an Adult
PostPosted: Sun Apr 10, 2016 6:02 pm 
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Most of my adult friends have come from work but my current job has been a bust for that. It's hard. I have also made friends on my tri team but the one who was kind of the social glue moved to MN so...

REI classes are good. Presumably you have at least one thing in common with anyone there. Town Hall frequently has authors giving talks/readings. If you're better than I am at strinking up comversations with strangers that might be a place to cross paths with people who share a common interest. I have seem Margaret Atwood, Jonathan Safran Foer and a couple of other authors speak there and it's usually pretty cheap.

Seconding the suggestion to be open to friends not in your age group. One of my dearest friends is 9 years younger than me but we have lots in common. We were maybe 28 and 37 when we met which sounds like completely different stages in life but it never really seemed that way.

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 Post subject: Re: Making Friends as an Adult
PostPosted: Sun Apr 10, 2016 6:30 pm 
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I don't think Town Hall would be great for me to meet people, but it's a great place. I think most talks are indeed very cheap, and there's always something interesting there.

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 Post subject: Re: Making Friends as an Adult
PostPosted: Sun Apr 10, 2016 9:08 pm 
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Town Hall is a great idea! Thank you! I've been meaning to go to more author talks and panels and things like that. Seattle U hosts a ton of really interesting ones, and so does UW. Brilliant.

Oh, I'm not at all closed to people outside my age! When I say my coworkers are older than me, I'm talking I'm 24 and they're 55+. And don't get me wrong- I love them all to pieces and we have great relationships. But they're different than what I'm looking for. Like, I wouldn't call them up to go grab a beer on a Sunday afternoon or hang out at the beach, but I would definitely go to a tea shop or an art thing or the symphony. They prefer events as opposed to casual when it comes to going out.
I'm mostly talking people in their 20s-30s who aren't settled into their home/married life. You know, people who want to go out and bang around town or whatever. I'm having a hard time explaining what I mean.

These are all still good ideas! And it's getting me thinking about more.

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 Post subject: Re: Making Friends as an Adult
PostPosted: Mon Apr 11, 2016 1:44 am 
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Making friends is hard! As someone who uprooted my life a couple days after my 26th Birthday, and moved alone to another COUNTRY, I totally get it.

Initially, I was lucky enough to have a couple local friends who I'd met when they'd been traveling in the states. I hung out with them, and met their friends and roommates. I also did a Masters degree right after arriving, which introduced to lots more people at the University.

Other places I've made friends? I met my best friend at work. I've become friends with a lot of the people who work at, and workout at, my gym, and when I adopted a dog, I was invited to join a whatsapp group of dogowners in the neighborhood, many of whom have become my closest friends. One is my workout buddy, another is getting married this week (she and her husband to be met while out walking their dogs) and I'm helping organize the flashmob she's doing as a surprise for her husband after the vows. Etc etc...

Every day is a potential friend making opportunity I've found, and this is coming from a total introvert.

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 Post subject: Re: Making Friends as an Adult
PostPosted: Mon Apr 11, 2016 3:06 am 
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I heard of this app recently - not sure if it's active in your city? http://heyvina.com/

My partner recently moved halfway across England to come live with me and he's experiencing this issue too! There has been some cool stuff on meetup.com, and scouring Twitter for various social groups and wotnot can be helpful.

I started a vegan potluck in my own city because there wasn't one - it was great! I recently started a cross-stitch/embroidery meetup too and have met a couple of lovely new folks (still building up the attendance for that one!)

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 Post subject: Re: Making Friends as an Adult
PostPosted: Mon Apr 11, 2016 3:11 am 
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Like Vijita I invite people over for dinner (or coffee and cake) very very quickly. It really helps move from the realm of "person I sometimes talk to at work / events / xxx club" to "potential friend I hang out with".

I would add, if you meet new people, even if you don't really click with them, keep going to the social events they invite you to. I find it much easier to befriend friends of friends (or in this case, acquaintances) than total strangers.


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 Post subject: Re: Making Friends as an Adult
PostPosted: Mon Apr 11, 2016 6:11 am 
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I had a long think about the best adult friends I've had and they were all met under totally bizarre synchronic moments. I guess it really is true that all you have to do is engage in life. I hope you find some great buddies soon!


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