Making Friends Is Like Dating

If you don’t believe me on this one, then you must be able to make friends easily and everywhere you go.

Just like dating, making friends is harder to do as you get older. I also find it’s harder to keep the ones you already have.  People get married, move away and have kids. We’re not on the same page anymore. Or the same schedule.  All of a sudden, last-minute get togethers become scarce and you have to plan weeks or even months in advance when you can all meet.

Quality vs. Quantity

Unfortunately along the way, and this probably happens to everyone at least one point in your life, your circle either gets smaller or people within the circle get swapped for others.  As of right now, I don’t have one specific circle of friends who I grew up with or went to school with. I have different groups of friends from different parts of my life. Collectively, this group isn’t very big. While in high school, somewhat superficial me, initially thought quantity of friends preceded the quality, I eventually came to my senses in my later high school years to realize it was the other way around. In my twenties, the quality became even more apparent as I slowly began to lose touch with most of my high school friends.  Let me make one thing clear though. It wasn’t that my high school friends were of great quality, it was more that they were of a DIFFERENT quality.  The more I thought about it, the more I realized we had little in common, except that some of us grew up together, knew the same people and happened to have several classes together.

My Half-Ass Attempts to Make New Friends in University

It really wasn’t until university that I met people I could better relate to and had more in common with.  These are the friends, along with a couple of childhood friends are the ones who I can still have a decent conversation with, no matter how much time has passed.  I have on several occasions tried to rekindle the friendship with a few from my past, only to find it wasn’t the same as before. The conversations didn’t seem to flow like they used to.   Like any relationship, friendship is a two-way street, or at least it should be. At times, it can seem like a one way or it can eventually reach a dead-end.

I am a shy and socially awkward person who doesn’t make friends easily. Unless I click with them right away, it can sometimes take forever to feel comfortable around them. I am that person who refuses to go to a party alone, where I only know the hostess.  The random person seated at the table with all the other random people.

The one great thing about university is that you can wipe the slate clean and are given a chance to reinvent yourself. I figured university would be my golden ticket to invent a more sociable version of myself.  I had joined social groups at several points in my university career with hopes of being able to make friends outside of my program and first year residence.  I failed. Horribly. It seemed everyone knew someone, if not everyone at each of these things. When everyone knows everyone and you know no one, well, it’s a socially awkward person’s worse nightmare come true.  I didn’t know if I should join in a conversation, how to start a conversation or wait for someone to come to me.   Needless to say, my commitment to these social groups was  very short-term.

A Friendship Needs Sparks

Just because I am socially awkward and seem to get slight panic attacks in social situations, doesn’t mean I don’t want to make new friends.

Even if I wanted to, how would I go about doing that as an adult? I know there are social meet ups and alumni events, but even at those events, I feel I would need a wing man/woman by my side.  They have speed dating. Why don’t they have speed friend making?

Let’s say you have a random conversation with someone at the gym or bookstore. These random conversations lead up to more frequent and even interesting conversations. You start to think to yourself; hey this person is very cool. I could totally see myself hanging out with him/her. You ask them to go for coffee and start hanging out with them more. First it’s only one on one. Then you start introducing them to your friends.  You call this person your friend.  This person then becomes friends with your friends as well.  This is when it all works out.

However, what if it doesn’t work out? What if you realize in  the”getting to know each other/seeing if you could be friends” phase becomes awkward for one? How do you break it off? Do you make excuses every time they call/msg you or don’t bother responding at all? Would you have the guts to meet them in person to break it off? Breaking up with someone you are dating is hard enough, but I think breaking up with someone you are friends with or thought you could be friends with is even harder. What exactly do you say? I don’t think there is a spark between us, so we should just stop being friends???! Just like  sparks in a relationship, there also has to be sparks in a friendship.

Call me crazy or over analytical, but these are the thoughts I have when I think about making new friends. :P

Do you feel the same way I feel when making new friends? Or does it come naturally to you?