The Friend Zone: Making Friends While Adulting
A study released in 2018 by the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships calculated that it takes spending approximately 50 hours with someone before you consider them a casual friend, 90 hours before you become real friends, and give or take 200 hours to become close friends.
Clearly, it can be challenging to forge deep, honest relationships with people. Especially after college, right? In the world of Instagram relationships and texting, relationships can birth and be maintained, but can they endure?
Casual friend-like situationships are just easier. Unless you have work friends or are hyper-connected through a faith-based organization or professional group, many of us end up going unfulfilled in the friendship department. It sounds sad, I know. But I see it time and time again among adults. Trust me, that’s not the way we were built to live.
Read this aloud: I was made for community!
So is it really hard to make and maintain friends? That all depends on who you ask. I queried my Instagram fam and here are the common responses:
“Not interested in investing in someone new “
“There are various cultural differences that make it hard to connect”
“No problems here. I can make friends with a wall” (shout out to the extroverts!)
“I work too much to meet new people”
“I’m too lazy/never have time to go places”
While most of these responses offer up strong arguments, they can’t, and shouldn’t, stop you from stepping out and making new friends.
And by friends, I mean people that are trustworthy, kind, honest, transparent, loving and beneficial to you. Note that you should reciprocate these qualities, as well. These people are very different from associates or people that you are connected with by convenient association.
Friend-ometer: Can you call them for no reason or hang out outside of your normal meeting place?
Getting Up Close + Personal
I personally went through a phase a couple of years ago when many of my close friends had moved away, dating relationships had changed, and I felt alone. I literally wrote down what I wanted in a friend, made a list of people that I thought would be cool to chill with, and I prayed about it! God gave me the great idea of inviting a variety of people to my birthday party to get to know them. Today, some of my best and most integral relationships birthed from that season!
7 Ways to Intentionally Make New Friends
Decide that you want to actually invest in relationships. This sounds simple, but without committing to the process, you could easily give up
Dig up past hurts and uproot things inside of you that you don’t want to attract in new friends.
Determine what you’re interested in. Book clubs, workout classes, foreign language groups, and volunteer organizations are all amazing places to start. MeetUp.com is also a resourceful site with thousands of groups made for people to meet other people without the added stress. If you’re local to Orlando, try The Dinner Party Project!
Discover your enneagram! Like most millennials, I’m obsessed with personality tests. According to Wikipedia (yep, Wikipedia!), an enneagram is a model of the human psyche, which is principally understood and taught as a typology of nine interconnected personality tests. Basically, take the test and discover your number. I promise you’ll learn so much about yourself and how you interact with people on an everyday basis. P.S. I’m a 3 and a close 4.
Don’t waste anyone’s time. It takes serious effort to start new friendships - so actually text them back, commit to the hangout, and be open.
Do commit to being open and realistic. Some relationships will flow, and others might just be a one-time weird coffee date. Don’t put so much pressure on new friendships.
Dedicate time to make a list of groups to visit so that you can meet someone new this month!
I’d love to know how you make and maintain friends! Comment below with advice and your enneagram number.