Last month I made a shocking discovery.. I am 34 years old and I don’t have any deep connections or friends that I felt comfortable enough to call and just say “hey girl, want to come over eat snacks, drink wine and watch trash tv?” I wrote extensively about my experiences making friends as an adult in my last blog post The Friendship Diaries that post was one of the most vulnerable post I’d ever written and the response was HUGE!
I wasn’t alone.. I wasn’t the only person wondering
“How to make friends in your 30’s?”
A lot of women my age have the same issues with making friends.
We work, we have kids, we have significant others etc but I think we all have an intrinsic need to have friends and experiences with people.
I’m a very compartmentalized person. I felt “hey my family life is great, my relationship is amazing.. the only thing I’m missing is deep friends!”
After I wrote my blog post I actually made steps to not only make new friends but be a better friend to the friends I have.
Those steps included texting, phone calls and making “friend dates”
You see I was very guiltily of neglecting friendships that had been there always.
I actually talked to my therapist (My Therapist looks like Pete Davidson and Justin Long had a baby) and I explained.
“I want deep friendships but I only know how to be “the good time girl” I don’t know how to open up to people and I don’t know why that is. I want to so bad. I want to call and talk to people and just blab off about my day but I can’t.. I can do it online all day long but when it comes to actually talking and letting people know things about me it’s hard… why is that”
My therapist says “often times victims of childhood trauma and abuse don’t open up because they don’t trust. When you’re an abuse victim you just assume everyone is going to hurt you because those closest to you did. Your child brain wired itself to believe.. “people hurt you when you love them” so you make walls. If you want friends you can’t have walls. You have to learn to love your friends. You’re obviously capable of having a loving, healthy relationship but that’s because you work at it. You have to do the same thing with friends. People have good friendships because they work at it. They put effort in to hanging out, talking. You just learned that you are worthy of love, now you’re realizing you’re worthy of friendships.. I’m excited to see where this goes. You have to put yourself out there and put effort into your friendships and you can’t put good energy in to negative relationships.. that’s a waste of time and energy.”
He was right!
Friendships are relationships, they require effort on both sides
After I wrote The Friendship Diaries I decided to take steps and make real connections OFFLINE.
I think social media gives us this false sense of connection.
We think “❤️” and “like” replaces “Hello, I’m thinking of you” or “hello I’m praying for you” and it doesn’t.
I was really longing for genuine connections beyond social media.
So I put effort into creating friendships offline.
I started texting people who I spoke with online and really wanted to know. I also started to text those people who told me
“I’m lonely too Shay, I would to have a friend”
I put little “🦄” by everyone I’m texting now and it’s nice to see little unicorns popping up saying “good morning”
Whenever someone crosses my mind.. I text them and let them know.
It has really been amazing what doors connecting offline has opened.
People I’ve known for years have become more open with me and I’ve been more open with them.
I’m still learning but it’s fun to just talk to people.
I talked on the phone with one of my dear friends Zahara for about 30 minutes
And it was so nice to just talk and interact with someone on the phone.
I honestly hadn’t talked on the phone like that in years. It felt good.
Zahara was the first person to accept my “wine, snacks and trash tv” invitation.
I’ve honestly had so many positive experiences since opening up about my struggles with friends.
My client Elisa Aka “Coffee with mom” reached out on drive home from work and we talked about 1.5 and half and became family 🤣
we realized we had so much in common. We couldn’t stop talking. It was so nice to just connect and find commonalities offline.
I became more aware of the friendships that lasted so long they were family. I think with those friendships we forget to water them because we assume they are always there.. that’s not fair.
I reached out and set up dates and made a promise to try to see everyone at least once a month for dinner or wine or something.
I put effort into making time to see friends I had seen because of being so busy.
I realized you have to make time.
Even if it’s just to make a silly YouTube video tasting .99 cent store wine🤣 spending that precious time matters.
I’ve come to the realization that
People “Know me” but they don’t know anything about me.
I have a lot of surface level friendships.
I’ve been friends with some people for years and they probably can’t remember a time I’ve genuinely opened up about any problems, or my past or anything.
That’s my doing.. so I’ve really started a process of undoing that.
Sometimes it’s easier said than done because I feel like I share so much online I don’t have to open up.. but then I have to get over myself “no one is reading everything I post and knowing what it means.. unless I tell them the whole story”
I’ve dubbed this summer my “summer of friendship”
I’m taking the time to pour into my friendships.
Create new friendships and tear down walls that have kept me from making friends.
I still wrestle with a lot of anxiety that stops me making that first move but it’s not that scary texting people anymore!
In fact I get happy now that my phone actually rings🤣
It’s really rewarding to have conversations offline and to be building these new friendships.
I’ve connected deeper with my blogging buddies and even have plans to meet some in the future!
“Simply Katricia” is literally my twin on the east coast!
We started texting offline and I’m ready to visit New York once year to just recap life with Katricia.. I would have never known how amazing she is if we didn’t connect offline.
I swear there’s a whole world out there I didn’t even know about 🤣 I love being online but honestly I’m starting to be happier offline texting and calling my friends.
We need to pretend it’s 1990 again! Seriously…
I know, I know… it’s so easy to slide in the DM’s and just leave a message.. that’s great but taking a minute to actual call a person, That mean a lot to a person.
That phone call could change their day.
So many people are just missing human interaction. We’ve taken our own humanity away essentially and replaced it with double tapping and heart eyed emoji.
We know how to visually express love and friendship but we are getting further and further removed from actual feelings and intimacy,
We’ve swiped ourselves emotionless and we’ve “friended” ourselves to death.. we don’t value human life because we simply don’t connect to it on a human level anymore.
There is hope.. You have the power to be the friend you want to be and to establish deeper friendships.
Honestly if I can make new friendships, reconnect old friendships and learn to be a better friend anyone can.
I had to realize maybe I didn’t have friends because I didn’t know how to be a good friend 🤷🏾♀️
You have to face your problems head on and be willing to fix them.
I’m working on my flaws and I feel like my friendships are progressing positively each day.
My last entry The Friendship Diaries was written tearfully and with a broken heart this chapter is optimistic and hopeful.
Friendships are important at any age and can be started at anytime.
Just because you don’t have a squad you grew up with in middle school, high school.. daycare whatever that doesn’t mean you can’t form one now that you’re a grown up🤘🏾
It’s actually more fun to bond with people you like based on commonalities not just the fact you’ve known them a million years.
There’s always room for improvement and always room for new healthy friendships.
I’m exited to see what new chapters await for me🤗
Have you made any steps to make friends? How is your friend life going? Let’s chat in the comments