In the 250 Words series, the RU Student Life writers are posed a question, and in 250 words they each offer their insights.
Question 16: What’s it like making and sustaining friendships as you grow up?
Jessica: Make Time to Check-In
The older I get, the more I realize how much effort is required to grow and sustain friendships. It seems spontaneous hang outs are far in-between, replaced with ‘let-me-check-my-calendar-first’ hangouts instead. Responsibilities have a way of overriding our lives as we age. Between school, work, family, relationships, personal alone time, errands, and career building, it’s no wonder friendship can sometimes take a back burner.
While old friends are usually understanding, it can be hard to take a new friendship from ground to blast off even if you have a big friend crush on them. My best friend-dating advice is to make it a conscious effort to remember what’s going on in their lives by following up. For instance, you might not have time between your two hectic schedules to hang out, but sending them a text wish them luck on their interview or following up on their Tinder date shows them that you interested about in this budding friendship.
Another great way to date new friends is to invite them to join you to events you think they might also be interested in. I know I often feel insecure being the inviter, but I try to remind myself that they might be in the same boat. Who knows? Maybe they feel insecure inviting me and secretly hope I invite them. At the end of the day, most people are open to making new friends, despite Drake’s insistence on “No New Friends.”
Sunita: Different Interests, Different People
When I was younger I would make friends by bonding over similar interests. When I met my best friend at 11 years old, we were talking about coffee so naturally I said something about Lorelai Gilmore. He admitted he’s a huge Gilmore Girls fan and we’ve been inseparable ever since. In university, I make friends in similar ways because I’m naturally drawn to people that share my passions, so when I hang out with my ‘TV friends’ we’re usually binge-watching shows together or going to Trivia nights, and when I hang out with people that share my love for the same bands we’re usually going to a concert together.
In university, however, I’m also constantly meeting people that are different to me and so I also make an effort to engage with people that don’t share the same interests as me. I think it’s important to have friends that can also broaden your worldview and teach you new things, but of course it’s always a little difficult getting over the initial awkward stages. Sometimes I’m not being sure whether it’s ok to text them or to open up about my interests to them, but I just tell myself that they’re probably feeling the same way about me and that makes it easier for me to reach out and make an effort. If I see an event they’re going to on Facebook, I usually bring it up to them when I talk to them which shows I care about their interests, and they often invite me even if it’s not something I would ever think of going to. But sometimes just saying yes, opening yourself up to people that are different from you and indulging in interests that are different from your own can be surprisingly eye-opening and rewarding, and it might just lead you to your new best friend.
Stef: Are we Facebook Friends Yet?
Can I add her on Facebook yet? Is it cool if I follow him on Instagram? What if I Snapchat her a funny video of my dog? When I make new friends as an adult these are the questions I ask myself. At times it feels like I’m trying to date this new person but all I want to do is be their friend. It was a lot easier when I was 5-years-old and all I had to do was hide with someone during a game of tag. When you’re 20, tag isn’t as socially acceptable as it was back then and frankly I don’t have the energy to chase someone around.
When I’m trying to make a new friend I usually suggest coffee, food or wine. It really helps when the latter is involved because it strips away a layer of seriousness that sometimes gets in the way of getting close with someone else. But I’m aware how scary that sounds, so I really try to throw a few other options in the mix. A good go-to is studying together because there are few students I know who don’t have a project or essay to work on. Sometimes these interactions are really awkward but other times you hit it off and make a new friend.
The best feeling is when you stop dating your new friend and the two of you become so close that you’re an extension of each other’s families.
Do you find it harder or easier to make friends as you get older? Let us know @RUStudentLife.