With every life change the past four years...
...I have noticed a common theme: it is SO much harder to make friends as an adult. When I was a child in school or even in college, making friends seemed so much easier. I think it is because I was around the same group of people with common interests each day.
The same rules don't apply when you are an adult. Suddenly, people have more responsibilities than just developing a social life. They actually have to WORK in the office rather than spend time socializing. And honestly, depending on your work culture, socializing may not be highly encouraged. The office often doesn't bring like-minded people together like education does. This is great for career success, but it's not always great for making friends.
So what are the rules for making friends as an adult? It's difficult, but not impossible.
Seek Out Others with Common Interests
A sense of community won't come to you automatically like it did as a child. You have to go to it. Join a church, a club, Junior League, whatever! Just find a group with similar interests as you.
Use Social Media to Your Advantage
One friend-making tool I have now I didn't have before? Social media! Social media connects you with people all over the world. Often, you can connect with people in your area to meet up with. For example, I am a member of a Facebook group called Lives of Doctor Wives. It is a group of women from all points in the journey who have great advice for newbies like me. I met my mentor on this group and even met another girl in my area!
Broaden Your Scope of Friendship
When I was growing up, my friends consisted mainly of people who were my age. Nowadays, in the adult world, age doesn't mean as much. Don't limit your scope of friendship only to people at your stage of life. When I visit my parents in Houston, I go out all the time with my mother's friends. Those ladies are a riot! And they are so encouraging to me. In my previous office, I had friends who were mothers and friends who had grown children. They were at different life stages than me, but we were still friends.
Get Over Being Uncomfortable
Now I'm not going to lie. In a new city, I am currently using my own advice to make friends. This last one is the hardest for me. I HATE feeling awkward in social situations. But I figure, how am I ever going to make friends if I don't try? The worst thing which could happen is these people reject me, and I'm right back where I started.
Last week, the residents had a dinner I thought spouses would be able to attend. Turns out, spouses were not invited so my evening plans were ruined. Rather than pout at home, I decided to call one of the other wives I had met a few days before to see if she wanted to hang out. She did, so I got to develop our friendship rather than be sad. Much more preferable!