Making New Friends In Your 20s Can Be A Struggle & Here's Why
The friendship struggle is so real. Being 20-something means that a lot of things are changing in your life. You're living in a different city, listening to different music, and your bucket list has honestly only gotten bigger. From the days of playdates and wandering around the neighborhood sidewalks on your scooter, a lot has happened. And you've made and lost a lot of new friends even since middle school. When it comes to making new friends in your 20s, it's honestly just as tough. Everyone is sort of doing their own thing, and as an adult (Yuck), you have to be the one to break the ice in the pursuit of new besties.
I don't think there's a guide out there on how to make new friends, but if there were, I'd want it to be written by a second grader who doesn't know that social anxiety exists. Seriously, when it comes to landing new ladies in your life, it can be more complicated than navigating new relationships. Or at least, that's what some of us tell ourselves.
You may sometimes wish you could just jet set to your hometown where everyone already knows your name (Is that a good thing or bad thing?). But, when the friendship fireworks start flying, you're once again left with someone you're seriously lucky to have in your life. These seven reasons explain that struggle, in case you couldn't quite put it into words.
1. Friend Groups Have Been Established
It's like freshmen year of college when you decided to transfer, and realized that everyone was already so content with their roommates. For a little while, you once again may feel like you don't fit in, and are clearly the new kid on the block. Cue Miley Cyrus's "Party in the U.S.A." because you're wearing sneakers in a room of stilettos and just hoping that the DJ plays your favorite song.
Friend groups get established multiple times throughout life, and if you're not there for that initial moment, you're instantly the outsider (or so it seems.) When you're 20-something this feels particularly hard because it's not like kindergarten where you can bond over crayons. You have to scope out the people who have the same passions as you, and hope that they need your company just the same. Some people are seriously set on "no new friends."
2. You Really Want To Make A Good Impression
First impressions are always key. It's the moment that your new friends will remember forever. Think about any time you and your crew have gotten nostalgic. At one point or another, everyone recalls when they first met and what they were really thinking at the time. No pressure, though, right?
Being 20-something and making new friends is like going in for an interview for your dream job. You want to do amazing, and leave the crowd in total awe -- playing up your strengths and telling relatable stories along the way. Maybe you'll overthink your outfit a bit, or do some stalking on social media ahead of time. Always coming prepared with conversation topics seems lame, but you want to crush that first impression like a boss.
3. If It's Bae's Friends, Then There's Some Added Pressure
If you're meeting and bonding with your bae's friends then there's some serious added pressure. They've likely known your significant other for so much longer, and are a valuable part of his or her life just like you. Getting along is crucial, and even if you don't love this new crew, you have to be able to tolerate them for the sake of the person you love.
On the bright side, you won't be the only one trying to make a good first impression in this scenario. The friend group you're facing will, of course, have home-field advantage. But, it's there job to be on their best behavior just the same. After all, your significant other has all the feels for you, so the street goes both ways.
4. You Likely Miss Your Old Friends
When you're trying to find new friends in your 20s, you'll likely have the moments when you miss your old ones. Maybe you all moved to different cities after college, or just find yourselves separated for other reasons. If we could have all of our favorite people in one room for the rest of our life, that would be seriously ideal. But, unfortunately that's not always the case.
Luckily, your day ones are never too far away. You can plan weekend trips together where you meet somewhere in the middle of your two towns, or just have a solid heart-to-heart over text. No matter where you go in life, or how many new friends you make along the way, there are always those couple of people who will be there for you forever.
5. Nobody Will Understand Some Of Your Stories
Remember that time growing up when you were playing capture the flag at camp? Well, some stories are just "had to be there" moments. And odds are, you won't be able to share a lot of your really specific ones and get the true reaction you were looking for.
At home, your best friends would've been rolling on the floor laughing over all of those memories you have from being a kid. Even your college friends would've understood why you now steer clear of tacos, or the reason why you call the city you studied abroad in "home."
Sure, it won't always be this way. As your new friends get to know you better, they'll start to figure out all the layers of your life and personality, and why you're so passionate about some of your stories. The best part is, you'll be making so many new ones with this social circle, that you'll cherish for a lifetime.
6. You Don't Have The Same Social Spaces
The hardest part of making friends as a 20-something is finding the right spaces. Growing up, you always had a social life kind of built into your regular routine. Maybe you played sports as a kid, or just befriended the people who sat next to you in class. The opportunities to meet people and turn them into your squad were endless.
As an adult, these places aren't so easy to find. You sort of have to create them yourself. On one hand, it's a better situation because you get to channel the crowds that have the same passions as you. But, on the other, it's totally up to you to take control of your personal life and how adventurous it will be.
Joining adult league sports teams (or going to the games as a tried and true fan), or going out for happy hour with your coworkers before the weekend can be a great way to start. Get involved, and your social spaces will grow just the same.
7. You Have To Put Yourself Out There
Just like when you're following your dreams, or getting on stage to perform a show -- making new friends when you're 20-something is all about putting yourself out there. Now that you're more grown up, you know who you are as a person, and other people have that same sense of self, too. Finding new friends can be intimidating because not everyone is going to have good chemistry with you. But, you have to be honest with yourself and them if it's ever really going to work.
The initial moment is the hardest. It takes a lot of courage, just like walking up to a stranger you think is cute in a crowded place. Being 20-something means that it's all on you to initiate new friendships, but you just might find your next soul sister. So, give it everything you got just the same.