Making friends was so much easier when I was younger.
My day to day life presented me with lots of fun, like-minded people. I had my flatmates, course mates, friends from the student radio station and work mates. And a few other randoms along the way, too!
As I’ve got older, I find that I don’t really make new friends. I’m rarely exposed to what I would dub as ‘friendship making situations’ anymore.
As a result, my friendship circle has shrunk. Inevitable, I guess. When you move on from the shared experiences and circumstances that brought you and your mates together in the first place, only the true friendships shine through. And all those other people who once played a big part in your life disappear and become relegated to a mere Facebook connection.
It’s not necessarily a bad thing. Quality over quantity and all that. But when you’re a single 30-something – sometimes you just need people around you. They don’t have to be a lifelong bestie – they just need to be your friend for the here and now. And whatever else happens is a bonus.
The truth is, I’ve had many a weekend where I’ve literally had nobody to do anything with. And I can feel very lonely at times. Most of my friends are couples, and many are settling down and having children. This means that arranging nights out, a brunch date with the girls or a shopping trip can take weeks or even months. Or worse still, a friend can cancel at the last minute, unaware that the event we had planned was my social lifeline for that week.
So what’s a girl to do?
Download an app, of course!
When I announced to a few of my long-standing Geordie pals that I had downloaded an app to make new friends, they looked a bit puzzled. “I’m not trying to replace you,” I assured them. “I’m just looking to widen my social circle to give me more options.”
This brings me onto Meetup. It’s pitched as an app that enables you to do more of what you love with people in your local community. There’s a group for every kind of interest you can imagine – food and drink, theatre, travel, personal development, historical walks, languages, wedding planners, gamers and geeks…the list goes on.
What’s great is that there is always something going on and all you have to do is tap your phone to RSVP. Perfect for making spontaneous plans.
I joined the North East Young Professionals group and attended my first event back in June – a night out at As You Like It in Jesmond. I almost didn’t go. Nerves got the better of me. But my mum does what she always does best, and persuaded me to go. If it didn’t work out, it was just a short Metro ride home, after all…
In the end, I went along and…I had a great night! Everyone was so friendly and welcoming. I was added into a WhatsApp group with 30+ members by a girl I met that evening, where we organise some events ‘off app’. Everything from picnics, cinema trips and bowling to bar crawls and salsa classes.
Most of the people I’ve met through the app have relocated to Newcastle from countries all over the world. It’s really fascinating hearing their personal stories and finding out more about their different cultures. And although I’ve lived here in Newcastle since I was 18, I’ve also got my own stories to share.
Break the routine
Meetup has been a revelation for me. I’ve befriended folk I would never have crossed paths with in my day to day life. A really great bunch of interesting, funny, easy-going and aspirational people.
And I’ve come to realise that’s the key to making new friends as an adult – breaking from your usual routine, trying something new and putting yourself out there. It’s scary, but like most things in life – it’s worth taking the chance and just going for it!
At this point you might be wondering about the image I’ve chosen for this post. I didn’t think my new friends would want their faces all over my blog, so I settled for one of me on my own, clutching a balloon – a symbolic throwback to my younger, carefree years, when making friends was definitely a breeze!
How do you make new friends as an adult? I’d love to hear your ideas below…
Until next time,