You can thank a reader who took my survey for this post because someone asked if I’d do a post about friendships as an adult and I realized it was such a rich topic and something I actually think about a lot. There are so many layers and situations to friendships but I’ll try not to write a book.
Having moved to DC knowing literally no one in my late 20s, I had to start from scratch with friends. Luckily in our high tech world, it’s easy to keep in touch with friends around the world via text, FaceTime, social media, blogs, emails, and heck even hop on a plane for a quick trip!
Since moving to DC I’ve been able to keep in touch with my friends enough. Obviously I’d rather see them all in person a lot more often, but that’s just not possible. I do go to Kansas City where I have a hub of good friends, so I do get to see them several times a year. Those friends are mostly from college and from my time working at Hallmark Cards.
When I moved to DC that was about the time that most of those friends started having kids, so that initial shock to their lives where they don’t see people for a while didn’t really affect our friendship because I just literally didn’t live there. On the east coast, a lot of people have kids later in life than the majority of people in the Midwest so I’m just now going through the pregnancies with a lot of my friends here.
Back to making friends when I moved here six years ago. I literally had two acquaintances when I moved here. And I only knew that because you could filter your connections on Facebook and LinkedIn by state. So I reached out to those people, told them I was moving here, and asked if they’d meet me for lunch. One of them has become a friend that I try to see a few times a year. Even living here it’s hard to see people regularly.
So how did I meet people in DC? I reached out on twitter. Seriously. I searched for bloggers in DC and found a few people that I just started tweeting with and met up with them when I moved here. Then I started going to some blogger events, and the rest is history. It took a lot of effort on my part. I had to do the initiating.
Since I was working for myself, from home, and we didn’t live in DC proper the first year we lived here (we lived in the DC suburbs of Virginia). It was a great place for families but not so much for a young couple new to the area who don’t want kids. After a year we moved into DC proper and it became much easier for me to make new friends and see people more often.
I must say that to make friends as an adult, you really have to put yourself out there. So I did. It can be painful, and awkward, but you just have to suck it up and do it. Luckily DC is a very transient city — a lot of people move here as adults. So there are a lot of people who are new and are looking to make friends. And maybe surprisingly to some, there are so many nice friendly people in DC. Lots of ambitious, driven, smart people too, but most of them are also really nice and welcoming.
So by putting myself out there, I made some new friends. It took a few years, but now I have a great group of good friends that I know I’ll be friends with for life.
It’s still hard to nurture friendships, especially in DC, especially without having something like kids to link you together with people for things like soccer games or baby classes, so you really have to try to hang out. DC is just so big, and traffic is always a thing. Most of my friends don’t live near me, so we have to coordinate when we are going to see each other.
I think it’s an age thing and a regional thing, but when I moved to DC I was always asking people to hang out, get dinner, etc. and they were like, how about 5 weeks from now. It floored me. You have to literally schedule things with people WEEKS in advance. When I lived in Kansas City I would just text my friends and be like dinner at 6? And boom, we were hanging out.
I definitely miss having those old friends around. I miss the ease of hanging out last minute. But at the same time love meeting new people and hearing new stories and living in a city with so many things going on.
At my age, when people have kids, it usually affects friendships in some way. I don’t want kids, so it’s hard to relate sometimes. That is its own post in itself, but I do fear losing some of my good friends when they become moms. Not losing them entirely, but just knowing that I will hang out with them even less often than I already do. Of course, I’m happy and excited for them but things just change I have to deal with it.
I haven’t even touched on all my online friends around the world. I’ve met a lot of what I consider my “blogger friends” at conferences or events. But because we so intimately understand what each other do for a living, it’s just so easy to relate and become friends with other bloggers. I wish we all kept in touch more, but I know what they are up to from their blogs, but every time we do get to hang out in person it’s always a blast.
So while I feel like I have tons of friends, at the same time I sometimes feel like I live so far away from my really close ones. Most weekends you can find me at home, with my husband and Hemingway. Working, working out, and reading. I wish I hung out with people more on the weekends, and maybe that is where I need to improve on my friendships.
I definitely feel like I need to be more thoughtful in my friendships. That was one of my resolutions this year was to be more thoughtful with the people I love. Since my husband and I don’t plan to have kids, my friends are even that much more important to me. I know I need to do a better job at initiating seeing them and keeping in touch with them. Even if it’s just a quick phone call, a card in the mail, or happy hour.
How about you, have you had to make new friends as an adult? Has it been easy? Hard? Do you have friends spread out all over the world?
This photo shoot was done with my friend Sara! You can shop our looks here:
Meg — & Other Stories Dress (another white dress option, striped dress option) / Zady Black Coat / & Other Stories Earrings / Sunglasses / Vasic Bag (similar black bucket bag) / Faux Leather Leggings / Alexander Wang Heels
Photos by Laura Metzler