Making friends as an adult sucks. There’s a reason the gangs on TV are already friends when the show starts – Friends, Marry Me, My Boys, Cougartown, Cheers, etc. (with the requisite “new guy” that can have things explained to the audience through them that they would otherwise have no reason to say out loud ((with the exception of the new documentary format shows))).
The older you get, the more difficult it becomes. For most of our lives growing up, even through college, the main determining factor is closeness. If you live next door/go to my class/live in my dorm, odds are that will create the necessary bond.
After college, though, it becomes much more difficult, particularly grad school when everyone you know moves back to their home state.
Social media has helped/hurt this. It’s easier to keep in contact with friends, but that may also make it more difficult to open up to new people. We also get to converse with new people online that become strong and amazing supporters and once in a blue moon we get to meet IRL (Hi Kari!).
This is why it’s so important to have a Becky in your life. When we are out at events, especially Wits shows, she’ll think nothing of whipping around and joining an overheard conversation while I’m busy trying to be clever on twitter. She also has an uncanny ability to just know what to compliment people about.
Usually, when I’m at an event, I’m trying my best to keep my large self from invading my stranger neighbor, I don’t breathe as deep, I lean into Becky.
At the Wits and Thrilling Adventure Hour crossover event, we were having a great time. At intermission, Becky got up to get a drink, when she came back, she leans over me and throws out a “I love your outfit!” at the girl next to me. They chat a bit. The lights go down. And we sit through the rest of the show.
As we get ready to leave, Becky whips out her personal business cards she had made for her job hunt and asks the stranger to email her.
Next thing you know, they are emailing back and forth, we’re meeting another couple a month later for an after Wits drink and hanging out. A crossover podcast led to a new friendship. There’s something to that.
Distance and timing and unemployment keeps us from getting out much, but we’ve been able to schedule a couple get-togethers. It’s been lovely getting to know them, also recent transplants to the cities, but from farther away. They have a fascinating background and a great sense of humor. And maybe Becky will be able to learn how to knit.
Best of all, they often say just the perfect thing that helps Becky deal with a stress that she’s been fighting for months. Becky does likewise with them, because at some level, we’re all just a ball of self doubt and worry and need some validation.
And having Wits in common with complete strangers is enough of a basis for “let’s hang out,” more even, than “hey, you live next to me, let’s hang out.”
Though part of me silently freaks out when Becky jumps headlong into conversations with strangers because I’m an introverted wimp, I also know she’s got a bravery for such things and an ESP for knowing which strangers can be fascinating people that can lead to new adventures that I do not. I admire her for it, and thank my stars that we are together.