Tuesday, April 29, 2014

How To Make Friends as an Adult

There's a whole list of things that make the post-college "real world" difficult: electric bills, rent, income taxes, cooking in general, this elusive concept people refer to as a "budget"...

This list goes on and on.  But the hardest thing about the real world?  Making real world friends.

This wasn't a problem before graduation because in college, there were 5,000 other 20-year-olds crammed into the same five mile radius.  And you sort of had no choice but talking to them because how else are you going to pass Organic Chemistry?  But here, my closest college friend lives 800 miles away and the most I know about the girl upstairs is that she also knows where the laundry room is.

So how do you make friends in the real world?  I'm still working on it.  Here's what I've figured out so far:

1. Join A Group.  One of the first things I did when I got here was find a running group because, well, that's what I'd be doing anyway.  It took a few "60+ gay walking groups" to find a good fit, but eventually I did.

In my completely unbiased opinion, you can never go wrong with a running group.  But even if you don't run, there are seriously groups for anything you could possibly like doing.  Seriously.  I got an email about a tea-lovers meet-up just the other day... and if that's not creepily convenient, then I don't know what is.

2. Look Lost.  The first conversation I had with Ray, one of the best friends I have in Chicago, was an overview on how to get to the H&M on State Street.  Before the days of Derrick in Chicago, I did everything alone.  Including get lost on my way downtown trying to find a new pair of boots.

I realized I was lost about halfway into my bus ride and, conveniently, the first person I asked for help was a man from New Jersey.  The second one was a woman who only spoke Russian.

I thank God that Ray was on the bus that day and overheard the guy from New Jersey direct me in the complete opposite direction (never trust those dirty Jets fans).  Otherwise, I would have probably ended up at the Navy Pier and would have never set up that awkward first friend date that turned into a legitimate friendship.

3. Start a Blog.  As Ted Mosby once wisely said, "There's no stigma anymore!"  The great thing about blog friends is that you don't have to worry about things like the Vicky Mendoza Diagonal because by the time you meet them in real life, you probably know enough about them, their dog, and their creepy ex-boyfriend to write a book anyway.  Or at least a solid guest post.

I honestly had no idea that "blog friends" existed before I started a blog but it's a real thing.  It's like the Match.com for friendships, except with Twitter handles and chevron.

4. Be Friends with Someone with 1,500 Friends.  The first time Erika visited me in Chicago, she got up early one morning to go meet a friend for breakfast.  Yes, sadly, she came to visit me in my new city and already knew more people there than me.

On the bright side, when you're friends with someone who seems to be on a nickname basis with everyone and their grandma's hairdresser, you're bound to meet at least one person you can hang out with on the weekends.

5. Get a Cat.  Actually, maybe just forget everything else I said and skip to this one.  Cats won't judge you for spending Friday nights in your underwear on the couch, after all.  Plus, they always bury their poop... something you can never tell with a human right right away.

Smell that smell?  It's Tuesday.
Enjoy it.

Want more tea? Have a second cup!
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