Moving to a new city, or even just trying to be an adult in the same old city, is hard. Like really hard. Mostly because meeting friends and building relationships as an adult is scary, uncomfortable, and makes no sense.
Like how do you even make friends as an adult? Do I buy a girl who looks like me a drink in a bar and ask her on a friend-date? Maybe.
In complete honesty, I can’t exactly tell you what to do, I have no clue, I’m still trying to figure it out myself. But maybe you can learn from my mistakes, and have a good laugh at my expense, cause hey, that’s fun.
For some context, I moved to LA from the east coast 6 months ago because my boyfriend got a job here, and the sun sounded fun. Now, 6 months in, I can straight up count my friends on one hand, and that hand isn’t even full.
For more context, I am not a leper. I like to think of myself as socially conscious, and I don’t think I’m a complete weirdo. So what was wrong, you ask? The problem had nothing to do with me, and everything to do with my attitude.
I decided about a month after I moved here that I hated LA, for completely arbitrary reasons. I missed the rain (I went to school in Scotland, where I constantly complained about the rain), I missed the friends I already had, I missed my family back on the east coast, The. Traffic. - in all fairness I stand by that one - and most of all, my unilateral decision that LA is not, in fact, a city. I mean it is, obviously, but it feels more like a bunch of small towns strung together by highways than a proper city. And for whatever reason I was SO offended by that concept.
I was miserable, and on some level, I wanted to stay miserable.
For the first five months I lived here I worked in a restaurant (nights), and that was a perfect excuse to avoid any and all social engagements.
If anyone mentioned getting together or doing something? "Oh sorry, I’m working that night" came out of my mouth faster than I could even stop to think about whether or not I was actually working that night.
This all seems pretty counter-intuitive right? I had just moved to LA, I needed to make friends, why wasn’t I jumping at the chance? Partly, because misery loves company, and partly, because I was petrified of being uncomfortable, and I was pissed that LA - in all its audacity - was going to conspire, as an entire county, to make me uncomfortable in order to acquire a social life. Yet another reason to irrationally dislike LA.
The millennial generation has made a mountain out of the proverbial awkward molehill. We have put awkwardness at the forefront of our social consciousness with so much super glue that steering away from it has become our brains’ most prominent instinct. We, the dreaded hyper-self-aware millennials, have quite literally created an entire crippling social disease out of a word that doesn’t even exist in other languages (ex: French, Spanish, Portuguese, Spanish, German).
And for what? When you really think about it, if something is awkward, who gives a shit? Like actually, SO WHAT. It’s uncomfortable, it happens, and then you move on. And sometimes, as if by magic, or margaritas - whatever does it for you, it isn’t awkward and voila: friends.
Making friends as an adult is that easy. I think.
And that’s pretty much it. All of this for one mediocre revelation: making friends as an adult is about being uncomfortable and awkward, getting drunk (or not), getting over it, and bonding in the process.
So next time someone asks you to do something, instead of saying “I can’t I'm working,” or “I’m tired,” or “I'm really stressed because of work.” Either, tell the truth: that you’re afraid of discomfort, which in itself will be uncomfortable, OR you could just go, have a drink, and embrace the awkward.
As an added bonus one of my colleagues actually did say yes to everything for a month, and you can read all about it here.