We all know that sitcoms and romcoms have lied to us. Kissing in the rain is not romantic. Picnics are the worst. And you should know a guy for more than a week before falling head over heels in love.
But the biggest lie, in my opinion? That it’s easy to form adult friendships.
The main character is always surrounded by a group of people who have known her for her entire life. They hang out constantly. They know all of each other’s secrets.
I hope you have that. I sincerely do. But it’s not always that easy.
When I moved to Nashville at the age of 21, I didn’t know a soul. It took years to finally build up a community of people who were not only there for me when I needed it, but also understood me.
So if you’re feeling lonely, you’re not alone. And if you’re searching for someone who gets you, here are 4 ways I found community:
1. Show up
Sometimes, it really is that simple. Does your church have small groups? Show up and see what happens. Get invited to a random neighborhood get together? Show up and see what happens.
A woman named Sharon called in when I talked about the struggle of making friends as an adult and said she met one of her best friends at a volunteer event. That’s genius! Because worst case scenario, you did something good. Best case scenario, you did something good and made a friend in the process!!
2. Get out of your comfort zone
Yeah, I hate this one, too. But the leap can be worth it!!
Get the Groupon for that exercise class you’ve been wanting to try and make conversation with those around you. Check out sites like meetup.com that connect you with people in your town with shared interests. See if your community center has virtual meetups if you can’t go out and about as much.
Or get creative with an app or platform you’ve never used before. Last year, I thought that TikTok was the dumbest app. I couldn’t figure it out. But then, I started making medical content on it based on my experience as a caregiver. Suddenly, I had several strangers who were commenting to tell me I made them feel less alone. And that made me feel less alone.
3. Steal some concepts from dating
There are some elements of making new friends that feel a little like dating. I’ll never forgot how nervous I was to ask an acquaintance to coffee because I felt like she was someone who could be a good friend. Or the awkwardness of getting to know someone else who was in a similar stage of life because a mutual friend thought we’d click. And today, they’re two of my very best friends!
Have your spouse “set you up” with the spouse of one of their friends. Do the brave (but scary) work of seeing if someone you admire on social media is available to meet up.
Does it end in disappointment when they say no? Sometimes. Could it end in a beautiful friendship? Yes!!
4. Get ultra specific on Facebook
There are things in your life that not even your current friends and closest family members will understand. My husband became chronically ill at the age of 24. That’s not a life experience that anyone in my circles had encountered. So I found comfort in chatting with strangers who understood what I was dealing with.
Chatting with other young caregivers made me realize that while what I was going through was abnormal, there were still people in the corners of the internet that understood.
While the internet can be a scary place, there are some lovely (and hyper specific) circles where you can find support. Here are a few personal favorites from a quick search through Facebook groups.
Obsessed with a TV show and tired of your family judging you for it? There’s a group for that.
Do you have a super specific hobby? There’s a group for that.
Do you have a super specific hobby that would be nice to share with someone in your area? There’s a group for that.
Are you a little too obsessed with your favorite band? You terrify me a little, but there’s a group for that.
Do you….well….I don’t even know what to do with this one. Regardless. There’s a group for that.
If disapproving corgis can find their people, so can you. I’m rooting for you. You’re not alone.