Why it’s so hard to make friends as an adult
Lane Moore thought she would have more friends now. The comedian, writer, and musician fantasized about having a kindred spirit like she read in “Anne of Green Gables,” or a tight-knit group of confidants like she saw on TV shows like “Friends.” and ‘Sex and the City’. But that kind of friendship eluded her. She wondered if such relationships were possible at all?
After working on repairing her relationship with herself – see her first book, “How to Be Alone: If You Want To, and Even If You Don’t” – she decided to devote herself to friendship.
In “You Will Find Your People: How to Make Meaningful Friendships as an Adult” (Abrams Image), she addresses the breakup of friends and relationships with coworkers, roommates, and family members, and offers tools to create healthy boundaries with friends .
She spoke to The Post about the challenges and rewards of making friends as an adult. (This interview has been shortened and edited for clarity.)
Why did you want to write this book?
My first book was called ‘How to Be Alone’, and that book and this one are really sisters. A lot of the work I did on myself in ‘How to Be Alone’ was about: Let me really develop a relationship with myself, be OK with being alone, really develop that self-worth and self-worth. When you’ve done all that, you think “I finally want to have better friends than I’ve had before” – because if you can really love yourself or even just like it you yourself are in a better position to choose the people in your life.
But how do you do that if you’re post-high school or post-university? It’s incredibly discouraging. So I really wanted to write a book on how to make friends as an adult, despite all the struggles that can keep us from doing so.
Why is is it so hard to make friends as an adult?
There are so many reasons. One of them is time. Many of us have such intense schedules: We’re working more than we’ve ever worked – maybe 60 or 80 hours a week. And then you have to make time for yourself, your partner, groceries, all those things. Then, God forbid, you have to do that with a new friend – it’s much harder to get something off the ground.
It’s also so vulnerable to say to someone, “I’d like to be friends, would you like that too?” Even if you have someone that you think would be good friends, that you would like, most of us don’t want to be the one to say it first. It’s such a similar process to asking someone if they have a crush on you, or if they have feelings for you. It just feels like there’s a real potential for rejection.
Once someone decides they want to put themselves out there and find new friends, what can they do?
So much of it is allowing yourself these little windows of vulnerability where you can sit there and say, “This person always comments on my Instagram posts and I think they’re really cool. And I slide into their DMs and say, ‘Hey, I always thought you were pretty cool. Do you want to do something soon?'” When they say no, they say no. But I think a lot of us need to feel more comfortable taking these little leaps just to to see if there is anything.
Once you’ve made a friend, how do you maintain that relationship?
I think we can be more thoughtful in the way we probably would be with a romantic partner. Like, when you’re on a date or something, it’s always so sweet when the person you see brings you your favorite coffee. That’s just adorable when it comes from a friend. We can show love and appreciation to each other in ways that create a deeper, more meaningful friendship.
Why should we even try to forge friendships? Why is it important to have friends?
Friendship is fellowship. It has support. It’s people running through their ideas and saying, ‘Hey, I’m kind of struggling with this thing. What do you think? Can you help?” I think mostly it’s backup in a world that can be really hard. It’s so essential that we have that in this world.
How do you feel now in terms of the friends in your life?
I think one of the things I still struggle with is how much I’ve internalized since birth, what friendship is supposed to look like, how many friends we’re supposed to have. I really think we should throw [all those expectations] out the window and look around you and see what you are grateful for. I have someone I know I can call whenever this happens: That’s a successful friendship, because I haven’t always had one. My friendships are in a much better place than they’ve ever been — and I think that’s true for many of us, even if they’re not where television told us they should be. So I feel really good about that.