I am not a doctor. Please don't take what I say as a replacement for medical or mental health advice. I also may earn money or products from the companies mentioned in my posts. Full affiliate disclosure and disclaimers can be found here.
Why is it so hard making friends as an adult female?
I seriously envy my children when it comes to making friends. They can waltz up to anyone, anywhere, and be like ‘Wanna be friends?’ and that’s that. They may not STAY friends, or even see each other again, but for the time being, they have a best friend! Viola! As an adult, however, it’s a totally different story. And I may be biased here, but as an adult female, it’s REALLY friggin’ hard!
I am very lucky in that I have some really, REALLY great friends. I mean, AWESOME. But it wasn’t the easiest thing in the world getting here. Unfortunately, there’s no Big Girl Playground we can all go to and shmooze and play. (someone should make that btw). Instead, it took lots of really awkward meetups through public groups, a bunch of false starts, some ghosting (I was the ghostee!), and quite a bit of trial and error. And we move a lot, so I get to redo it every few years!
But, at least right now, I have this badass tribe that I know will carry me through ANYTHING. They don’t all know each other, they aren’t all close by, but they are all my ride or die besties. So how can you start building your badass friend army? Here’s what’s worked for me.
Make the First Move
You can’t be someone’s friend if you don’t talk to them. That’s pretty obvious. But I doubt the talking part is the hard part, it wasn’t for me. I’ll be friendly with EVERYONE. It’s the ‘getting the number’, making the first official non-coincidence plans, or sometimes even just asking her name. I went through a phase where I would wait for the other person to suggest we stay in touch or meet up. Because I was certain that no one really liked me. Lots of therapy later, I am pleased to say that grown-ass women are pretty good at accepting or declining invites. So just do it. If you like this person and want to spend more time with her, step up and ask for her number! It won’t kill you!
We’ve all done it. Acted out of character, worn something we really didn’t like, or gone somewhere that we usually don’t just to fit in. Here’s the thing though, if you aren’t real, honest, and truthful, whatever friendship you do build will be REALLY hard to maintain. I gave up a long time ago on trying to hold in all my awkwardness in front of other people. Lemme tell ya, it’s a really good filter!
I promise you, your potential friend doesn’t have it all together either. By showing up a hot mess you’re showing her that you’re comfortable enough with your own faults that you will probably accept hers. No lie, people often tell me they feel safe being themselves around me. Because I am just so damn weird.
I know it’s a lot easier to stick with what you know. But when it comes to making adult female friends you might have NOTHING in common with a person except maybe one thing… and somehow wind up inseparable. Most of my besties and I have some BIG differences. At least one. Whether it be race, religion, kids, geographical separation, politics, age… It’s all there. I get so much from people that challenge me to get outside my comfort zone, or introduce me to new things, or even just see things differently. So don’t rule anyone out based on differences. It might wind up being a good thing!
Don’t take more than you give. And vice versa. The beautiful thing about solid friendships is that this happens without even realizing it. Even when one friend is giving a lot more it won’t be long before the tables turn and she’s the one needing support. Being considerate in ANY relationship is essential, but it can make or break a friendship FAST. When making friends as an adult female, this is crucial.
Take the time to get to know her thresholds, values, and gauge her comfort with certain things. Just like it might really bother you if she double dips, it might REALLY bother her when you walk in without knocking. It’s the little things. It’s amazing how paying a bit of attention and noting these things can really solidify a friendship.
Quality over Quantity
Y’all. I’ll never say no to a new friend. But when you find the ones that make your world more whole… focus on them. Cultivate those bonds and dedicate your efforts towards them. It can be a lot of fun to go out with 20 people, but when you really need to work through something, you need your besties. Your adult female friends will be there for you and can help you… or kick your ass. Depending on what you need.
Forming deeper bonds with fewer people can be really fulfilling. Being vulnerable is scary, but totally worth it.
Making friends as an adult female is essential
There is a lot of emphasis on romantic relationships, familial relationships, and relationships with our children during these years. But in my opinion, making friends is the most essential. A strong marriage or partnership is important, but that bond has more holding it in place. You can’t ghost your husband. Well, at least not forever. Same thing with your kids, if you have them. You’re stuck with that relationship in some form or fashion FOREVER. But when those stickier relationships are really hard, because we all know they can get really fucking hard, you need your friends. The family you CHOSE. Why? Because those women are going to be the ones who feel your crap in their soul and will sit up texting with you all hours of the night interpreting that dream you had.
So while it might be tricky making friends as an adult female, it’s totally worth it. By the way, online friends can count here.
Now you know what’s worked for me, tell me what has worked for you!