Back in high school, a wise friend once told me:
The older you get, you will start to realize that you only have five friends. And if you’re really lucky, you will have two really good friends.”
I thought that was crazy but man was he right.
My problem was never getting to that point though. All my life, I always had two really good friends. I was never the one who had the group of friends. My squad goals were two really close people I could always call and consistently life update or complain to. I always wondered how all those brides have all those bridesmaids. I could barely think of like 12 people total to invite to my birthday brunch last month.
As outgoing as I tend to be, I like to keep my friend circle small. In reality, I never needed many friends to make me feel popular or loved. My relationships always followed the quality over quantity rule and it worked really well.
Well…until I would start to feel waves of FOMO on the weekends or would think to myself: I don’t really have any girlfriends. But those thoughts and feelings were coming from a place where people tend broadcast their highlight reels.
Social media doesn’t help when you’re thinking those things or feeling like you’re missing out on someone’s awesome brunch group, but it’s a part of our reality and sometimes it can make us feel worse about ourselves and our own friendships.
During my 40 days without social media cleanse, Facebook liked reminding me that I had a lot more friends on social media than in real life. I mean it counts them for me! How could I have missed out on my Outlook contacts from middle school!?
Wow Facebook. Thanks.
I’m going to be honest, there were days in my cleanse where I felt really lonely. There were days where I really wanted to connect to WiFi, just to connect with my friends by looking at their pictures and status updates. It’s like crack and I needed my scroll. It was bad.
But, those were the relationships I was trying to get away from. I was looking for some real friends. Call me old school, but I wanted some phone calls on the ride home from work where I talked to my about my day. I wanted some face-to-face time instead of just FaceTime. I wanted real friendships, not surface level ones.
But as much as I wanted friends, making new friends as an adult is hard. You know this. And of course being in your cloud of sadness can start to fill your mind with sappy thoughts. But you don’t have to make things so difficult for yourself. You don’t have to start from scratch to find friends. You have friends. You just have to reach out more.
One of the first weeks of my cleanse I was naturally feeling like I was missing out on life. But I knew that wasn’t true and that my true friends were just a phone call away. So one day I asked my cleanse if I could phone a friend, like on my phone. Yeah you can call people on your tiny computer you got at the Apple Store. Go figure.
My cleanse agreed that this was the whole point of this thing, so I called a friend and she came over that night. We ate donuts for dinner and drank Chardonnay. We talked about what was stressing us out that week, what was heavy on our hearts. Then we planned our cheese plate for our first ever book club meeting. Which includes her and I. I know how that sounds but according to club rules it’s 2 or more, emphasis on the 2.
It was such a great night and I didn’t even post about it on social media while it was happening. Breakthrough! But that night made me realize that real friendships exist and I was really lucky to have one as great as the one with the donuts and Chardonnay. So I made it a goal to keep that going even after my cleanse. We haven’t had donuts in a while, but we still catch up face to face. And now whenever I feel lonely or feel that I don’t have any friends, I reach out.
Earlier this year I was feeling like I needed some new friends so I decided to go look for some. I started this thing I called a girlfriends project, where I reached out and tried to get together with old friends I had lost touch with. I opened up my Rolodex on Facebook and started asking old friends if they wanted to get together for pizza, wine, movies, anything.
At first it was nerve-wrecking. I hadn’t seen some of these people in years and some were just friends I had from one class in college, but all of them responded and I made plans with nearly all of them. Some I continued to see, some I see every so often, some introduced me to more friends, but the exercise in reaching out reminded me that I had them. When you do this, not if, some will work out and some won’t, but you’ll never know unless you try! So reach out. Face to face. You got this.
Reach out more. After you use your phone to call and make plans, put it away and have some face to face time with your lovely friends. You can take pictures of your awesome and delicious donuts but remember that you can post it later. Stay present.
If you’re feeling like you don’t have any friends, I’m going to stop you right there because you do. I tell myself the same thing, so I know what kind of defense you’re hiding behind. You’ll be surprised on how many people still live in the city you’re in after all those years. And if you’re in a new city, I’m sure a friend knows a friend that lives in the city you’re in, so ask! The whole point is to reach out and find your squad. Even if that’s just a 2 person book club. Every squad is #squadgoals because it’s your squad.