Remember your first night in the dorms? Somewhere in between taking down half a bottle of Smirnoff and the RA guilting you into a lame ass game of freeze tag, you probably met someone worth remembering. For some reason, you two just clicked. For the next 4 (or 6ish) years, you knew you could count on him to swipe you in for meals, anchor your intramural dodgeball team, and let you borrow his graphing calculator for that statistics final junior year.
Maybe today they’re slated to be a groomsman at your wedding. Or maybe they were just the least weird of all the goobers on your floor. Regardless, you found your “ride-or-die”, and that’s not something you just forget about.
In my own experience, I found a whole house of ride-or-dies when I pledged a fraternity. To this day, I have a solid core of guys from the house that I still make a point to talk with at least every couple of days. Pair this group up with my childhood buddies, and I’ve got myself a solid support system of friends in my young life. We meet up for wild weekends when we can, roast each other in the group chat, and mix in the occasional Sunday night phone call when we’re feeling serious or chirping about the week’s fantasy match-up.
The thing is, I’m satisfied. I have enough friends and simply no need for more. Sure, work affords me the chance to network, but the people I meet there will never be more than just acquaintances. You don’t crap where you eat, ya know? I’m over the rah-rah ordeal of trying to find meaningful friendships for the rest of my life.
The idea of showing up blindly to some happy hour by myself sounds exhausting. After a full day of work, the last thing I want to do is take in some stranger’s Colin Kaepernick hot take as I anxiously take down a pitcher of Miller by myself. And forget about trying to buddy up at my apartment complex. I’ll just stick with the soft smile and stoic head nod in passing on the stairwell, thank you very much.
I’ve heard friendships happen once you establish common interests. In college, it was easier when most people just wanted to catch a buzz and dance to “Party Rock Anthem.” In the real world the waters are muddier. Trying to find crossover between work schedules, marital status, and out of work hobbies is a challenge and I’m not so sure I’m up to the task. Even the people I small talk with at the gym everyday are just filler in the grand scheme of things. It’s just hollow conversation, skin deep and just polite enough to let others know that I have a soul.
Please don’t get any ideas that I’m some scrooge. I like to think I’m pretty outgoing though I’m definitely an introvert. I like people but a lot of the time they just tire me out. Am I off base on all this? Is it really worth trying to force new friendships once you have a core of keepers? I recently relocated for work, and I had to leave some newish friends behind. Maybe I’m just bitter?
Talk to me, Goose. What has worked for you? Have you had luck making new friends as a 20-something? Is it worth it at this point? Let’s hear it. .
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