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I moved back to my hometown after deciding to take a gap year from college and it’s devoid of other townsfolk my age but full of kids who moved solely to attend the colleges here. How exactly do I make new friends, especially queer ones? This is the first time I’ve been not-in-school for a long time. I’m shy but desperate for social contact outside of work. Suggestions?”
Hi friend! First off, congratulations for recognizing that what’s best for you is a gap year. I feel like many of us forget that we’re whole people that don’t have a rigid linear prescription for growth. So kudos!
I hear your complaint a lot from all different kinds of people, gay or straight, male or female or neither or both: making friends as an adult is hard. Making friends as an adult out of school is harder. That’s because, growing up, we’ve learned to rely on one thing above all when figuring out our friendships, and that’s proximity. You get thrown together with someone randomly in a homeroom and two months later, you’re best friends forever. It’s so easy! But also how many people have you been BFFs with that you’ve lost track of over the years? Perhaps you’re like me and you’ve been extremely lucky with proximity—my wedding party is made up mostly of people I’ve known since second grade, and we’ve grown together with similar interests and tastes and opinions. But even for the lucky ones, for every best friend that makes it through to adulthood, there’s a bunch of friends who don’t. That’s because proximity is, frankly, not the best indicator of whether two or more people make good friends. All it means is that you’re close to each other, not that you have anything in common or even actually like each other.
I like to tell people, and now you, that making friends in adulthood needs reframing. Instead of talking about how hard it is, we should instead talk about how this is an opportunity to be free from proximity defining friendships. That’s huge! Finding friends in this new era of your life where you have a ton more agency to move around and select people, instead of just trying to survive the cafeteria, is actually really fun! So before you embark on your friend quest, think of it like a treasure hunt where the treasure is your new bestie. Here are a few tips to help you in your quest.
Be Your Own Coolest Friend
I’ve found that the best way to find anyone, romantic partners or friends, is to be the person you wish you were with—this is two-fold advice, because often the people we wish we were with are also the people we wish we were more like. So sit down and make a list of what you want—do you want friends who are as into books as you? Who are queer activists? Who have an interest in glass blowing or circus arts? Put everything in a list. Once you’re done that, pick the thing that sounds so fucking rad you can’t even stand it and give it a Google. What spaces are around in your town or city that afford opportunities for participating in that thing? Is there a book club that meets at the local feminist bookstore? A Stitch N’ Bitch at the yarn shop? An ice skating rink or a beginner’s hiking group or a social justice hub at the LGBT Center or a volunteer program at the aquarium or or or? Putting yourself in spaces where you are your own coolest friend is a great way to meet people who are their own coolest friend. Then you can be cool friends together AND it’s not just about proximity. You know you have something in common because you’ve been participating in some of the same activities.
When you’re doing this, I wouldn’t worry so much about the queer factor. That’s because if you want to learn how to do a thing or like doing a thing, and you’re queer, then chances are there are other queers who are going to be in that space as well. Sometimes I speak to people who get hung up on entering queer spaces to find queer friends, and it’s great if you have them in your town or city. But if you’re not a bar person, going to the nearest gay bar isn’t going to yield you friends no matter how many gays are in that bar—you’ll be uncomfortable and around people who like to go to bars, whereas you don’t! If a space looks appealing to you, go try it. I tell all the people who are like but there’s no gay group for that about the time I wanted to learn a little bit more about acrobatics, so I looked up a bunch of spaces and got a recommendation from an OKCupid Date and took a class…only to find out that it was half queer women anyhow. If you look at a space and you’re interested, you likely won’t be the only one.
Structured Activities Are Good For Shyness
Taking classes, by the way, is a great way to overcome shyness—and you mentioned that you were shy. A more structured activity gives your brain and hands something to do, and often requires teamwork. That means you have to talk to people, but you don’t necessarily have to do all the work of coming up with how to talk to them, or about what. Any sort of class, formalized discussion group or sports team is really good for this. In fact, if you’re a sports person, joining a league is FABULOUS for friend-making.
Don’t Mind the Age Gap
You also mention in your question people your age specifically. Well I’m here to tell you that some of the coolest people I’ve met and become friends with out in the world are one or more age brackets above me. There’s no reason your friends can’t be older than you—that’s the beauty of being an adult. You’re all adults now. You’ll probably find that you have more things in common with people ten years older than you than you have with people even two years younger. Time is wibbly like that, just trust me.
Use The Internet
Hey, look at where you are right now. On a website full of queer adults, some of which could be in your area! We actually have a whole directory of Unofficial Autostraddle Meet-Up Groups from all over. We even have a series on how to be the meet-up you want to see in the world and an events portal! Heck, I bet this comment section is going to blow up with adults looking to make friends (fingers crossed!). If you can’t find an Autostraddle group in the directory or meet-ups you like, start them! Start ones that are good for introverts!
Aside from using this very website, you can also list for friends on sites like OKCupid. Like, that’s actually a thing. It’s actually a thing that people do and sometimes it works!
Say You Wanna Be Friends!
This next bit is actually a piece of advice that Forever Intern Grace gave out at A-Camp and IT TOTALLY WORKS. Like, I have tried it. A few times, actually, and it works without fail. Ready? Walk up to the person you’ve been hanging out with or hanging in the same space with and say, “hey, you’re the coolest and I really want to be friends with you.” BAM. No bullshit. No mistaking it for a date. Just saying exactly what you want. It. Works. So practice that in the mirror because life is short and you should have the friends you want.
Fuck Proximity—Distance is FINE
As you’re going through this journey to find new friends as an adult, don’t forget the ones you already have that are important to you—where are they now? While it may not feel as satisfying to communicate long distance, it can still be really awesome—and a good compliment to your new quest. Make a Telegram or Slack group of the childhood friends you still talk to; Snapchat silly selfies to your second grade bestie. It feels even more satisfying to send letters, postcards, doodles and hardcopy photos, so get everyone’s mailing address and make a once-weekly ritual of mailing things out. Maintaining your distance friends can be just as rewarding as finding new ones close to you—I highly recommend doing both.
So go forth and jam, friend! And hey, all y’all readers out there who are doing this very same thing, chime in with your suggestions below.
This is the story of my life! I do all the things listed but it’s still hard. Even when I say,”I think you’re cool, would you like to be friends?” It’s always,”oh are you asking me out?” UGH! Nope, no I’m not. Lol
I am not on social media so I am missing out on the groups on there too? The older you get the more people are coupled up which adds an extra layer of difficulty in finding other single and free folks to just do stuff with.
You need to give some of these people some friend zone buttons. Maybe they will get the hint. :)
You: ”I think you’re cool, would you like to be friends?”
girl: ”oh are you asking me out?”
You: *Hands over Friend Zoned button*
girl: “I see. Well played stranger. Well played indeed.”
Whenever I hear guys complain about the ‘friend zone,’ I want to say “Where does one find this so-called ‘friend zone,’ because I’d really like to go there and make some new friends.”
I think it’s somewhere between the twilight zone and imagination land for guys. For lesbians it exist anywhere our straight crushes mingle around. :D
Where can I get these Friend Zone buttons? Merch idea? I mean with an upbeat tone, not a sort of warning label. Friendship is a good thing!
I don’t think they exist yet……. It should though. I kind of want to make them now. Maybe even t-shirts. Anyone want to start a project for this?
Like maybe with a penguin ready to hug you? That’s upbeat enough to convey the complete joy of friendzone in the way we mean it, right?
I vote greeting cards. An adorable creature on the front and inside it says, “Let’s be pals! No seriously, nothing else implied. I need someone to do cool stuff with! Are you down?”
I like the idea of penguins. It screams “Hi, I’m just your normal queer gal being friendly” and doesn’t seem like a desperate attempt at friendship. I mean, who can get mad a penguins? I hope no one does….
I am going to make some stickers, I think
Ugh all the trying-to-make-friends-feels.
You sound frustrated. Here, have an imaginary friend-zoned button. It should take care of some of the feels. :)
Such good advice!! I will add that if the group/thing you love doing doesn’t exist yet in your hometown, to go ahead and start it! I started a queer book club three years ago when I felt a loss of friends/community and it’s been the best!
I was actually thinking of your book club for the part where I was like JOIN A BOOK CLUB AND BY THAT I MEAN JOIN ANNA’S BOOK CLUB.
My friend and I just followed this advice in Denver and we have our second meeting tonight!
Queer book club sounds amazing! When my anxiety was out of control and I felt particularly isolated, I started a Self Care club on my campus. Some kind of group magic has attracted people with SO MANY similarities. Almost everyone who comes is queer, many trans students, all nerds who love the same types of shows, movies, and books, and we all have mental health stuff we are dealing with. It’s just this great community that I get to be a part of and somehow have formed. It’s wonderful seeing my own friendships with people form but also friendships among the group.
Whaaat?! Where is this queer book club in Denver? I wanna join! What are you reading?
My wife and I moved across country five years ago and knew no one. We found our very best friends on craigslist, for real. Placed in ad in the strictly platonic w4w section and three years later, we’re going strong. Don’t get discouraged, though. They were not the first (or last) couple we met through that ad, but they are the only ones that stuck. :) Had to definitely weed through the people with no friend-chemistry.
THIS IS SO AMAZING!!!
Heck yeah, this is rad!
I always say I’m gonna go to meet up type things and then I panic and back out
I don’t actually want to leave my house to be with people, it’s scary and exhausting, but I do want friends, and reconciling these two things is, uh… Difficult
I can talk a bit about meet ups! Meetup groups can be really, really good… Or really, really weird. The thing to keep in mind before you go on one (or during) is: if you got there under your own steam (be it bus, uber, your car, subway, or walking) –you can leave whenever you want, too. “It was awesome meeting you…but my cat just texted, he’s set fire to the microwave” or “my bed has spontaneously burst into tears without me, thanks so much for the experience” Silly, yeah? Well, I’ve no doubt you can come up with far more plausible excuses to get out of dodge if the getting is needed.
Second, as a personally low-energy person I found it so much easier if I chose starter-meetups with groups. These were often meals at a restaurant (the Adulting version of the lunchroom), card games I was familiar with (In a public place!), book clubs (PUBLIC PLACE), or ‘see a movie and coffee after’. These gave some form of structure along with things to distract myself with when trying to figure out if things were going okay, what my level of energy was, etc.
If I liked the group–well, then a hike might not be so bad, would it?
None of this helps the nerves before, during, or after though. All you can try to do sometimes is manage those… And that’s much harder when it’s a ‘I could do the thing’ verses a ‘I have to do the thing’ ala school or work.
“It was awesome meeting you…but my cat just texted, he’s set fire to the microwave” I don’t know, you don’t know me, we may never meet. But I love you.
You know what’s hilarious and potentially creepy? I took a hot second to look at your profile: I am living in Tempe until late July.
Assume this is a digital stare of: how are you, you? I feel as though each summer I have barely escaped with a corporal form that doesn’t fit into a wine glass. Is there a method to avoid evaporating into the ether like a sunburned ghost beyond swearing as your car gets up to baking temperature?
I couldn’t tell you, I’m a full time motorcyclist, it’s not AC, but it doesn’t heat up past the ambient temp, which is something.
That said, how long has it been since you’ve gotten to a Village Inn for Pie Rush Wed? I have a small cadre of straight friends to make it not a date :D
At least Someone Here Is Making Friends
ugh I’m the exact same. I moved to a new city months ago and I basically never go out because I get anxious about going to things alone. but I know I won’t make friends if i don’t go out…
I like to tell people, and now you, that making friends in adulthood needs reframing. Instead of talking about how hard it is, we should instead talk about how this is an opportunity to be free from proximity defining friendships.
was really comforting. Thanks so much!
Also, anyone in San Antonio?
Oh I’m not too too far! Yay Texas peeps!
I am like 6 hours away in Dallas. I really wish all the highway construction was finished. It took forever to get to Austin and back. I can only imagine a road trip to SA. :O
The construction is terrible and I don’t have a car, so road trips are a project. I have a feeling bus fare from SA to various places in Texas is probably reasonable.
We should do a Texas wide Meetup!
This might be doable. The Megabus has trips for $1 I think.
Seriously we should find a middle meeting place. Someone organize this pleeaaassee
1000% agreed on the first point. I’ve met some really good friends in queer spaces, but some of my closest have actually come from “mixed” social scenes — specifically, the cycling community.
Turns out, adults who ride bikes are basically kids at heart, friendly, giving, and drama-free, and surprise to me – many of them are also queer.
So yeah, do what you love. When you’re around other people who are also doing what they love, everyone is in a happier, in a more receptive mental and emotional space, and friend-making happens organically.
Also, keep showing up! Don’t get discouraged if you don’t make a new bestie the first time, or first three times. It’s a shame, but adults take a LOT longer to warm up to each other.
that username though.
bikes are good.
@bcewalker – yeah, I’ve always been somewhat obsessed. Even the Foursquare / Swarm location for my home is “Sissinghurst,” and my last home was “Knole”. :D
“Also, keep showing up! Don’t get discouraged if you don’t make a new bestie the first time, or first three times. It’s a shame, but adults take a LOT longer to warm up to each other.”
YES THIS THIS IS GOOD I LIKE THIS.
I joined derby 3 years ago, and I have never looked back. I initially joined with another friend of mine, but she quit after 4 weeks, and three years later, I’ve made innumerable new friends.
Even if the thought of playing a high-speed, full-contact sport on roller skates scares the fuck out of you, derby leagues always (ALWAYS) need volunteers. Whatever you do, derby will use it. Referees, non-skating officials, and other game-day volunteers are always needed. Photography or videography skills? Design skills? Social media skills? Medical expertise? Legal expertise? Accounting expertise? Insurance expertise? Marketing or promotion expertise? All needed in roller derby leagues.
Google your city, see if there is a league nearby (there very likely is, roller derby is the fastest growing sport in the world). Email them to ask about tryouts or volunteering, tell them what you can do, what your time is like, and you’ll be off and running. Go watch a game, see what it’s like, introduce yourself to people who seem to be in charge or know what’s going on, and pretty soon, you’ll have 30+ new best friends (many of whom are likely queer!) and a really awesome new hobby!
i love this idea!
Such a good idea! I’m going in 2 weeks to my roller derby’s open practice. Fingers crossed on meeting awesome ladies.
You should make a roller derby commercial! You have me convinced!
I recently decided I was low on friends/relying too heavily on my housemates as friends so I joined a sports team. This worked really well for me previously and I know myself well enough to know that I need to be doing something otherwise I’ll outawkward myself too early on and not go back.
So far it’s going okay. I’ve been three times and I’m starting to know names and people seem welcoming. My only issue is that everyone seems overwhelmingly straight atm. Like a lot of the talk is about the three members who have weddings planned in Ireland this summer, catholic priests and all. I think this will resolve itself though, once I get to know everyone well enough to find the gays or at least been known well enough to the group that they realise I’m REALLY QUEER on the inside if they haven’t worked it out already.
Who knows, maybe this time next month I’ll have found the all important super weirdos on the team as well so I can really settle into it.
It gets weirder as you get older. I am turning 44 this month, am single, and most of my friends, queer or straight, are coupled, some of them having kids, and I am…not.
So now I am the perpetual 3rd wheel of my friend circle. I do have lots of friends who don’t live in my city, and that’s awesome. I just want friends to hang out with in meatspace. It’s…easier said than done.
And I want to go to some of the Autostraddle meetups, but they look REALLY young, and I don’t want people to think I am some weird old lady creeper. I just wanna hang out with other queer people and talk about Clexa and shitty Indiana laws and cats and have feminist dance parties.
I hear ya. 43 here. All my friends my age are coupled up and never come out to play anymore. They just have backyard BBQs and watch football, which bores me to tears.
I ended up making a great group of friends, who are all at least 10 years my junior, but that actually works out, since culturally at least, I’m the same age. We ride bikes and go to shows, and generally clown around town, and it’s good fun.
Hey, don’t ever be afraid of this! If you want to go to an AS meet-up, you should rock on with your bad self. You should do the thing! People will be totally amped to talk Clexa and, I suspect, shitty Indiana laws. And everyone has an opinion about cats, so. Do the thing you want to do!
Hey, I’m 21 but I would love to talk about Clexa with you *specifically* because you’re 44 and I’m sure your perspective would be amazing!
The only older people I find creepy are gender essentialists/terfs or those who want to date very young people. Assuming you’re neither, you could be the respected Wizened Queer that us baby geese gather round for guidance on the Gay Path. :3
Hey, I’m also in the over 40 club, and have hesitated to go to AS meetups for the same reasons. Culturally, as VSW said, I’m the same age as people way younger than me. I still want to change the world and go to shows. Meanwhile, most people my age – gay or straight – seem to be sleepwalking through kids and mortgages and jobs, and stopped taking risks a long time ago. It’s so hard to backfill those empty spaces of people to hang out with when you’re the one who hasn’t settled down and played it safe. Life is so much better after 40, but finding your local queer tribe – needle in a haystack!
How many of us are in the over 40 club? (I’m 41.) I’ve always been afraid to own up to my age here b/c I didn’t want to be seen as the creeper, either. So glad I’m not the only one who posts, if not lurks, and who would like to have a tribe of like-minded folks to call her own.
And no, making friends doesn’t get any easier, whether you are queer or straight, married or single, older or less old, with children or child-free. It requires such vulnerability, and I’m such a shy introvert as it is.
That’s a good question. I’m wondering if the answer is buried in the AS community survey somewhere. Do you think there were enough of us to warrant our own category?
My guess is that that there aren’t too many of us, but more than it seems, because it rarely gets acknowledged. Most of us probably just lurk. Which might be unnecessary, since there are folks here saying point blank that they don’t mind the gap.
Feel free to message me if you (or anyone else) feels like discussing. Maybe we can stage a coordinated invasion of over-40 queers at the AS meetups.
Oh I sincerely wish we lived in the same city (I’m in Philly) bc I’m 35 and in the same boat and those are all the activities I enjoy too, hah. Hopefully we’ll both luck out at some point in our prospective communities…
Thank you for this! I’ve always found friends in fandom obsessions and now that I have a job/other adult ish that doesn’t let me spend hours writing fanfiction or frolicking in livejournal communities (RIP), it has definitely been an adjustment. Even commenting here puts my heart in my throat most of the time. But also, hi any and all NYC peeps! :)
Now that I realize that making friends with my fingers is a valid plan (cover photo), I have ten more friends!
ok this is a really late reply ’cause I am just reading any fun-looking AS article I can to procrastinate other stuff…but…this almost made me snort-giggle out loud. Congrats on your ten new friends, I bet you will get to do lots of fun things with them for the whole rest of your life, that sounds like a description of really good friends.
Meetup.com is where it’s at. My wife and I move around a lot and are constantly trying to make new friends. Meetup almost always has a group of LGBTQ folks that get together whether its for happy hour, outdoor activites, etc. If there isn’t a group, you can always start one! We did and the response was overwhelming. Plus, there’s no real awkward “Hi wanna be friends?” because everyone is there for the same thing, meeting people with similar interests.
Ron Swanson is my hero (have dated/been friends with many Ron Swansons.)
I just watched the final episode of Parks and Rec TODAY, ugh, I love Ron Swanson. I love that whole gang.
I feel like I’m sort of a weird exception to the rule. I had only a few friends in high school, NONE at all in undergrad , then again a small number in grad school and now that I’m out of school i have more friends than ever before, mostly through hobbies and volunteering. However, for some reason I seem incapable of finding queer friends. I’m the “lesbian friend” in every friend circle I’m in. Pretty much all my friends are straight women and their boyfriends. I have never had any close queer friends at all, even though I studied sexuality related stuff in grad school and did a lot of volunteering for feminist organizations. I also live in a massive city (Toronto) so it shouldn’t be this hard, but the only queer girls I know are failed OKCupid dates I sometimes awkwardly run into on the subway.
I feel this!
I’m going to be in Toronto the end of June! Hmu
I’m from the GTA as well and find it hard to meet new queer people, ironically! Such a big and gay city, too. So, nice to meet you. :)
Love the Autostraddlers Meet-Up Groups shout out! I started the Twin Cities Autostraddlers almost 3 years ago and it has changed my life for the better. I’m always getting feedback about how people have met besties and partners and hobby sharing pals through the group. :) If you’re in Minnesota and wanna hang, feel free to join!
I’m in Minneapolis and I’d love to join! I graduated from the U last year and a lot of my friends from that time have moved away. I have two friends living with each other nearby that I’ve known since middle school, but they’re both straight and I’d like to branch out more in my own community.
I used to go to a lot of meetups, but making the leap from seeing all the same people at these events to actually making friends that you hang out with outside of organized meetups is hard! Plainly asking people if they want to be friends is scary and awesome,but I always channel Anne Shirley for courage.
One of the best parts of being an adult is not having to be friends with people who are toxic. You can choose who to hang out with! You can choose to be alone rather than hanging out with shitty people! I suppose I am happy spending lots of time alone but I have gone through lots of friends in situations where I have come to realize that they aren’t worth it. Also, it is fun to meet new people who didn’t know you in your past life, like you can reinvent yourself or show the sides of yourself you want to show instead of being that weird queer girl in high school (me). There is so much to look forward to!
That all sounds totally cheesy but I am getting to the point of being my own best friend and having side friendships with other people who fill my friendship needs and are also good people. Good luck!
“One of the best parts of being an adult is not having to be friends with people who are toxic. You can choose who to hang out with!”
THIS! THIS SO HARD!
You can choose whom you hang out with as a kid pretty much just as much.
I got rid of so many friends because I didn’t realize how toxic they were until I grew up. Seems like I was the friend that people kept around to use as a verbal and social punching bag. As lonely as I get at times, I have a better time by myself than with toxic people.
This! I went through so many friendship break ups in my 20s, some of them uglier than relationship break-ups – mostly because I was really, really bad at setting boundaries in my youth and I had a lot of pruning to do once I started figuring out how to have healthier friendships.
The good news is that I had a lot less friendship drama in my 30s and now in my 40s. I have fewer friends now than I had 25 years ago, but I like them a lot better.
Thank you for this article! I’m moving to London this summer and was getting worried about having no pals, but now I’m feeling excited about different ways of making new friends. Thanks!
In the last 2-3 years I’ve made and lost so many friends. All of them were great at certain points even though overall they weren’t great friends overall, but I learned more from the ending of those friendships than being in them. The way people were shitty friends taught me more about what I want in a friendship, how I want to be treated, and how I should treat other people. Forming a bond with someone is really hard, its easy to say the wrong things or do something that isn’t very nice, but when there is a base of respect and willingness to be open and work things out those friendships are more likely to grow and be stronger. Someone once told that friends come and go when you need it most. I recently had a friend, very abruptly and rudely cut me out of their life, at first it was hard cause there was no closure at all, but honestly them not being a part of my life anymore has made me grow in great ways. And in their absence other people have entered my life. I do wish I knew how to make stronger friendships though. People seem to leave me just as easily as they enter my life. I’m tired of having to restart all the time just to have people fade out yet again.
yeah this is a great point; all relationships have a natural half-life, and it’s usually measured in months/years, not decades. Taking the pressure off of myself to make every friendship be like the Scooby Gang eternal friendship gang has helped.
Ending bad friendships or just being ok with growing apart is a thing I learned pretty recently.
Whenever you write you 1. Make me feel no longer alone in my experiences and 2. A little better about the world
I see people move in and out of my life so much too but it always seems well timed and for the best in the end. I wish I could be your friend Jay, for realz yo?
You always write great replies to my comments!!! We should be friends!
How do I get in touch with you without sharing my email with the whole internets???
(if you make an autostraddle account, you can use the site’s message system)
Yeah an autostraddle profile would be easiest! Then you can friend me through that and message me. Then we can exchange easy ways to communicate through that :D !!! I hope you do :)
I’m trying. I just have to figure out the odd payment structure?
You can sign up as a member and not a + member just so you know, in case that’s not what you mean to do
I’m shamelessly recruiting friends from work.
The ones I really click with, I try to keep in touch with over beer or coffee once in a while, sometimes, it’s less awkward to hang out in a group at First, though. Like having a dinner or brunch or movie night together, or helping one another out.
Another option: Take a course. Like a Language course or volunteer for something.
But, most of all, do something because you enjoy it, not because you’re hoping to meet people.
P.S.: I would like to second the fandom notion. It’s a conscious step to try and translate an online friendship into rl, but a lot of the time so.worth.it.
I’ve also gone the work route of making friends. It really surprised me how many of my coworkers shared common interests with me. I would also advise the beer or movie night if not only to see what folks are like outside of work. Great advice.
Making friends has always been difficult for me. Being an introvert is part of it, but I also have Asperger Syndrome, which makes social situations that much more awkward. When I lived in Chicago, though the queer community is huge there, it tends to be very cliquish. Now I’m back in Oklahoma and the queer community is smaller. I’m kind of isolated, but I do manage to get out and socialize, but mostly with either straight women or gay men.
Ok so I’m still at uni but had a really isolating situation the start of this academic year where I was still doing undergrad 1-2 years after all my friends graduated because of chronic illness. I’d also been often housebound the year before so had had no opportunity to make more friends.
The solution that worked for me was running for a position on the lgbt network committee. It meant that I had to go to lots of things and also that I always had a role in social situations, which reduces my anxiety a lot. It was pretty scary going to the first couple meetings but it worked!
Through one committee I got involved in some more and now I have a good circle of friends and friendly acquaintances and also my mostly queer mostly disabled coven which is super awesome. I’d definitely recommend taking on a (fun) responsibility for those who can – it helped me so so much in so many ways.
You should try out Krewe (www.gokrewe.com). It places you into a group with five of your peers (so it’s comfortable meeting up at first) and everyone lives within a half mile radius (so it’s convenient to meet up often and really get to know each other). Everyone’s welcome to sign up, and it only takes a few seconds to do so.
For me I’ve been more recently been making friends via apps and through Autostraddle of course.
Odd suggestion, but tinder has worked out for me really, but it introduce me to this lovely gentle being who I am friends with(who is slowly become even closer friend the more we hang). I know it’s not for everyone, but it could work as it lets one choose the age range of who you want to meet. Bumble looks like an even better option as it specifically has a mode for making friends(they call it bffs) with other people who want to make friends. Only issue I noticed with bumble is you can’t choose the gender of people you want to make friends with, and like tinder the app is very binary(seriously they all refuse to the gender I have in my fb profile), and more straight orient.
I feel like the article was perfect. It was the exact type of advice I needed a couple of months ago, but have been slowly learning by myself.
Like a lot of people mentioned, meetup.com is a good place to start. It might not work that well in smaller cities, but if you’re in bigger ones there can be some cool ones. I’ve been in Toronto since October, and while I haven’t made friends yet, I look forward to my board games meetup, and the girls in the group are great. Most of them seem straight, but they are extremely friendly. I limited my friends to pretty much queer women on college, but eventually lost all my friends because there we didn’t have a lot in common, so the advice to look for things you like is spot on!
Online gigs are a great one too! Allison Weiss did a (free!) show on ConcertWindow a couple of weeks ago, and a bunch of us from the comments section are now in a group DM on Twitter. Jenny Owen Youngs does them on StageIt every month as well, and so too do countless other artists, super indie, more mainstream, whatever. Maybe this only works if you’re a music person though haha – but I’ve found some pretty awesome people that way, even one in my city!
I went to an introvert meetup once! Half the people bailed before it started, it was awkward, and we never met up again. It was perfect.
I love this article–I’m single at 36 for essentially the first time in 16 years. I never realized how much of a social crutch being partnered was until now. It’s very lonely sometimes, but when I’m feeling strong, I go out and go to Queer Yoga and everyone is really welcoming and wonderful and I leave feeling amazing. When my social anxiety kicks into high gear I hide at home with my cats or read in the park.
“I went to an introvert meetup once! Half the people bailed before it started, it was awkward, and we never met up again. It was perfect.”
This is like one of my favorite articles ever because it makes me feel less outsider-y about being me and that’s always lovely.
I totally second the don’t mind the gap part and distance because I went on a writing intensive last year and I was the youngest out of all of the women there but in like four days, they’ve all become family and we still keep in touch (I saw one of the perform last week and it was like I had seen her just yesterday it was fantastic!) and it’s really something I never thought I could have.
So, um, I really agree with the post cause I went cause I love poetry right? And that opened up so much for me, just trying for that. It not only opened up my literary community (cause I’m doing stuff I never would’ve even dreamed of right now), but it opened up potential friendships too.
I just really like how this post is going cause the comments are really positive and I just love this site and all you so much.
i have hecka internet friends which i…did not think would happen(thanks tumblr!) and friends on the east coast(where i’m from) but am really lacking in the irl friend department as they are mostly straight but am finding some apps like Her or OKC you can make pals on! you can just put that you’re there for friendship and go from there! i met one of my internet pals on Her actually(they’re also in my area and we’ve never met in person so it’s…a lil bit weird)
&with internet friends sometimes they or you travel and they come and visit! my aus friend is coming to visit me and it’s gonna be a ~fun time~
&&i would love for someone to come up to me and say they wanna be friends with me that’s amazing i didn’t know people do that
&&&i’m very outgoing now but was a shy bby but also i have anxiety so mentally practicing what you’re gonna say sometimes helps like I started talking to my really close friend of nearly 3 years by sitting next to her in class and saying “uuuugh it’s hot in here”so you can do it!
This article has given me the nudge to try a few things. Thanks Ali!
Ok, deep breath, here’s a longshot; anybody here from/currently living in Turkey?
I am not from Turkey! I just thought I’d reply to say I applaud your long shot. :)
And that I hope you find your friends in Turkey and elsewhere too.
Heey! Thank you so so much :) I hope this will be true for every one of us!
Yes, thanks Ali for mentioning the Autostraddle meet-up groups! I’m here to keep representing AS Groups because seriously, everyone, my best friends and my partner and even opportunities to meet allies and new friends outside of queer world… so many awesome connections have happened because I took a courageous breath and hosted a meetup this one time about two years ago.
It make take a little bit of time and a little bit of gumption (willingness to say “hey I wanna be your friend” as Ali said) – but it’s so worth it. Autostraddle peeps are the best peeps to have in your corner.
If y’all need help making a meet-up, Ali already provided the most vital links, but feel free to message me on here, as well!
Ooh, this was my question from way back! Thanks so much for answering.
Twin Cities queermos, hit me up and let’s get ice cream.
I specifically looked up to see if you had an article up on this topic. It’s difficult to make friends when I’m in my head so much and have introverted, artistic tendencies. I give off bitchy vibes. Had a lot to do with my rbf :P I’ve thought of derby quite a bit and of looking into a soccer team.
Everyone in socal is l.a. city based. It’s so hard to find anyone in south east la cities.