Friendships were so much easier when we were younger. We’d run down the street, knock on a friend’s door to see if they could play. And if they couldn’t? No worries, we’d see them at school the next day. Life was simpler when our lives revolved around the three-block radius of our school zone.
Now I live in another city, with most of my social circle 2200 kilometres away. Before, it would be easy to meet up for Friday night drinks or grab a coffee; now, it’s glitchy zoom calls and photoshopping myself into pictures. My friendships take energy and maintenance, and it’s not just the long-distance ones.
Don’t get me wrong, friendships should be effortless, in that conversation flows easily, and you laugh without restraint. But they take work. Everyone is so busy, between jobs, school, other relationships and just general adulting. In non-COVID times, I’m usually booking things months and months ahead, putting it in my calendar so I won’t forget or double-book myself (which I have).
When we were kids, we made friends by finding things in common. You love Sailor Moon? Me too! Your favourite colour is red? Mine too! Instant friendship. I remember once I saw a classmate at McDonald’s and we were best friends for a whole week afterwards. But making friends as an adult is so much more awkward. At work, we get to know our coworkers and can build friendships there. Sometimes we meet new people through other friends or at a party but making a new friend has become complicated.
Friendships were simple before raging hormones converted us into sex-addled maniacs. Now almost every compliment has an unspoken (or spoken), “I’m not hitting on you” implied within it. Even if you have an established friendship, there is always that looming sense of “what if” hanging over your head. A new friend can always have that potential to be more, which is a different type of confusing in itself. Not that I want to jump all of my friends, but like, I could.
This last year has been interesting, as I’ve had to build a new social circle in a pandemic. My classes are all on zoom, which means there’s no idle chitchat beforehand or shared office spaces to establish things in common. Friendships had to start with a cold-open; someone had to take the step and send the first message. This could be mitigated with questions about school or other things in common, but it was still staring at a blank message chat and slightly wondering if they would reply (or be annoyed or secretly hate you – though that may just be me). Despite all of that, I somehow managed to make a few friends, though it was a lot of putting myself out there, which, not my fave. It’s all been pretty… vulnerable.
Adult friendships are tricky and weird and sometimes awkward as you establish boundaries. But there’s something exciting about making new friends and learning from them. And it’s actually refreshing to be with people who only know who you are at this moment, without any of the history of who you were. Whether you’ve been best friends since Kindergarten or met last week, make sure to let your friends know how fantastic there are, especially now when we can’t physically see each other. So, like, say hi or something. Send a funny meme or small care package. Or a big care package. Whatever you need to do, let your friends know how much you appreciate them, because, let’s be honest, it’s too much work to make new ones. And I guess loyalty and all that.