Unsolicited advice: how to make friends as an adult

photo by Jenny Moloney, who I forced into friendship after she made me laugh my way through endless photos like this at my own wedding

The last time I was tasked with the job of making new friends Abercrombie & Fitch was the main source of my clothing (that white eyelet ruffly mini skirt that fell exactly 1 inch below my tush was my pride and joy) and The Facebook was an actual physical book you received in your freshman orientation packet. Though much has changed in my life since I was 18 and a freshman at NYU, the process of making friends is really pretty similar. In fact, I’ve drawn on some of my early college experiences in the last month as I attempt to befriend my fellow Austinites. I’ve also learned a few new tricks, too. Here is some unsolicited advice on making friends as an adult:

  1. Say “YES” to everything. As a freshman in college that meant attending a Wet Hot American Summer movie showing in Times Square with fanatics all dressed in costume- never having actually seen the movie myself, never mind not (yet) being a fan. Friday night shabbat dinner at the Jewish Student Center? Why not? Weird party off the J train in Brooklyn (and I’m not talking about the same weird party off the J train you went to last weekend, this was another time, Brooklynites)? Yes! Study group at the back of Bobst Library? Absolutely! Dinner with your roommate’s second cousin once removed? But of course! Say yes to everything is essential for making friends.
  2. A small, preferably cute, but definitely small being is an essential. Luke and Digby have been excellent companions in my friend-finding missions. Luke makes great entries at the playground by taking other children’s toys or pointing at people’s clothing and yelling “SHIRT! BLACK SHIRT!” (except you know it doesn’t sound like “shirt” and much like another word similar to shirt in spelling but oh so different in meaning). Great conversation starter. Digby makes our introduction by sitting on unsuspecting, potential friend’s laps and panting like he is about to die, which always brings on lots of attention and concern. He is really meant for the stage, that one.
  3. You are desperate. Act the part. That’s right. This is no time to play it cool, folks. You have to have friends to play it cool. And you don’t, remember? Recently at the playground a kind mom struck up conversation with Mike and me. It was all going so normally, she even offered to give me her number, which is when I said, “Oh, yes! Because I really have like no friends here!” Mike thought that was a bit too much. He has a much smoother approach. I like the in-your-face please take me in like a little lost puppy approach. Each to their own.
  4. Move to Austin. The stereotype is true. People are so gosh darn niiiiiiice. And also, I’m here! So you can skip all of the above and just hang with me. Problem solved.
  5. Shamelessly write a blog post about how to make friends.  🙂