How to Make Friends When You’re an Adult and Also a Weirdo
It’s difficult, but possible.
Trying to make friends as an adult can feel like attempting to solve a puzzle where nothing fits, because all the pieces are shaped like dinosaurs.
And when you’re weird? It’s even harder! Normal adults are everywhere and they’re hogging the friendships, with their talk of investments and polar fleece and Pinterest fails. Often weird folks give up, resigning themselves to lonely weekends spent photoshopping people’s heads onto pigeons and writing pithy tweets.
It wasn’t always this hard. Remember when you were little?
As a three-year-old, all you had to do was wander up to another three-year-old and say, “Hey, you’re my friend, now.” After that, regardless of whether they stole your Micro Machine or you wet the bed during a sleepover, the two of you were friends. Because three-year-olds are all weirdos.
But the older you get, the harder it becomes to make friends. There are any number of reasons.
- Maybe some people get less weird.
- Maybe circumstances don’t bash you into other people as much.
- Maybe it’s because we’re all one heartbeat away from supergluing our phones to our eyeballs.
Or, maybe we just get a little pickier.
The list of friendship requirements does tend to grow as people get more discriminating with their time. One day you’re thirty and suddenly things like “doesn’t roll down the window after farting in the car” and “refuses to vote for anyone whose name starts with a vowel” matter more than they used to.
There’s weird and then there’s WEIRD.
And while some friends are for life, many aren’t. Old friends drift away. Maybe they move or marry or join cults dedicated to collecting and worshipping toenails.
It’s perfectly natural.
But if you don’t want to go full Miss Havisham you’re going to have to make a few friends to fill in the resulting gaps. (Not that futzing around an old mansion in a white dress sounds like the worst of fates.) Friendship is difficult, but also rewarding. Friends calm you down at scary movies and convince you not to wear contrasting plaids. They also help you live longer.
So, in a way, your friends are the only thing standing between you and the cold embrace of death, which means you should collect as many as possible. Keep them in your breast pocket and throw them at the grim reaper when he gets too close.
Internet Friends are Real Friends
Well-adjusted, snotty people will claim that internet friends don’t count, since you haven’t met each other’s mothers and you’ve never stared into each other’s eyes while naming the bands you like. (That’s what friends do, right?)
As an introvert who is more impressive in writing than in person, I’ve made a number of internet friends over the years. And, guess what? They count. They all know how to count. Some of them past one hundred, even.
A small handful of them turned out to be murderers, but murderers need friends, too. Also, if you think about it, the people you meet in real life are just as likely to be murderers.
Marry an Outgoing, Popular Person
For me, this step has been absolutely key to building a bustling social life. When you marry someone who is well-loved, warm and friendly, that person does all the work of attracting other human beings. You get a ton of invitations without putting in any effort. Sometimes too many invitations!
With this influx of random people flowing through your life, odds are you’ll start clicking with a few of them.
If you must marry an introvert, because you love them soooo much, remember they’ll likely drag you down into social isolation, misery and early death. When this happens, I won’t be around to say “I told you so,” because I’ll be hanging out with all the friends I stole from my husband.
Don’t be Afraid to Appear Desperate
As a young person, desperation is the ultimate friend repellent. The smell of desperation on a teen can clear a room faster than egg farts. But, as you get older, it starts to operate a little differently.
The world is filled with other adults who are less worried about seeming cool and more concerned with escaping the clutches of death and loneliness. Be bold. Be honest. State your fears, your desires and your shortcomings as if they’re awards you won for general awesomeness. (This is also the secret to succeeding on twitter.)
Here is a script for the next time you meet someone new:
“I don’t know about you, but I’m finding it difficult to make friends these days! I’d do anything to go on a hike with someone or maybe meet for drinks. ANYTHING. You have the most beautiful eyes I’ve ever seen. What are you doing this Saturday? I’m so lonely. Let’s be best friends. Would you like to share my coffin when we both die at the very old age of 107?”
Keep Your Eyes Open for Stealth Weirdos
There are a few folks out there who, at first glance, might appear to be perfectly normal adults. They have mortgages and jobs and matching socks. Probably not great friend material.
That’s what you think!
These Stealth Weirdos have a secret prompt that transforms them into hilarious demons of chaos. Maybe that prompt is a song by Sting. Maybe it’s a certain drink at a specific bar. It could be a ticklish spot, the existence of Halloween, or mention of a terrible, but well-loved movie.
And, suddenly Joe, who you expected to wax rhapsodically about credit unions all night, is talking in funny voices and weighing the merits of becoming a birthday clown.
You can’t assume anyone is normal these days.
And stealth weirdos make great friends, because they’re more likely to loan you money for your questionable business endeavors.
Do not despair! Even if it feels like you’re alone, there are tons of adults looking for a friend just like you. Right now, someone is desperately wishing for a knitting buddy, a companion to drink milk with, or a comrade who is as deeply into strip bowling as they are.
Good luck, my friends.