I have kind of a vulnerable question to throw out to you. Do you have any advice on how to make friends as an adult? I am 29 years old and I moved to Boston from NYC almost two years ago with my fiancé. I always had a lot of friends in school and loved having my close group of girlfriends who are now scattered all over the country. I love my fiancé, and I am happy at work, but that other component of my life is missing and I’m having trouble balancing working full time and finding friends. Any advice you have would be greatly appreciated!
Love, Unbalanced in Boston
Dear Unbalanced in Boston,
Reading this makes me furrow my un-botoxed forehead and want to hug you tight (as I seriously reconsider injections). Oh, my sweet love, clearly you are a “girl’s girl” and being a “girl’s girl,” while in my opinion, is the best kind of girl to be, it also means life can be kinda lonely until you find your tribe. My guess is with a new job, a fiancé, and a move to a new city, you are a busy little bee. If my hunch is correct, you’re gonna be just fine. Here’s what I know you already know, but maybe you need to hear from me…
Good and lasting friendships are magic. They are sprinkled in our lives like fairy dust. It’s really not so different from falling in love. We fall in love with our women friendships and need them just as much (sometimes more than) our romantic loves. But they also don't always happen organically.
You’re the newbie and you’re gonna have to make a little extra effort in Beantown AND you're also right; making friends as an adult can be hard. It’s work. And it also, as you so wisely recognize, requires being vulnerable. You can’t march across the playground anymore and ask someone to play with you, an hour later declaring them your bestie. Well, you could, but it might result in sideways glances from parents and a possible arrest.
So, what’s a lonely girl with a full life to do in unbalanced Boston?
First off, you have to smile. I know it sounds like I might kick into a Disney song right now, but it’s true; you have to lead with a smile. It might sound silly and I know it’s stupidly simple, but smiling at people, even strangers, leads to good stuff! Not him, not the guy sitting across from you on the “T” as you read this, but the woman in the checkout line at the grocery store in front of you, and the fashionable lovely little thing shopping in your favorite store who you make eye contact with. Smile. And make sure the smile reaches your eyes. That’s how people know it’s heartfelt.
Get involved. I know, I know, you’re busy. So is everyone!! But the Boston winter is over, the trees are blooming soft pale pinks, whites, and baby greens and finally, it's time to get outside and get in it! Use your weekends in between planning for that wedding to set yourself up for meeting people. Pick a charity and get involved on the ground floor. Soon you’ll be accepting dinner party invites and coffee meet ups with women who are as lovely and as giving as you! WIN/WIN!!
SoulCycle. I happen to know Boston has a vibrant SoulCycle community. Get your ass on a bike and smile at a few strangers in the dark. It’s ok, I promise; it's not that weird. Ok, it's a little weird, but it works. Team members turn into friends. I personally guarantee it. I’m sure you can do the same with a yoga class too, but YAWN!!! I mean, Namaste; whatever floats your boat.
Join a synagogue or a church and go to a few young professional gatherings. Place a call to the Rabbi or Priest and ask if they can introduce you to a few other couples your age and stage of life. It sounds like an eye roll, but this is how you make it happen, kiddo.
One of my dearest friends @zhush once upon a time was strongly encouraged (ok, bullied) by her baby nurse to call me. Home with her third baby, she knew I was new to the area, preggers and lonely and @zhush wanted nothing to do with reaching out. The thought of connecting with a stranger was an absolute chore, an eye roll. Now, 13 years later, we vacation together, our husbands are pals and her children feel like family to me. MAKE THE EFFORT TO CONNECT.
Lastly, and I hate to say this, cause I know it’s not exactly what you want to hear, BUT children change everything. I am not saying this to encourage you to get pregnant tonight. In fact, take a peek into my household of low-grade fevers and pink eye this week and then double up on your birth control! Trust me! BUT kids are great connectors. So, if you do decide to go down the road of children and parenting, soon (ish) you’ll be meeting other moms in the park, at baby groups, over coffee and strollers. And if you don’t want kids, don’t ever underestimate the power of a dog park and a new puppy.