Self

The Real Reason It's So Hard For Adults To Make New Friends

Photo: Ground Picture / Shutterstock
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For most of my life, making friends has been easy. Growing up, I was constantly surrounded by teammates, roommates, and bros (yes, bros) who loved and cared about me.

But a few months ago, everything changed.

I moved away from the epicenter of crappy apartments and dollar slices known as New York to a faraway, much flakier place called Los Angeles.

I knew a handful of people out west but, in general, I was looking — and looking hard — for the company of male friends, because what's one dude without bros? A dreaded only child.

As far as I know, there's no Tinder for finding people to watch basketball games with (you're welcome for the billion-dollar idea). So, I started reaching out to everyone to look for friendships: friends, friends of friends, and even acquaintances of acquaintances.

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"Yo man just moved to LA. You know any cool dudes out here?"

Now at this point, I'm fine with coming across as a little desperate because hey, I'm yearning for some straight-male-on-straight-male time. But see, when you're a "grown-up" making friends is hard.

Fortunately, my desperate "dude-seeking-dude" e-mails were beginning to pay off and I had a ton of guys to follow up with. So, I shot out a casual: "Hey man, I live on the east side but could meet up wherever, wanna grab a beer?"

After sending out a few, I began to reconsider. Was I coming across as too desperate? Did I really want to say that I'll meet up wherever? I've got something to offer!

Insecurity and impatience flared up a voice of anxious reason. Beggars can't be choosers, but wait... when did I become a beggar?

No longer in my early 20s, I've started to prioritize my time. And I get it — the idea of hanging out with some rando isn't that exciting. See, when you're my age, finding a friend is really no different from finding a significant other: there's no time for BS.

Neither bro nor hipster, I fall into a weird category. I played lacrosse in college, but also love sketch comedy. In theory that's a good thing because I'm versatile, right?

Yet I learned that too much range can be a problem. Oftentimes when being set up with potential friends, I just wanted to say, "There's no chemistry here, dude."

Like the comedy nerd who was balding and nebbish whom I met for ramen. Walking through the door, I knew it was over.

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Then there was the frat dog who wanted to grab wings. "Dude," he hit me on the shoulder, "LA has the hottest Asian chicks. You're gonna love it!" I told him I had a girlfriend to which he responded, "Sucks."

And then, of course, there's the guy who was great — funny, cool, like we could actually be friends! And when I texted him, I heard nothing back. I haven't been single in a while, but this was giving me a taste, and I don't miss it.

I was so persistent, so eager to find friends and find them fast. I had to wonder, was I forcing it? Like the person who always asks, "Do you know any single people?"

Even if I ran a Bro-thel (sorry, had to), I wouldn't introduce the over-eager person to anyone. S***, am I that person? What's wrong with me?!

After countless conversations with my girlfriend, parents, and friends back east, they all had the same response: it takes time. Of course, at the moment I was like, "You guys are stupid and don't get it."

But the truth is, they're right. Nothing is wrong with me. I'm fine! Hell, I'm pretty great, and while meeting cool people is hard, it happens.

You can mock bros as much as you want, but do they love their other bros? I am who I am, and I guess I'm out here looking for love in the form of high-fives and chest bumps.

But in the words of The Supremes, and then Phil Collins, and even The Dixie Chicks, "You can't hurry love."

With that said, if you're a cool dude in LA, get in touch. I'm around.

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Alex Alexander is a pseudonym. The author of this article is known to YourTango but is choosing to remain anonymous.

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