Making friends when we are little was so easy. All you had to do was go play in your yard or ride your bike to the park to meet someone new. Heck recess was also a good place to form friendships, friendships that would get you through the beast that is high school.
I consider myself lucky, I grew up in small town Minnesota and had a core group of friends from my neighborhood. We had Tiny, Looney, I was Boobie (yeah don’t ask), and we had Smalls who was really just plain tall for her age. The four of us ruled the streets on our fancy dancer banana seat bikes and the adventures were always endless. With a dollar in our pocket we rode down to the John Speedy mart to get 10 cent candy and a soda, from there it was down to the levy where we’d lay on the grass and dare each other to put as many warheads in our mouths until we cried. I was usually the last one to cry, I think my record was 12 warhead sour candies. We lived in this bubble until divorce rocked our world and Looney moved away with her mom. Then it was just the three of us until Smalls moved. Over the years Tiny and I drifted apart and lost touch. Ahh to have those days back, those truely were the good ole days.
Yet when I go home I drive by their former houses expecting to see them at their bedroom windows. My parents are the only ones that remained on South Park Street. Everything is different now, the perfectly manicured lawns of the crotchety neighbors are now weed gardens, the park sits empty most days, John Speedy Mart is long gone and sadly it’s not safe to let your kid ride their bike alone. Those days I truly miss. Now that I am an adult I realize that my childhood was much much different from my peers. They always say “shit AJ that sounds like that movie “Now & Then.” Yeah that movie describes my childhood perfectly.
As I grew up and merged into the middle/high school I realized I wasn’t a cool kid. I wasn’t a jock, or an artsy kid, or even a nerd. I was just there and making friends was hard, yet somehow I did it. I found my little crew of outsiders and we loved each other for who we were and nothing more. High school was a shit show, enter the neighborhood bully who grew into my high school bully….. yeah that was fun, not. Then there was Mandy, oh Mandy, a girl who was jealous of me and accused me of a crime… yeah that’s a story for another day. Those two ladies hardened me and I closed up, I didn’t want to befriend people that could potentially hurt me. So I stuck to taking care of my flowers and raising fish in the aquaculture lab for my FFA projects.
Graduating high school meant two things; freedom and a new start. College is where I blossomed and came into my own. The friends I made at UW-Superior are my friends for life. Joy, can never get rid of me. Neither can Mitch or Birdie or John or Amy and so many others. College restored my faith in people and when I set out in the workforce I made friends left and right.
Work is a good place to make friends. You are stuck with them day in and day out. They see you at your best and they might also see you crying alone in your car on your lunch break, yeah I’ve had that day too. Happy Hour is made for judgment, no not the mean kind of judgment, the “hmm I like this person outside of work” kind of judgment. Happy Hour breaks down barriers and let’s the colors come out, just be careful and don’t say to many bad things about that your boss, a snitch might be afoot.
Some of my best friends have been met in the workplace. Sherri and I met at a pharmaceutical benefit management company. I was the annoying girl planning her wedding and showing her my napkin choices. Yet I grew on her like a fungus and she cannot shake me. LOL, she is mine and I am hers. The moral of that is, if you leave the company stay in touch with your work friends, just don’t leave them in their cube to cry alone. That’s just plain rude, new job doesn’t mean dump the old friends and make new ones. 🤷♀️ Text each other, send funny memes, go to brunch (drag brunches are the best), take a trip, heck go for a walk and checkout the hotties on the trail. And remember it takes two to make a friendship, if someone isn’t making a deposit in the friendship account call their ass out on it and if it doesn’t change hit the road. You do not have time for one sided friendships in adulthood.
I have friends from all areas of my work life. Jilliann and I met at Jenny Craig, she’s been my longest post college friend (sorry Sherri). I have gaggles of friends from my law firm days, we mostly just like each other’s posts and comment on the food porn photos, but hey it counts! Liking someone’s Facebook/social media posts counts as staying in contact. I have a slew of friends from my days at my old bank, Like Jake, I wouldn’t trade that kid in for anything. He gets me. Jake understands that silent Judgment is an art form and that there is no such thing as to many gummy bears and wine. Choose your work friends wisely and that wise choice will become your friend for life.
Work from home? Do you relate to a hermit crab? Afraid of people? Or just don’t like meeting weirdos in the wild. Well then I guess you will have to settle for a four legged friend……. I kid, I kid! But no really a four legged friend is probably a sure bet for you. If you are feeling a little social you could take said four legged friend to the dog park or on a walk through your neighborhood. And yes it is acceptable to stroll your cat in his stroller to the bar patio for cocktails. Have allergies!? Four legged not tour type, well then I guess you are just going to have to join a virtual book club, cooking club, wine club, craft club (ya know Covid) or volunteer at your local food bank and/or wherever you chose to volunteer your time. If the for mentioned are not your forte, you could always go to church……. Yup I AJ said that. I go to church and have met some amazing ladies at Bible study and in my life groups. I couldn’t have gotten through this last round of IVF without their love and friendship.
If church, volunteering, clubs, work, and four legged pals are not your thing…….. you could always just belly up to the bar. Look lonely and maybe someone will come by and invite you to join their trivia team. If that doesn’t work you could always stand on a street corner holding a sign that says “lonely! Adulting is hard, I need a friend.”