Making friends as an adult is hard.
Rebecca G. Adams a professor of sociology and gerontology at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro tells The New York Times that sociologists in the 1950s found that there were three needed conditions for making a close friend: proximity; repeated, spontaneous interactions; and a setting that not only lets, but also encourages, people to let their guard down and open up to each other.
Adams explains that this is why so many people meet their lifelong friends in college. A dorm is a friendship breeding ground.
The structured interactions that you had in school are gone. You no longer are forced to sit next to someone in class. You no longer have the option of popping next door to see if anyone wants to get something to eat before your lecture.
Instead you have to put yourself out there, be proactive, and hope for the best, when all you probably want to do is go home and hermit on the couch.
But friendships, especially female friendships, are some of the most important relationships a woman can have. Friends help you become the person you were meant to be.
So what happens if you suddenly realize you don't have any friends?
Maybe you moved to a new city, or had a schedule change that makes hanging out with your old group harder. Maybe you outgrew a friendship, or had kids and are looking for mom friends. Or, maybe you simply think it'd be good for you to interact with new people.
Whatever your reasons for wanting to find some new friends, wading in to those waters over the age of 30 can be daunting, but it is possible.
1. Think of it like dating, with slightly fewer games
On an early episode of their podcast Call Your Girlfriend, hosts and best friends Aminatou Sow and Ann Friedman discuss the perils of making new friends.
Sow says finding a new friend is like dating in that you "Put all your best qualities forward. What do you bring to the table? Don’t be your asshole self."
But unlike dating, Sow and Friedman suggest leaving out the games.
If you meet someone you like, follow up. Add them on Facebook, send them an email with a link to something you talk about. You're an adult looking for a friend, you are not cool, don't try to act like you are.
2. Keep your expectations in the realm of reality
Let's be real, it is very very unlikely that you're going to meet someone who wears the same size, loves The Bachelor, knows the lyrics to every Bette Midler song, can quote Goodfellas, and lives down the street.
Like Adams said, friendship comes down to proximity, spontaneous hangouts and openness. So don't count someone out if they don't love all the same things as you. Friends don't have to have everything in common. You just need to give a friendship the time it needs to develop.
3. Put yourself out there.
If you see a woman whos style you think is amazing, tell her. If you think your new coworker seems cool, ask her if she wants to have lunch. If you exchange numbers with someone and say we should hang out, ACTUALLY TEXT THEM.
When making a new friend, it's possible to get so far in your own head that you convince yourself it's weird for you to want to make a new friend.
If getting in the way of a romantic relationships is a cock block, then getting in the way of a friendship is a bud thud.
Don't bud thud yourself.
Get out of your head. Everyone wants and needs friends just as much as you do.