MAKING FRIENDS AS AN ADULT

“No es que no seas interesante, hacer amigos siendo un adulto es difícil”. / “You’re not uncool, making friends as an adult is hard”

Cuando era pequeño, parecía que era posible acercarse a cualquier persona y entablar una amistad en pocos minutos. Una vez cruzado el umbral de la adultez (que no sabría decir si hay una edad concreta para eso), el hacer amigos se convirtió en una misión un poco complicada./ When I was a kid, it seemed like I could walk up to anybody and be friends in a couple of minutes. Once I crossed the threshold of adulthood (I couldn’t say if there is a specific age for that), making friends as an adult became a bit of a complicated mission.

De acuerdo a la psicóloga y profesora de la Universidad de Maryland, Marisa G. Franco, conforme crecemos, hacer amigos ya no es algo que ocurra de manera orgánica. Cuando nos hacemos mayores, crear nuevas relaciones se vuelve complicado porque los adultos aprendemos a esconder nuestra verdadero YO presentando una imagen con filtros para evitar lastimarnos, lo cual obviamente termina levantando muros a la hora de relacionarse. Tal vez no todos los niños éramos iguales, pero creo que a mi no me importaba tanto si mis amigos en el kinder me veían llorando./ According to psychologist and University of Maryland professor Marisa G. Franco, as we get older, making friends no longer happens organically. When we get older, creating new relationships becomes complicated because as adults we learn to hide our true self by presenting an image with filters to avoid hurting ourselves, which obviously ends up raising walls when it comes to make new relationships. Maybe not all kids were the same, but I guess I didn’t care so much if my friends in kindergarten saw me crying.

En los últimos años en Barcelona, lejos de la cultura en la que crecí y con un montón de retos profesionales personales, he terminado haciendo muchas concesiones sobre la amistad. Hablando con Akna (chequen su blog y newsletter) sobre este tema, empecé a pensar en todos los preceptos o cosas que damos por hecho sobre las relaciones amistosas y lo que nos impide expandir nuestros círculos sociales y por tanto recolectar otras experiencias de vida./ In recent years in Barcelona, far from the culture in which I grew up and with a lot of personal professional challenges, I have ended up making many concessions about friendship. Talking with Akna (check out her blog and newsletter) about this topic, I started to think about all the precepts or things we take for granted about friendly relationships and what prevents us from expanding our social circles and thus collecting other life experiences.

Por ejemplo, tener un amigo que te lleve 10 o 20 años es posible o aprender que esa nueva amiga que conoces en la oficina o en la clase de yoga es tan válida como tus amistades de la infancia. Las amistades idílicas que se muestran en la cultura pop no siempre son posibles, yo atesoro mucho a mis amistades de la infancia-adolescencia, pero viviendo fuera de México y con muchos de esos amigos repartidos por varios lugares del mundo, tengo que aprender a acercarme al término amistad de otras maneras./ For example, having a friend who is 10 or 20 years older than you is possible, or learning that a new friend you meet at the office or in yoga class is just as valid as your childhood friendships. The idyllic friendships that are shown in pop culture are not always possible, I treasure my childhood-adolescence friendships a lot, but living outside of Mexico and with many of those friends scattered around the world, I have to learn to get closer to friendship in other ways.

¿De qué manera podría aprender de esa inteligencia infantil para aplicarla en mi vida diaria?/ How could I learn from that childhood intelligence to apply it in my daily life in order to make new friends as an adult?

La amistad siendo adultos es una cosa que se trabaja, como una planta que se riega. Creo que podemos aceptar que todxs estamos en un sube y baja con días llenos de ocupaciones: trabajo, poner la lavadora y sacar tiempo para ver TikTok. Sin embargo sacar esas dos horitas un martes cualquiera para quedar con un nuevo amigo también puede ser un plan refrescante o una manera de aderezar la cotidianidad./ Friendship being adults is something that is worked on, like a plant that has to be watered. I think we can accept that we are all in an up and down with busy days: work, putting on the washing machine and finding time to watch TikTok. However, taking out those two hours on any given Tuesday to meet a new friend can also be a refreshing plan or a way to spice up everyday life. 

No podemos tener una amistad sin hacer un pequeño esfuerzo o una concesión de vez en cuando. Si las amistades son de 2 o más personas habrá que ceder y entender que son como una planta y no como una app que puedes tener en segundos. Y hablando de esto, me sorprende que haya tantas apps para ligar, pero que las apps para hacer amigxs sin ningún tipo de previsión romántica no sean una cosa más extendida./ We cannot have a friendship without making a little effort or a concession from time to time. If a friendships is formed by 2 or more people, you will have to give in and understand that they are like a plant and not like an app that you can have in seconds. And speaking of this, I am surprised that there are so many apps to have dates, but those apps to make new friends as an adult without any type of romantic foresight are not a more widespread thing.

En 2016 Krysti Wilkinson de The Huffington Post publicó un artículo llamado “Somos la generación que no quiere relaciones” analizando las nuevas maneras de relacionarnos, pero no sólo hablando de las redes sociales sino del modelo de sociedad que tenemos en este nuevo siglo, argumentando que queremos tener relaciones profundas pero no estamos dispuestos a entrenar esas relaciones o a ir muy en serio./ In 2016 Krysti Wilkinson of The Huffington Post published an article called «We are the generation that does not want relationships» analyzing the new ways of relating, but not only talking about social networks but also about the model of society that we have in this new century, arguing that we want to have deep relationships but we are not willing to train those relationships or go very seriously.

Así como hay miles de visiones románticas e idealizadas sobre el amor de pareja, me gusta pensar que lxs amigxs (independientemente de si los conoces de poco o mucho tiempo) no sólo sirven para ir de fiesta, sino también para proporcionar una sensación de pertenencia que permite hacer frente al día a día y por ende ayudarnos a crecer./ Just as there are thousands of romantic and idealized visions of love as a couple, I like to think that friends (regardless of whether you have known them for a short time or a long time) are not only good for partying, but also for providing a sense of belonging that allows us to face the day to day and therefore help us to grow.

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  • Hola! Pablo,

    I loved this post. I could not even imagine myself on the dating scene, with how the rules for making friendships or romantic ones exist today. I agree, making friendships as a child comes so much more easily for most. At the younger age, you do not yet have the foresight of others expectations or judgements upon you. Just like romantic apps, there really should be a lot more for people who are genuinely just looking for friendships. Based on what my Sister told me at the weekend, it seems more people are looking for commitment free relationships in everyway. For some, the meaning of a pen pal is lost on them.

    Natoya
    juanitalikes.com

    • Thanks for stopping by Juanita!

      I totally agree with your words and I have had similar experiences when it comes to connect with new people in my adulthood!

      Best, xx

  • Oh my…your art is absolutely stunning. I just love it. I read the English translation for how one can make friends as an adult. I love how you compared it to taking care of a plant. I’m terrible at being a plant mom and that’s also the case with making adult friends. Hahah. I have made friends in my adult years but I feel my introvertedness restricts the desire to always be around people. I take socializing in little doses. Thank you for this post and your accompanying art. Please do more 🙂 xoxo

  • Excellent topic. I definitely agree that it is not always easy to make new friends as an adult, especially because we have so many responsibilities. If you care about something or someone, you find time for it. Nevertheless, stress and responsibilities often make people more withdrawn. It is like a closed circle. Opening up and being vulnerable isn’t easy.

    I agree with your comparison of friendship with a plant. We need to water our friendship with love or they won’t last. There is a degree of commitment thatvis implied in a real friendship and some people are afraid of any kind of
    commitment.

    People understand the value of networking but they do not understand the value of a true friendship. I think modern people expect too much from relationships & friendships, but at the same time they are not willing to put in the time and the work to make them happen.

    I think the popularity of dating apps proves how empty the society has become. Some people find love with dating apps, but so many are too imature and emotionally closed for love and even friendship. People are starting to see and treat each other as replacable objects. That is really a shame. True friendship is priceless.

    P.S. Thank you for your kind comments.

    • Hello Ivana, I hope you’re doing good and thank you so much for your honest words in this comments. As you well said opening up could make us feel vulnerable.

      In the end taking care of friendship is a way that we have to pave and it includes some commitment 🙂

      And the last sentence makes a lot of sense in the current scenario, when we go through people as they were replacable things or earasable apps.

      Take care!

  • Excellent post, Pablo! I think when we were children, we had much more time to be social. Adults have a lot of responsibilities that eat into time and energy. I have 3 very close friends – not including my husband – and none live near me. (Although for awhile 2 of them lived in the same city as me. That was nice.) You are right, it takes time to achieve that close level of friendship, and a lot like dating, many people you meet won’t ultimately be compatible for a close friendship. But it does take a time and energy investment to find out. And it’s tougher for introverts whose batteries can be easily drained by a lot of social interaction. While not the type of friendship where you can go do something with another person, I feel that online friendships have value too. I am close to several people I’ve never met. LOL! And one friend that I met online, I have now met in person, so that was awesome.

    Michelle
    https://mybijoulifeonline.com

    • Thank you so much for your lovely words, Michelle!

      Ugh yes, adult responsibilities consume a lot of time but it is nice to look for new ways to expand our social circles iff possible. And as you I am happy about friends that I’ve never meet in the real life!

      Take care friend!

  • Its true the older you get it does seem a lot harder, I think it has to do with life style: as a a kid you play, as a young adult you go to school/college and then go out and socialize a lot but as you get older you do not do much of this. So there is less opportunity to meet and interact and yes less emotional lol more reserved which kind of makes a difference too. But I have made new friends through blogging so that has been great. Hobbies are good way to meet new people as adults.

    Allie of
    http://www.allienyc.com

    • Hey Mia, so happy to see you here!

      Thank you so much for checking out the post! Same as you, blogging have helped to make friends all around the globe and some of them even in real life :)!

  • I’ve actually met one of my best friends on Bumble for friends! I felt that I needed some fresh perspectives in my life and I thought I could be fun to get to know a new person. But I didn’t have a natural way for it, as it was covid, and I don’t really attend yoga classes etc. So I decided to give bumble friends a go, and it worked instantly for me! Probably because the people that are on the app are there for the same reason: to connect and get to know new people. Aka, people are open-minded and curious. So a big recommend for anyone who wants to socialize, meet new people and just enrich your life! Xx

  • Ah Pablo, this is such a thoughtful and thought provoking post! I also recall a time when I could just walk up to anyone and become friends in minutes. The last time that happened was in college. Things definitely become more difficult as an adult when we are no longer as carefree and have more real life concerns that are not so fun like making a living and taking acre of ourselves. With all that it can be much harder to maintain friendships. You nailed it when you said that friendships need work and there is a level of give and take to be expected. That article you cited makes such a good point that nowadays people want the facade of a relationship without the work of a relationship which is really sad but it seems so true. I have to wonder how much social media has played a role in this type of disintegration of relationships where people would rather just meaningless contact rather than long term friendships because it’s just easier. I lost some friends during the pandemic when I realized that they preferred having a superficial relationship once going out to do something fun was out the window. It was sad but I also realized that I’m better off. Thank you for giving me something to think about and for the lovely art to admire 😀

    • Hello Rowena, thank you so much for your meaningful comment on this blog post, this means a lot to me 🙂 !

      I am beyond excited to read that this article inspired you to think about new possibilities to expand your social circles!

      Thank you again!❤️

  • Hola Pablo! How you doin’?
    I’ve took some days off from socials and blog since here in Italy we’ve got 2 long week ends one afther the other, and I’ve profited to recharge and relax. Even if I love to stay online, sometimes I really need to disconnect myself.^^
    Anyway I’m back now and I was very happy to have found your lovely comments on my blog!

    So here we are with another very intersting and challenging topic!
    To be honest I’ve never had any difficult to make friends, as child and as adult as well.
    Yes, basically I am a pretty open and extrovert person, but probably this is even because the place I live: here in Italy people is generally very open to make friends, and go out together, and so on, at any age.
    We live the culture of «to be in company and being friends» since we born, so it’s easy to keep that abit even as adult.
    And this even if you live in big cities like Rome (in small towns, especially in the south, this phenomenon is much more evident) you rarely can find someone that has difficult on making friends: it’s like a web of connections, you go out with friends of friends and became friends with someone new, and so on…(i hope I was been clear)
    In fact, here those dating apps aren’t seen very well!^^’

    Of course, as adult there are more difficulties on finding someone good for you just because we tend to have different lives: who’s married, who’s single, who’s got children, who travels a lot work… It’s not very easy to build a friendshipwith someone, for ex., who’s married with chid when you’re single and don’t want child, even if that persone seems so nice and fun.
    While when we were children we were all in the same status.

    Anyway I totally agree on what you’ve said: friendship is like a plant and needs commitment.
    On the other side you should be happy to find time to your friends if you really like them, if not better not invest too much energy in something that feels wrong from the start….
    To me it’s all about finding that feeling that makes you feel like somehow «bond» with the other person, if you don’t feel realxed and at ease with him/her better let it go.

    Supercool illustrations (as usual)!!!
    Have e great week,
    Baci!
    S
    https://s-fashion-avenue.blogspot.com

    • Hola Silvia! So happy to see you over here once again. I hope you have enjoyed your Easter break 🙂 It is mandatory to have a social media break from time to time, don’t you think?

      Thanks for all the detailed feedback and for sharing your experiences with me. The commitment is necessary in any relationship right?

      Thanks for the compliments tho! 🙂

  • hi fungi!
    i hope your birthday week has been well!

    i really appreciate this post because i feel like as we grow older we have different perspectives regarding friendship compared to when we were young
    i feel like now it is more about quality rather than quality
    and yes like you said this group of friends that we feel connected with can be found anywhere, mostly from the same community or activities that we are in like yoga or even blogging

    also as i grow older i feel i appreciate my friendship more and would love to have a kind of friendship that is supportive of each other on a deeper level

    • Hi there, thank you very much for your birthday wishes here and on Instagram!

      I agree with you in the fact that quality is always better over quantity, and that’s why friendship needs a certain commitment in order to make them special over time 🙂

  • No puedo sentirme más identificada con este post. Todo lo que haz comentado me ha pasado por la cabeza pero no encontraba palabras para explicarlo tan bien como tú. Siento que somos muchos los que queremos hacer amistades nuevas y conocer gente pero no terminamos de conectar con nadie. Sin duda alguna, yo no temo hacer relaciones, temo más bien no poder hacerlas.
    PD. Tú arte es precioso e inspirador. No me lo esperaba.
    Abrazos y otro más, Pam

    • Qué alegría verte por aquí Pam 🙂

      Muchísimas gracias por sincerarte sobre este tema que últimamente me da muchas vueltas por la cabeza.

      Abrazos!

  • Amando los toques de verde Bott*ga Ven*ta y las personitas de la ilustración.

    Definitivamente es un reto tener (pero sobre todo mantener) las amistades de adultez, se desvanecen al menor desencanto y el seguimiento es complicado, aunque algunos factores como algún pasatiempo o interés en comun ayudan… Dicho esto, en definitiva se aprecian las pocas amistades que se conservan con el paso de los años por que son más genuinas y se hace un vinculo mas profundo.

    Gracias por tus reflexiones y traer a tema estas cosas de adultos que siempre están en la mente pero pocas veces se externan. ¡Un abrazo Pablo!

    • Ay qué alegría leer tu comentario por aquí Adán ❤️ Definitivamente el verde Bott*ga Ven*ta se me quedó grabado en la mente y no creo que se vaya pronto, jeje.

      Es un tema que me ha dado muchas vueltas por la mente últimamente, pero siempre encontrando alguna posibilidad para expandir el círculo social y tener nuevas posibilidades 🙂

  • Ayyy, ¡tema favorito! Todavía nos da para muchas conversaciones jaja Las amistades son un pilar esencial de nuestras vidas y es bonito celebrarlo constantemente. Gracias también por la mención

  • Pablo, I can’t thank you enough for writing about this topic. I have really struggled to make friends offline as an adult especially since I’m really introverted. It’s nice to know I’m not the only one who struggles with this. I love the info you shared from the psychologist. We really do hide our true selves from others a lot more than when we’re kids. I really love the illustration with the green palm trees btw!

    Jill
    https://jilliancecilia.com/

    • Oooh thank you so much for your kind words Jill!

      I also have a lot of struggles when it comes to expand social circles, but little by little I am trying to think of new ways to make friends in the city 🙂

  • Hey Fungi!

    Ohh wow this is so true. I usually easily make friends with people that are older than me. It’s interesting how easily we bond over same interests or hobbies. I like that as adults we can really make meaningful friendships that can last longer than the ones when we’re teenagers or kids. But definitely any kind of friendship has to be looked after, by making an effort to spend time together and check up on each other.

    http://www.fashionradi.com

    • Hello Radi! So happy to see you here again 🙂

      As you I can easily make new friends with people that is older than me, and that’s amazing since you can get a lot of perspectives of life that you didn’t have till that moment!

      Thanks for checking out the post!

  • Hey Fungi!

    I hope you have a wonderful day! Thank you for sharing such a great article about friends! I didn’t notice that there is not apps to make new friends. Your perspective is always great, and you help me to grow like the last sentence. I love our friendship because we are inspiring each other, and I am so glad to know some blogging friends around you! Yes, we are plants!!

    Those illustrations and collage art are really wonderful, Fungi!
    You should make a new scarf with the print of the second illustration! Anyway, I will see your newest article soon!!

    akiko

  • Me encantó este post! Como bien haces referencia: “Somos la generación que no quiere relaciones”. Sin embargo, para tener una vida verdaderamente plena y feliz, necesitamos de relaciones- no necesariamente de pareja, pero si de familia y amistad! Muy necesaria esta reflexion 🙂 ♡