How do you make friends as an adult? You'd think having children it'd be the done thing to meet other parents in the park, or at school drop offs. You'd think being a military wife you'd be in some kind of 'community', and meet people in similar situations to yourself. You'd think it was quite easy. Maybe it's me, but I find it quite difficult. Right now I'm a RAF wife, living on an Army camp... I feel like an outcast. I feel scared to say we're an air force family in case that somehow makes us not good enough, or even comes across as if we think we're better. I don't, for the record. I'M not military, my Husband is. And that is separate to who I am as a person. Adults already have friends, are part of groups and cliques. Unlike when you're a child, you're not accepted as a newbie into a group quite so easily.
I try and say hello to people I walk past on camp. If I want to start up a conversation I'll pay someone a compliment, or ask where their clothes are from. I'll make a comment about how the weather is - so British! - or how my morning has been. Often I get very little back. Perhaps a head nod if I'm lucky - we've been living here for seven months now. I love the friends I have, but they're not here. I need friends, but at the same time I don't want any more friends, I love the ones I have?! It seems like a lot of effort to meet people I'll only see for the next year or so, and then start the process all over again. It's draining. But I guess that's military life?!
This week I've finally had an adult conversation with someone other than my Husband for the first time in seven weeks. Seven weeks is a long time to not see family and friends, and that afternoon of adult company happened at the right time. Any longer and I'm sure the loneliness would've started taking it's toll on my mental health, and my family life. I love my family and love that we're able to be together but as much as I hate to say it, sometimes it's not enough. I love moving around with Stu, and exploring new areas, but I don't enjoy the making new friends part. I need more than toddler chat in the day, and Husband chat in the evening. I need friends. Real life friends, not just the amazing ones in my phone.
Is it too soon to call this person my friend?! Maybe, but in time I think we could be, and even if it doesn't work out, I'm just grateful for having that afternoon of talk, and play with the children. I laughed, and felt like me again. Even Stu commented saying that I seemed happier.
So I guess my advice for making friends as an adult is to carry on being yourself. If you want to say hello, then do. Even if you know they wont respond. Go to the park even if you don't really feel like it, especially if there are other people there already. Be confident, and put yourself out there. Offer to have a playdate, or be the one to ask if they're free for a coffee. Join a local library/gym class/coffee morning/evening group to find people with similar interests. Having social media is an amazing way to not feel alone, but it doesn't always mean you're not lonely. They're different things.
Do you have any advice on making friends as an adult?