How I made a friend when I thought I couldn’t

Yesterday, FB wrote a compelling post about how difficult it is to find and make new, quality friends once you’re out of school. Krystal responded, and now it’s my turn.

It really is hard to make friends in the adult world. Sure, you’ve got your work buddies and that cool guy/gal that you chum with during your hobby activity (tennis, pottery, French class, whatever) and maybe even a neighbour or two; but nothing like the real friends you may have had at various stages throughout your academic life.

Or….not. I only have one friend from my school-age that is still my friend. And she has always lived 3 hours away, so I’ve been pretty much friendless for most of my life.

But I am here to offer words of hope. All is not lost.

I want to tell you my story of how I met someone who I think I will be friends with for the rest of my life. Let’s call her Munchkin.

Oddly enough, I met her online. But not through one of those friend services like meetup.com or anything (though those are valuable resources!). I met her through Craigslist.

Yup. I said it. Craigslist.

That wonderful mishmash of slightly shady ads, great deals and jerks, with a small smattering of decent people thrown in.

Craigslist is both good and bad. If you read my blog you’ll see that I’ve been burned by it several times. But there is always some good to balance out the bad.

Munchkin was one of those good things.

Here’s how it began…

Once upon a time I was lonely. I decided to check out the Strictly Platonic section of Craigslist once again to see if there was anyone interesting on there. Usually its a bunch of people looking for dates or a quick fuck (I don’t understand why they just can’t post the in appropriate sections! Sheesh!) but once in a while there was a real person behind those ads, looking for another person to make a connection with.

I had done this before and even met with some of the girls looking for friends, but none of us really hit it off. A few coffees here, a movie there and then the emails and Facebook pokes would peter off.

But then I saw it: A call-out to all the ladies to start a girl’s group where we could hang out and do our nails and just have fun together. It sounded sort of interesting and I didn’t have anything to lose, so I replied.

I don’t have the original post anymore, but I DO have the email that I replied with:

“Hey, I saw your posting on CL about getting group of gals together for friendship and I thought it was a great idea!

You’re so right about guys having it easier… for me I find making new friends is as awkward as dating these days! What happened to the simpler ways of our childhood?

Anyhoodle… My name is G, I’m 20-something and live in TO. I work in advertising which is sort of interesting I guess. I have some friends but not a whole ton (otherwise why would I be looking, right?) and I’d really like to meet some new girls and see if we click.

I think I’m pretty openminded, and I like trying new things. Lately I’ve been trying to get my creative juices flowing (I used to be a little artzy phartzy when I was younger) and have been taking silversmithing classes and will also be taking some clay/pottery classes in the summer. I’ve been trying to learn to cook, too.

In the meantime, I practice Shaolin Kung Fu a couple of times a week which is really fun…except that I am the only girl and the guys are all married! ugh! I looooooove shopping as well, but have been abstaining lately as I am heading to Vegas over Easter and I need to save money… so I can shop there! haha

Umm, well there is lots more that I could say but the email would be far too long! Feel free to look me up on Facebook or write back and let me know if you’re going to go ahead with your little shindig!” (March 2009)

Not long after, Munchkin wrote back to me, and quickly added me to her MSN.

“Hello G!

Finally, I have a chance to be-friendly with someone who can cover my ass! Kung fu is great to learn for a girl. So way to go! I find that fascinating!

So far, I have been able to tally many interesting girls, all with very different personalities. I am confident that if you don’t hit it off with me, you’ll be hitting it off with another girl…. such was the premise for this get together. But obviously, we all have one thing in common: We love to meet new people, which means we’re open-minded and easy-going. And this is a great start!

A little about me… (a totally verbose description of her interests, lol)

I had this idea of the posting one night when I realized I had no one to go to this concert with! I have friends, but our interests can be a little off sometimes and it’s hard to get a group going when everyone is scattered all around the outskirts of the city. Working downtown, I want to be able to get off work, walk up to Queen street and grab a beer without wondering how long I have to wait until my friend makes it in from Mississauga or if she’s going to make it at all… catch my drift?

To be honest, I’m really happy with the kinds of responses I have been getting. Although everyone seems very different, everyone seems down to earth and open minded. Once the warm weather sets in and I get a good group of girls going, I will be sending out a group invitation through Facebook so that everyone can feel comfortable before the big night. If you have any suggestions please feel free!

Have a great day!

Munchkin”

After chatting for a bit and discovering we had similar passions for things, we decided to go ahead and meet in person, even before the special Girls Night was to happen.

It was a dark and rainy day and we met after work in this dirty dive of a place on Queen St. (which we love anyway!) and sized each other up. I don’t think either of us expected what we got. Munchkin is petite and extremely fashionable in the high-end sort of way. I’m a veritable giant compared to her and was doing the ‘rock club’ look that day, complete with cuff and skull necklace. There was a little bit of awkwardness at first, but soon we fell into teasing each other and sharing things that we probably shouldn’t be sharing on the first ‘date’.

We talked and talked, and ended up sharing a dessert before finally parting ways, cracking jokes the whole time. It was a great night and I think we both could tell that this would go somewhere.

After that, we began hanging out more. We tried to get the girls group together (and we did, a couple of times) but in the end it sort of faded away. Typical Craigslist people were flaky, and didn’t make any effort to come to our fun events. But Munchkin and I stayed strong.

We have this awful joke about how we’re “dating” and we like to tease her boyfriend with it. We swear that if one of us were a man, we would be dating for real! The chemistry between us is awesome.

Long story short, I am slowly beginning to share more of myself with Munchkin, and I think she is doing the same. I don’t know why I like her so much, but I am thankful for it and hope that we have many years to come.

She is a real diamond in the rough (rough being Craigslist) and very special, and I count her among my closest set of friends.

I shared this story with you so that anyone else that feels lonely can take hope. Like dating, sometimes finding a friend is a simple numbers game, and sometimes it might be divine intervention. I have been burned and shut down MANY a time, but I kept looking for new friends, and finally I got some. And from a totally weird place, too.

So keep going to your hobby classes, talking to your neighbours, baristas and fellow bus passengers. Go to the MeetUp.com events, answer Craigslist ads; heck! Post your own!

One day after you go through a bunch of crappy people, or just not-quite-right people you will find a friend for yourself, who is fun and good and accepting, and who makes you feel happy when you are around them.

Don’t give up!

8 thoughts on “How I made a friend when I thought I couldn’t”

  1. Ginger, great post! And good for you and Munchkin. :) That's really bold of you to try Craigslist ads… I'm too chicken to do that myself.

  2. This sounds so awesome. I'm so happy it worked out for you.

    I'm curious about trying it but apparently I really suck at having friends. I tried to have a party on Saturday and I invited all of my facebook friends and only 2 people rsvped and only 1 person came. I'm trying not to let that sort of rejection affect me but it does.

  3. Awww thanks for that story.

    I actually started a book club on Craigslist 5 years ago and met through that 4 of the most awesome girls ever. Unfortunately I had to leave the city where I started the book club so I don't get to see them anymore – but I needed that reminder that new friends can be found in strange places if you're just looking for them.

    Thanks!

  4. Carrie, you have no idea how many times that has happened to me…

    Even for my birthday. That's when it really hurts.

    You know what I do now? I make sure to only host 1 or 2 events that I really want people to come to.

    Instead of using Facebook and inviting everyone, I send an old-fashioned email, or use a service like Evite and only invite the people that I REALLY want to come, and who I think would actually show up. I make sure they understand that I hand-picked them.

    This drives home the fact that the event is serious, it's limited to only a select few and I'm putting a lot of effort into it. It's much harder for people to flake out on when they realize that it's not just some random party. It means more to them, too.

    I've had much better results this way, and a better time, too. The people that come are the ones you really enjoy, anyway. The rest are just a bonus.

  5. I love making new friends. My second job allows me to meet many new people. And believe it or not, I have become great friends with many of my customers.

    In addition, I have learned to not judge by age. I am in my twenties and I have friends of all ages. If someone who is in their forties wants to have a drink after work….go! Older people have great advice and I find them more caring as friends. Plus, if an older person is wanting to hang out with a twenty something….hold on to your hats. You probably won't be able to keep up. One of my best friends is in her forties and she acts like she is younger than I am. We have a blast together. So, don't shut out people. Just be prepared to make friends where ever you go.

  6. What an interesting post. Blogging Behavioral is writing about the same topic, though I'm not sure she posted part 2 yet.

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