*Many thanks to Kristina of People Of Harrogate for all the photos in this post!*
Two years ago I wrote this post 'Having No Friends Is One Of The Hardest Things To Admit' where I talked about not having a large friendship group and being lonely when I first arrived in Harrogate.
Despite me talking about the people I had met in that post, two years on and I am no longer friends with the first bloggers I met. In fact, I can quite confidently say that since moving here I've only made (and kept) 2 friends. In 4 years. Doesn't sound like much when we're all supposed to have made a whole girl gangs worth of friends in that time.
This is why I'll take any opportunity to meet up with new people and find new friends, having been alienated for so long throughout my life even this simple act can sometimes leave me feeling strange.
How Do You Make Friends As An Adult?
If anyone has any ideas please leave them below because seriously, it's harder than it seems! I've seen lots of posts on this subject so it's definitely something a lot of women seem to struggle with. And I say women because a) I am one and b) I haven't heard of any men struggling in the same way!
Social media has a lot to answer for when it comes to trying to make friends, it can be a good thing in that it can bring people together if you're looking for a particular group but it can also alienate you from the very people you're trying to connect with!
Like I said earlier, when I first moved to Harrogate I became friends with a lot of Harrogate bloggers which I thought was amazing - at the time. Looking back now I can see how they weren't really friends - not like the ones I've made since, or even the ones I made at the same time but who've stuck around to actually, you know, BE a friend! Revolutionary I know!
The only way I've actually made friends since I moved away from my core group is through social media and blogging. When you have something like this in common, it becomes easy to start off a conversation about a hobby you're both interested in.
I've found out the hard way that making friends this way can be fickle. One minute you're best buds, going to events together, supporting their businesses, cheering them on when they do well but you upset someone once and boom! You're ostracised from the group and left out in the cold being given the evil eye and wondering just what the chuff it was that you even did wrong!
This has actually affected me more than I've let on to others because I didn't want to admit just how alone I actually felt. I've always said I'm stronger on my own but the reality is, I'm only like that when I have a strong group behind me, ready to catch me should I fall.
When I think about it, I am saddened by their behaviour because I was only ever trying to be a friend to them and the way they treated me at the end was honestly disgraceful and makes me question everything they did/said when we were friends - or so I thought.
It's been a while now since I parted ways with my first group of 'friends'. Thankfully I held on to two wonderful ladies through this period and I feel so lucky because they're really so lovely in their own ways and we've had experiences together which I'll always treasure.
I've actually found that Instagram is a good way of bringing people together - as much as we hate on it for its shitty algorithm! By changing up who I follow and finding new accounts, I've also found a whole new girl gang who struggle just as much as I do in finding new friends!
It's always nerve wracking reaching out to someone online and seeing if they essentially want to be your friend because you happen to live in the same town/city! I would definitely recommend doing this because the worst they can say is no, but you may just find yourself a wonderful new girl gang who you actually get on with and want to hang out with again and again!
As well as meeting new friends in real life, I've also connected with more ladies on Instagram. It's always nice when you find new people to follow who actually connect with you on a deeper level than simply liking/commenting on your most recent posts. I mean this is good on a superficial level but if you're really wanting to connect with people you're going to have to put in a little work!
All it takes is a little time, perhaps searching hashtags for your local area if you're wanting to connect in real life, or perhaps look for others who are posting in your niche. Or perhaps you just come across someone's page via a story shout-out and instantly feel a connection!
Whichever it is, it's always worth popping them a message if you like their page you never know where it could lead!
Finding New Friends
I always think it's better to have quality over quantity when it comes to groups of friends. I'd much rather have a smaller group who know really know me than a big group who may even forget who I am!
I like to think that the friends I do have are the kind who will always be there for me, ready to comfort me should I need it or cheerlead if I'm feeling low. It can be difficult at first to get this level of support when you first meet a new group of friends but I'd turn that around and say you can still show support and be there for them online.
Like I said previously, I've gotten to know a couple of ladies online who always support my content (and I them), shout me out and chat to me in DMs. This can go both ways and actually helps you out in terms of getting your content seen by other people!
I'm not saying go out and befriend everyone in your contact list to gain more followers, rather use it as a way to actually connect with people with whom you'd want to go to dinner with! It's worked for me and I now have a really lovely group of ladies who were also searching for new friends when we got together for lunch and cocktails!
Our life is so online these days that it's natural this is how we find new friends and become connected with the people we're influenced by or follow ourselves. I've met every single one of my new friends online or because I went along to a blogging event. Which in itself is an online hobby.
Finding Friends Online
There are good and bad sides to living our lives online and we do need to be careful about who we spend our time with/give our details to. This goes without saying really and should be something we do in everyday life anyway!
With all that being said, making friends online is as easy as finding people who are in your area (via a Facebook group, Instagram followers etc) and asking if they want to meet up for a coffee. There are so many groups on Facebook you're bound to find one which interests you.
For me, it's blogging and so I search out groups with that in mind. Again I have something in common already so reaching out to someone I connect with shouldn't be too difficult! Or so they say!
You've really nothing to lose by connecting with new friends online. I like to think that I've made lots of new friends via Instagram, I may never meet some of them but I know that they'll be there for me should I ever need it.
Don't be afraid of messaging ladies with a bigger following than you. I've a few ladies on Instagram who always support me by liking & commenting on my posts, despite the fact our followings couldn't be more different.
At the end of the day, the number of followers you have will mean nothing if you're sat alone at home with no-one to meet up with!
My Final Thoughts
Making friends online already means you have something in common which can help with breaking the ice! This is something I always find difficult, talking to a group of people and having their attention on me! It's just a breeding ground for my social anxiety really and can actually have the opposite effect making me not want to talk to anyone.
I've learnt to push through and to 'feel the fear and do it anyway' because at the end of the day, there is always someone who is feeling just as anxious as you are.
Thankfully when I met up with Victoria, Ashleigh and Kristina there was none of that and we all settled quickly into an easy conversation as we all got to know each other. It really was lovely to meet other ladies who were not only local to me but who accepted me just as I am into their group. Without Ashleigh bringing us together, I'm not quite sure if we would have met up!
Only two weeks after our first lunch, we're actually getting together at Pizza Express for dinner and I couldn't be more excited!
I hope this post has been useful to you, making friends isn't easy but there is hope! Never be afraid to reach out to people on social media, or real life because you never know where it could lead!