You know what’s really hard? Making new friends as a full, bonafide adult. This is something I’ve thought a fair bit about ever since I crossed that great 30+ threshold a few years back. There is definitely a time in your life where new friends abound. Your teen years and early 20’s (and if you go forth into grad school, even your late 20’s) make it look so easy. Every new class you take, every group you join, there sit new friends waiting to be made. Don’t particularly gel with anyone? Fear not! Wait till next semester for the bevy of new friendships to burst forth from the darkness. Because you’re all in the same uprooted, dorm-living boat, everyone is clambering to get to know one another.
Fast forward to true adulthood – other than work, you don’t really have the friend conveyer belt anymore. Suddenly it seems as though everyone around you has their friends, their clique. You don’t join groups the way you did before and no dry-erase board messages await you on your front door, inviting you to a night out of karaoke. It’s this strange time in your life when people are all around you, but rather than feeling safe in the knowledge that everyone is looking to make a friend connection, suddenly it feels awkward. I mean, it’s not like you can just march up to a complete stranger and say, “Hey, wanna share a waffle cone?”
Turns out, making a new friend when you’re no longer in a school-based setting is actually a lot like dating. Cause where can we meet new friends? Bars, bookstores, coffee shops? We can even find them online if we’re brave enough. We sort of have to fumble through it…trying to ascertain if they actually want a new friend, or are all full up. Trying to gauge whether they’re a bit crazy, whether they’re into the same things you are. Whether they might want to see you again past your initial, chance meeting.
I find this struggle even more apparent due to the number of times I’ve moved (particularly big, overseas-type moves). When we first arrived in Perth, I was faced with the startling realization that I knew no one and knew even less about the fun places to hang out. Completely out of my comfort zone, I immediately sought out places where I would feel at home – needless to say, I was a woman seeking vintage stores. I walked into Bettina Darling Vintage, which was then called Mo-Mo’s (I say walked. Really, I flounced. I was wearing a white organza 50’s-inspired dress with embroidered daisies and at least 2 crinolines. One cannot do much besides flounce in that dress). I made a beeline for the 1950’s vintage, and over the course of the next hour or so, got to chatting to the proprietress of the shop, Beth. The more we chatted, the more I realized she also went to school to marine science, had a similar nerdy programmer-type partner (en route to getting his PhD), and had a huge passion for vintage.
And I had that crazy, giggly how-do-you-make-a-new-friend-as-a-grown-up moment. Was I really going to ask this stranger if she wanted to hang out sometime? The other shop girl, watching the two of us in amusement, pounced on our obvious connection and suggested we meet for coffee. Blushing, Beth gave me her number and (I swear this is the truth) I waited three days to text and invite her for coffee (apparently I’m that girl). We met for a coffee, which turned into a bottle and a half of wine over dinner and hours of talking, before it quickly became apparent we were simply meant to be friends, bonded by vintage. After we parted, I felt smugly satisfied, having accomplished the impossible of making a new friend as an adult. True to form, Beth waited three days to tell me she had a great time.
Firmly secure in our 5-year friendship, I now joke I picked her up in a vintage store. She says no way, she picked me up. (really guys, I SO picked her up!)
And the two friends lived happily ever after….
This waffle cone-textured 1960’s dress is one of the many beauties I’ve scooped up from Beth over the years since that fated afternoon (note to everyone: make friends who own vintage stores!). And I couldn’t be prouder for my no-longer-new friend, who recently took the leap to close her brick and mortar shop and move to online retail. It’s not an easy thing to allow yourself to grow and change with the ever-fickle vintage marketplace, but I’m super excited to see her website grow and become even more awesome with every passing day.
I guess from the whole experience I learned to take the leap, start the conversation, initiate the somewhat embarrassing text-a-thon and invite the person you think is awesome out for coffee. If you’re anything like me, you just might make a lifelong friend (who keeps you in beautiful vintage).
So, how have you all managed to make friends as adults? I can’t be the only one who has resorted to picking up strangers!
Dress: Bettina Darling Vintage (similar modern or vintage here, here & here)
Belt: ASOS (similar)
Necklace: Gift (similar)
Petticoat: Malco Modes
Handbag: Vintage via Ebay (similar here, here & here)
Lip Color: Nars Jungle Red