Finding friends is like dating, except harder. And more necessary.
I had no idea how lucky I was to have people living in the same house as me in college. Living with the girls below was like having constant entertainment and companionship. What I’d give to go back to that big, crazy house…
When I moved to LA last July, I only had a handful of friends out here. Like any naive college kid with a hefty number of people in her phone’s contact list, I assumed I’d easily pick up more friends as soon as I arrived in my new(ish) city. Having spent three summers out here prior to making the permanent move, I was confident in my ability to find fun people to spend time with in a totally unromantic, strictly platonic way. I thought it’d be easy to make a whole bunch of friends who I could hang out with whenever I wanted, just like when I was in college.
I was wrong.
Last weekend I was bored enough to sit alone in my room and watch episode after episode of “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo”. I actually started to like it, which concerns me. Had this scene been occurring back in college, it would have been by choice. I would probably be lazing about because I was hungover or needed time away from my crazy (and amazing) classmates. But this time, it wasn’t by choice. I had my phone in my hand and no one to call. It was just me and Honey Boo Boo and a box of Trader Joe’s vanilla bean Joe Joe’s.
While I’ve been writing constantly about dating in Los Angeles, I’ve been forgetting something far more important: Friendship.
Well, I haven’t forgotten about friendship. I’ve been wishing for more friends since I got here. However, I am also guilty of working harder to find a date-worthy gentleman than a trust-worthy and food-loving friend (or 10).
This is not to say that I don’t have any friends out here. I certainly have a few great people in LA who I can always count on. But it’s a huge transition to go from dozens of close friends on the East Coast to just a select few out West. I do believe in quality over quantity and my friends who are out here are fantastic. However, when they’re all busy or sick or tired and don’t want to socialize, it leaves me with me, myself, and Honey Boo Boo. This is when quantity comes in handy.
People always talk about the best places to find a date. There are bars, grocery stores, coffee shops…but where does one find a new friend? I’m by far the youngest in my office and therefore have little chance of doing any type of extracurricular activities with my co-workers, as much as I like them. The gym I go to is overrun with a mix of elderly men and women who wear baggy sweatsuits while walking on the treadmill and fitness whackos who lift weights for hours at a time, making audible grunts to let everyone know that they’re the alphas of the Beverly Hills LA Fitness.
They just aren’t my type.
So what do I do?
Dating is so much easier than finding a new friend once you’re out of school and in the world of adults. There are plenty of outlets for dating. People make millions of dollars trying to match up singles with a suitable lover via websites, phone apps, and matchmaking services. It may not be easy to find someone you actually want to date, but it’s certainly easy to find someone to go on a date with. But what about people, single or taken or somewhere in between, who just want to find someone to hang out with and eat a bag of chips?
After becoming an online dating expert in my own mind, I decided to look into online friend making. There are a couple sites out there that plan events for strangers or match up potential friends in the same way OkCupid matches up potential mates. They just didn’t appeal to me, though. The sites were wonky, their layouts confusing, and there seemed to be very few active users. It makes me feel like I have to resort to Craigslist if I want to go the online route. I don’t know. Maybe it’s worth risking running into a Craigslist killer in my quest to meet someone cool who likes to talk about Dave Grohl as much as I do. At least the killer would probably have some interesting stories to tell while he burned me at the stake or cooked me in his oven.
I’m hopeful that I will soon find the trick to finding and fostering awesome friendships out here. I know I’ve only been here for nine months but damn, that’s enough time to make a baby. Shouldn’t that be enough time to make a few cool, genuine friends?
Perhaps it’s the recent college grad in me talking here. I’ll probably go back and read this in two years and be mortified. But for now, having multiple people to call sounds like a difficult but worthwhile goal. I don’t think I can be in a relationship until I have a bunch of friends to discuss said relationship with.
Here’s hoping I unlock the secret to making friends without the convenience of school. And soon.
In the meantime, though, anyone tryna get some mimosas and discuss my lack of a love life? Let me know.