This post is an homage to an internet article you can check out right here. No stress, I didn’t read it either. What I remember is the title art and the title: something about 'Embracing the Awkward and Making New Friends as an Adult'. Well today’s the day, glorious reader! A poignant bouquet of words on this delicate topic, handled with the rockosophical tenderness reminiscent of dirt in your teeth and a sweaty high-five.
It’s a New World, you could move through your entire life without getting to know anyone, without recognizing anyone in your city. Granted, you would probably need to strategize some fancy diversions to avoid those with a kindred determination to rotate grocers and you might need to devote a weekly meeting with your financier to justify some strikingly erratic purchase behaviors – but you could make it happen.
So, let’s embrace the awkward already. These are the Days of Anonymity and if you didn’t want to make time for someone after work or on a weekend or pencil them into your texting time, you don’t have to. We live in this insane lack-of-culture in America where it’s more socially comfortable to drop the F Bomb at work than it is to politely ask someone to not use a racial slur.
When it comes to making or maintaining friends, you and I are having a nice sit together on the powdery concrete floor of modernity and talking about how uncomfortable it is to navigate getting to know someone in 2022.
I started a new job this week at a print shop, in the bindery. As a probationary apprentice I inserted letters into envelopes for four days; the letters were neatly printed and their envelope homes long overdue AND YET it took me more than three days of inserting letters for four hours, lunch break, then four more hours for me to ask the lovely coworker beside me what they do for fun. Twenty-seven hours for the ice to crack between us.
We are isolated, maybe not from our children, partners, pets, hobbies, or dust bunnies, but we are isolated from the rest of our tribe and it’s breeding anxiety. Making friends is hard, there are cultural, regional, professional, social, economic, religious, and family history differences. We might ask the wrong question, invite a vegan to a steak dinner, offer a blessing at the inopportune time to the inopportune gender – but that’s how we make friends. In fact, I suspect that's how we keep them.
The awkward is the source our great collective friendship power.
Let’s embrace the awkward and bridge the cancerous gap keeping us all so afraid of hanging out with our tribe, prospective or not. Go forth and MAKE A FART JOKE DANGIT.
Straight up, I once farted in a yoga class that one of my graduate professors was teaching from the dead center of the room after having invited most of the people in the class personally, while doing an inversion pose. TWICE!
And you know what? I caught slack for it about four nanoseconds after “Namaste,” and then we all went to Uncle Tom’s Pub and here I am, dignity in hand. Mind, I do lose track of it now and again but dignity it remains.
Welcome to our Shiny New World where we’re all fundamentally the same people no matter the origin corner of our planet or the strange customs that cushion us under social pressure. We are the same and making friends after your brain stops growing is clumsy. Get out there and worm your way into a good awkward giggle with someone whose addition might transfigure it into a warm memory.
We need each other and it’s gonna get weird.
With love & nothing else,