I’ve had a lot of emotional ups and downs this week. Actually, I have them most weeks, but in this case I wasn’t sure which one to write about in a blog post. And since I’m about to go out into Brooklyn for a concert and have my first real night out in the city, it seems especially appropriate for me to talk about the topic of friends.
I’ve never had a ton of friends, but growing up I had a solid group that was its biggest in high school and developed first from my Girl Scout troop and eventually from theater geeks. In college, most of my friends were sorority sisters. But no matter what I always had people to call if I needed to get out and do something fun.
But since coming to New York, a new city where I don’t have an outlet to meet new people, I’ve felt more lonely than I have in a long time.
I do know a couple of people in town, but it’s hard to make plans. Everyone’s schedules are weird, mine included, and we’re scattered across NYC and Jersey. So when it came to planning something as seemingly simple as going to a concert, suddenly I had no one to go with. And it hit me, this feeling of utter loneliness.
Now don’t worry. I have a friend meeting me there and another friend (from high school, who I haven’t seen in years, so that is exciting) meeting me later tonight. So I won’t be alone. But it sort of lead to this bigger set of issues. The first is that there were a lot of things I knew would be tough about moving to a new city: getting a job, getting an apartment, finding my way around, having adult responsibilities, things like that. I didn’t realize that the hardest part would be social. Meeting people, making plans with people, going out and having fun. My friends all live in other cities, and most of them live near each other, making me feel a bit isolated (especially when my social media feeds are full of their interactions).
The other issue is that social outings are a great stress reliever. Going out with friends, being distracted for a few hours and having fun. It’s exactly what I need after a stressful day. And when that outlet isn’t there, the stress and anxiety and general angst can build and build. So I’m super happy about this concert tonight, even if I’m a little nervous for my first big-city outing.
It’s weird the little things you learn along the way when you’re growing up as an “emerging adult.” I was totally unprepared for this issue, spending all of my energy on other things.
My advice to anyone reading this: be aware that social needs are just as important as other ones. Humans are social creatures, we need to talk things out (hello, blogging) and have contact with one another and let loose and have fun. And that’s just what I plan to do.