Ask Abbie: How can a 20-something-year-old make friends?

Published 1:59 pm Saturday, November 24, 2012

By Abbie Long

Question: I am in my early 20’s and am having a hard time meeting people my age.

I’ve tried going to events and joining groups but although they target a young demographic, I only meet 30-plus-year-olds.

Any advice on how to meet people my age around here?

Looking and looking

Answer: Let’s face it. Your situation is like looking for a needle in the proverbial gray stack.

When a community’s number of older persons comprises the majority, a young 20-something faces difficulty when it comes to meeting others his own age and finding activities that cater to his interests.

In addition, the few young 20-year-olds who live there likely went to high school in the area and still associate with friends made a long time ago. This also makes it difficult for an outsider to be welcomed by the long-established circle of friends.

As a result, many persons get frustrated and move to a larger, more youthful populated area. Opting for this easier solution is a possibility, but not one with the potential to help you discover more about yourself and to become stronger as a result.

Instead, take this opportunity to implement my personal outlook, which is “the more limitations you have the more creative you have to become.”

Let it serve as a catalyst to expound upon your own interests and overt around the potentially non-constructive relationships otherwise encountered.

This time of your life affords you much energy to expend. You can either spend it battling the frustrations encountered by staying in the barn looking for the friendly needle in the gray stack, or you can invest it into searching outside of the box — I mean barn.

As you prepare to experience the vast new expanse that lay in front of you, pack your best people-meeting tool, your light-emitting attitude.

Greet people on the street with a simple smile, take an extra minute to perform a random act of kindness or initiate a random conversation. You will be amazed how a new world of relationship possibilities and opportunities begin to unfold in front of you.

Next, take a moment to find quiet place where you can do your best thinking. Consider the old adage; “Byrdes of on kynde and color flok and flye allwayes together.” This mid-16th-century quote that originated by William Turner in his 1545 satire, “The Rescuing of Romish Fox,” serves as the precursor to one of today’s commonly known proverbs “Birds of a feather flock together.”

To apply this tried and true philosophy, shift your approach of finding new relationships from looking for others “your age” to looking for others who “share your interests.”

Make a list of all the things you can’t stop talking about once you get started. Dig deep within to search for those things even you may not previously have recognized as personal interests.

Before acting upon this list, make another list of the unmet needs you hope to fill by establishing new relationships. You are now fully equipped to put yourself within environments where you will find others who enjoy talking about the same things as those on your own list and where instant connections abound.

These contacts also will know others with similar interests and those will likely know even more. Networking 101.

As you meet people, your second list becomes a factor. Use it to identify and thwart potentially destructive relationships. Any relationship found to be fulfilling is one to be cherished and nurtured.

One day when you need a break from the fast pace of your age group, your gray stack community will forever be there waiting to welcome you with open arms and with a willingness to share the wisdom they have endured long and hard to gain.

In fact, the gray stack looks forward to spending time with youth for it brings to them life, light and opportunity to feel needed and appreciated.

To the gray stack, a box of Nice ‘n’ Easy, Dark and Lovely or Just For Men offers a temporary cover-up. You, however, can provide a permanent solution.