Making New Friends as a Twenty-something

By: Jenna Michelle Reiss for Liminas Magazine

 PHOTO BY XXX

Tonight, I felt like grabbing a drink, maybe having a few laughs and some meaningful conversation. I wanted to hang out with someone I truly enjoyed, someone who nourishes my soul and brings a smile to my face.  I don’t want to call the “facebook friend”, or the friend I’ve known for forever but don’t REALLY know, and I definitely don’t want to call the party friend.

For us Liminas woman, the social scene during our post-college yet pre-marital years, can cause a lot of angst and frustration. Personally, I have quite suddenly found myself somewhere lost among friends I’ve known my whole life, friends that became family in college, and the friends I am supposed to make in this new “adult” life. To add to the dilemma of finding my place in this new social scene, I have my first real job that I actually care about proving myself in. This leaves me with very limited time to develop any scene at all. It is much different then the social life we’re used to having.

Growing up we all had our different social scenes. You were apart of the popular crowd, or the queen of sports. You had friends since the 2nd grade or younger, and your high school boyfriend was the guy that used to live across the street from you. Then, you move to college, where you are allowed to reinvent yourself. No one cares about what group you were a part of in high school, or what you got on your SAT’s. You become a new you. You grow into someone you start to truly understand. Rather quickly you develop a new social life that reflects this new you. It’s comprised of girls from your dorm hall, the sorority house and people from group projects. Then, because generally in college your biggest responsibility is making it to class, all your time is spent with your newfound family of friends who share your same interests. Quite literally your social life becomes your whole life. Unfortunately, sooner than you’d like, you hit 22, and you graduate.

Right when you had thought your safety net seemed solidified and unchangeable, you find yourself thrown back into the social unknown. For the most part you are solid distance away from the people that made your net, and you are placed smack in the middle of the real world. 

Adjusting to the real world social scene has been a transition I never read about in Cosmo or in any of my college textbooks. It has been much more difficult than I anticipated, and that is foreign for me because I am the social butterfly friend. I have always been a part of at least 3 different social scenes, I talk to everyone, and I love meeting new people. However, as a twentysomething woman, this new scene has caused me a significant amount of turmoil. The only solution I’ve found to ease the nerves is to go with the flow.

Similar to how you might start dating, the adult social scene requires you to meet friends in real world places. You are supposed to meet friends through work, through a friend, or in a workout class at the gym. You can no longer bond over your hatred of your soccer coach, complain about dorm food together, or live within a one-mile radius of everyone you know. I think the overriding problem is that it is much harder to become friends with other women than it is to get a date!

If you see a man and you want him, you could walk right up to him and ask him on a date (easier said than done I know). However, women are much harder to break into. You cannot simply walk up to a woman and ask her to be your friend. As intuitive and social creatures by nature, that behavior would immediately cause our red flags to go up. We would read that as needy, dramatic, and extremely uncomfortable. Asking for friendship is unacceptable because our relationships with one another are built over time. It’s important to us that we get to know one another in great detail, and as we analyze facial expressions, body language and listening skills, we will decide overtime whether another women will become our friend. 

Sometimes, I find my internal social butterfly pushing me to reach out, grab that woman I don’t’ know that well, and tell her that intuition tells me we would be good friends. Then we could instantly begin sharing and swapping our passions and life secrets. But then I remember the time and care it takes to build a beautiful friendship. I remember that the women I have in my life now are amazing women, and they will continue to be a part of my life for years to come simply because we took the time to build us.

It’s the quality of the friendship that matters most, and to get quality you need time.  It can be easy to leech onto the party friend or the Facebook friend when all your soul-filling friends are busy with their separate schedules. But instead, try practicing patience. With time, your intuition will prove to be right about that one woman friend.

Sooner than later you’ll be expressing your passions, reading and talking about your favorite book and listening to what makes your new friend tick. She’ll meet your other soul-filling friends and together you have begun conquering the adult social world. When you bond over passion, soul, emotions and interests, you’re building a lifelong friend. The kind of friend that will become the old lady in the rocking chair next to you. The one you will be taking lamaze classes with, and the one by your side through all the menopause and wrinkles. These are the friends that last a lifetime.

Dating as a Twenty-something Women

By: Jenna Michelle Reiss for Liminas Magazine

 PHOTO BY XXX

(As a Liminas woman, you quite possibly could be the single gal amongst friends who are dating their college boyfriends, or engaged to their high school lovers. This perspective is written for those women, so they know that they are not alone in dating as a twentysomething, and that their hitched girlfriends, are undoubtedly more than excited to hear the single gal stories.)

I thought I had gone through all of the most influential firsts that happen in ones life: first kiss, first heartbreak, first home away from home and first college party.

These firsts will never be forgotten; however, they are moments of your life that you experience differently than the firsts that come your way as a twentysomething woman.

Sometime in your mid-twenties you find yourself at your first real job, paying for your first set of groceries, and living in what is probably your first self-financed apartment. It’s this time in your life, that you realize, whether you are newly single, or well into the game, you will be entering the real world of dating for the first time. This world, for many, can be of the utmost feared firsts for a twentysomething.

As one can imagine, when my college boyfriend and I broke up, I felt a number of emotions. In general, we had both known it simply wasn’t working. So, when we had “the talk”, although of course I felt sadness, I also found myself feeling a wave of relief.  That relief lasted about as long as your first sexual experience, because it quickly turned to fear when I realized that I was now entering the real world of dating. Now, on top of all the other emotions you feel when walking away from a loved one, I was feeling terrified. I was not only starting my first real job, (well, first job that I cared about), but I was also entering the real world of dating. I was horrified to play the game.

Meeting men in the real world. What does that even mean? Well, first of all it means not having classes to use as an excuse to study with your crush, not having your posse of girlfriends to use to get word to the new hottie that you’re interested, and it means no drunken bash to use as a sighting point. No, instead it means meeting men at weddings, at the gym, or at happy hour. It means taking a risk and putting yourself out there to be rejected, or adored.  It’s terrifying.

 But if there’s one thing I’ve learned from my heartbreak round-two, it’s that the relief I felt was there for a reason. I didn’t have to allow myself to dwell in fear. No, instead I could recognize that fear was there, and change my perspective. I decided to let my fear instill excitement. Now, I was going to be experiencing first hand, everything I’ve been reading about in Cosmo since I was seventeen. I will now understand the horror of a bad date, and the laughter that comes when telling your girlfriend about it. I will understand the wonder and anticipation preceding the first date with that cute boy from Trader Joes, and the butterflies one feels when the new boy next door finally asks you out. The dating world is just another first that, as a twentyomething woman, I am ready, and now excited about experiencing.

Trial and Error

By: Jenna Michelle Reiss for Liminas Magazine

 PHOTO BY XXXX

Upon entering the working world as a quarter-lifer, you find yourself one of two groups: those who are certain of their career paths and move confidently forward chasing their dreams, and those who sit horrified among the undecided.

As excited as we are for our friends who are trusting in their chosen career paths; it can be incredibly overwhelming for those of us who don’t quite know our calling.

While we watch what feels like everyone making the right decisions for their future, we become paralyzed with fear at the thought of having to decide what kind of environment we want to be in EVERY DAY, for the REST OF OUR LIVES.

But being too focused on trying to answer that ominous question about our 10-year plan can actually be self-destructive. We become unable to focus on the smaller steps, the simple decisions, like what sounds good for right now, or what industry/job does NOT sound horrible to do on a daily basis for one simple year of life?

When I graduated from college I got a job teaching English in Spain. I had always been passionate about teaching, and like many post college graduates, I decided not to use my degree in journalism. That year in Spain was a year well spent. I learned more about myself than I ever knew I needed to learn, and when I left I was leaving with the knowledge that teaching was not my next step.

When I got back to the U.S., I further explored the education system by getting a job working with children with disabilities. I truly fell in love with every child I worked with; however, after a little over a year, I found myself remembering my passion for advertising. I had needed a break from it after college, but something inside me was telling me it was time to taste it.

I am now working at a creative advertising agency. The advertisements I work on are not exactly the kind of impact I’m hoping to make in this world, but what I’m learning is that I’m not exactly sure of where my passions and career will take me, but for now this industry fits me and my lifestyle

Allowing myself to dive into each passion that sparked my interest in college is how I’m learning what job I want to do everyday for the rest of my life. This feels right for right now so I decided to go with it and give it my all. When it no longer feels right, I will determine my next move.

Don’t let the career fear take over. Look at what sounds the most intriguing to you right now, and jump in. It might take a few different tasting sessions, but it will help you search through your passions. Once you’ve allowed yourself to explore your interests, you can focus on how to translate those passions into a daily income, and build your career path from there.

Be patient and remember that no job is a waste of time- there is always something to be learned about yourself, your wants, and your needs.