“Friendship is so weird. You just pick a human you’ve met and you’re like, ‘Yep, I like this one,’ and you just do stuff with them.”  

/Bill Murray/

An antidote for essentialism

After a long hiatus of being physically sociable due to a pandemic, we are here, lost souls trying to manifest our friendship building skills that hibernated for a while – and of course, it does not fail to disappoint. Why does it feel like making real friends is harder now more than ever? Perhaps, more than the fact that the friendship-making skill has slept for some time, we also aged. Aging goes with making essential choices.

As growing humans, we try to find ourselves, find the reason why we do particular matters and as if we time traveled, we question the essence of things, just like when we were kids. Above all, we crave for new people.

Friendship can be established in shared passion, nonetheless, showing up is a greater rapport. Showing up to join the long hike in Mecsek mountains, taking time to put your football shoes on a Sunday night or even just checking the location of the café where you will meet people you have never had interactions with before, and as if these tasks are not enough, it is accompanied by anxiety and discomfort. Building a relationship requires a way to break that uncomfortable gap when you don’t know someone else – anything that breaks through the foreignness of a person. Whether it’s a shared passion, a mundane conversation, or a walk to the grocery store.

Oftentimes, we silently hope that we will have the same vibe with these strangers the moment we meet them.

Making the ride-or-die kind of friends is hard. The truth of the matter is, doing this in adulthood is even harder. More than the anxiety, we immediately seek for the essence of a relationship when in fact most of the friendships are spontaneous. Essentialism seeks to reduce distractions and all the unnecessary matter. On the contrary, friendship does not immediately serve obvious utility. 

lllustration by Szathmáry Kamilla

Parallelism and conscious effort

She put on her hiking shoes that she bought that winter. Filled her bottle with water and grabbed a banana. She is ready for an early winter hike, except that her newly found friends said they are not joining. Not minding the spur of the moment decisions, she proceeded with the plan. While she was about to step out of her place, one of her friends showed up. The hike started with the usual conversation starter, the how-cold-the-weather-is and ended up with conscious exchange of life experiences and struggles. They end up finding a hiking buddy.

It all starts with vulnerability and bravery.

When one intentionally wants to build a relationship, one needs to lay a part of their vulnerable side. You lay open your story, hoping for non-judgmental ears and a welcoming heart.

One comforting fact in making friends is we actually have shared challenges! And we only unveil this truth when we start showing who we really are. Have you ever just sat down with someone and started complaining about life and just exploded into laughter because both of you understand each other’s struggle in a comforting way? These are the simple things that add richness and depth to life. 

One important idea to always remember is that the dead-end of friendships are surface level conversations.

Kindness is just not enough. Conscious effort to value conversation and time is a great investment to lifelong relationships with people you choose who, in return, you can count on.

Have you picked your humans yet? If not, put your hiking boots on.



Written by Xyza Vasily Dela Peña