friendship

Emily in Paris completely misrepresents what it's like to make friends as an adult.

You know when you're at a flower market and you meet this totally funny, like-minded stranger who immediately becomes your bestie?

Neither. 

I need to talk about how 2020's most addictive show is setting unrealistic expectations about making friends as an adult.

Here's the trailer for Emily in Paris, if you're yet to binge it. Post continues below.



Yes, I know. Netflix's Emily in Paris is supposed to be delightful and whimsical and it IS; I am firmly in camp gimme-season-two, but it's also quietly mocking me. And any other person who's landed some place foreign to them and been struck by a profound and lingering loneliness.

Emily is lonely for like six and a half minutes. It's as believable as a 22-year-old marketing assistant having access to Chanel's entire Fall 2020 accessory collection.






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The flower lady is both a mood but also a fear

A post shared by  Emily In Paris (@emilyinparis) on

In reality, making new friends takes time, effort and – for us introverts – it can mean mustering an energy you just don't have. Over and over.

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10 years ago I moved from Sydney to Melbourne on my own, leaving my friends and family behind and setting myself the momentous task of starting completely fresh. New apartment away from my parents, new job in fashion, newly single...

Before Emily walked the cobblestone streets of Montmartre, I thought I'd take myself to a cheap pasta restaurant on Fitzroy Street, sat in the corner with my favourite Penguin Classic and ordered a big five dollar glass of red. It was all very early twenties uni graduate of me.

It was there that I proceeded to make no new friends, except, maybe briefly, the waiter – a generous if pitying man who told me I was brave sitting by myself and topped up my glass for free.

On my way home, I happened upon no effervescent Mindy types in fashionable pantsuits and ankle boots. I just walked home and into my lonely apartment where I scrolled Tinder for a while and got myself a date for that weekend.

And mostly, that's how I made friends in Melbourne in my twenties – through dating guys and meeting their friends. 

There was no Gabriel in my apartment block, although there was a Sandra who persistently invited me to play on her netball team.

On reflection, that would have been a very good way to make friends. Looking back, thirties me knows that. But twenties me didn't want to be on Sandra's netball team.

Skip forward to 2020, and I now find myself in the same position.

This year my partner and I moved to a quiet coastal town two hours from Sydney, and since transferring our lives to this lovely, albeit small community, we have casually gone about trying to meet people. We've invited neighbours over for dinner, gotten to know our baristas and joined yoga studios and gyms.

And it's been great. The locals are friendly, the banter is nice – we talk about the surf and pat each other's dogs.

But the question I'm again forced to face is this: how do you cross that bridge between small-talk and legitimate conversation? The type that leads to genuine connections?

Are you supposed to just gently put your hand on the waiter's arm as they top up your drink, look them in the eye and ask if they'd like to be friends?

No, while Emily merely stumbles upon her besties in Parisian parks and bodegas, us non-fictional people need to try a little harder.

Out of legitimate curiosity, I asked some of my friends how they initiated new friendships.

The friend's partner.

"Just recently, I’ve started making a real effort with my male friends' partners," Jessie told me. "Like we went out for a girls' night without them which I feel took our friendship to the next level."

The gym friend.

"I made friends at the gym," Polly shared. "My trainer organises drinks with all of her regulars a couple of times a year. It's a REALLY random group of all different ages and professions, so I wasn't sure at first. But I made myself go along and now we are all friends. We did group emails during COVID that really lifted my spirits and we're going for drinks in a couple of weeks now bigger groups are allowed."

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The daycare friend.

New mum Leigh (as in, Campbell) had this to say: "I made friends with a mum at daycare. Plucked up the courage to ask for her number and then texted her and asked her out for coffee."

The uni friend.

Katie is English, and found herself severely lacking mates when starting uni in Australia.

"I had no idea that everyone knew each other and went to uni in the city they grew up in," she shared.

"I was well behind and felt like it was going to be impossible to build up a friendship group. So, I had to get creative. My creepy tactic would be to arrive at lectures late and scope out who I thought might look like they would potentially be my pal, and then sit near them and try to make small talk. I met three of my best mates that way, and we've been mates for seven years now, so NO REGRETS."

The travel friend.

"When I moved to London I knew NO ONE," Gemma told me. "I was part of a Facebook group called 'London New Girl' and scrolling one night I came across a post that read, 'My friends and I are headed to Cornwall for the long weekend, and we've got a spare seat. Would you like to join us?' I slept on it, and then thought f*ck it, and messaged her. I met them at the train station and they just knew to 'look for the girl with the green bag.' I literally met the three girls, hopped in the car and spent an entire weekend adventuring with them."

And then there's Eleanor, who seemingly does make friends as easily as Emily. I think Eleanor might be the exception here.

"I made a new friend recently," she shared. "We connected over Instagram over our similar situations – long distance boyfriends in Europe, sober lifestyle and love for hiking and the outdoors. We decided to meet up, but after hours of chatting we already felt like we were long-lost friends that had known each other for years. Three weeks later we're moving in together and to be honest, I could not be happier."

So yeah, making adult friends – not impossible. But it does require putting yourself "out there" (sorry for the motivational cliche) and sending the dm/asking for the number/joining the netball team/going to the thing.

Case in point: last week I ran into my yoga teacher at the surf club. She invited me to an all-women's "cacao ceremony" where we will set intentions for the month ahead. It wouldn't traditionally be my thing, but you bet I signed up. 

Bring on the manifestation. Bring on the lady magic. And maybe a few new mates.

How have you made friends as an adult? Share your stories in the comments below.

Feature Image: Supplied.

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