I have always prided myself on being able to make friends anywhere I go. I feel like I’m outgoing and relatable enough that I’ve never had a huge struggle finding common ground with people. Although, making friends is an interesting game. In reflection of all of the important people I have met and maintained friendships with in my life, there is a common denominator in each situation of the initial meeting, and that’s the confidence of having other friends to my immediate left or right at all times. Having the confidence through constantly being surrounded by people that you already know love and support you takes a huge weight off the stresses of making friends. You already know you’re a decent human, because look at all of your friends. You already know you have the qualities that make you a good friend, because look at all the people that want to get chipotle, beer, and a good venting session about their current debacle with you. It’s funny, when you no longer have this physical security blanket (friends, not chipotle), forming friendships seems a little more daunting at first. I’m now finding my glamorous flannel/yoga pants ensemble, lack of makeup, huge sunglasses that scream “don’t get within 15 feet of me”, and my very apparent “no bra, no problem” philosophy not relatable to anywhere but California. Needless to say, I stand out almost as badly as the bag of Hot Cheetos in my purse (Lays products are not a thing here) and this is making it a little more intimidating to put myself out there.
I have met a very wide range of people here so far and have developed some pretty badass and meaningful relationships thus far, but making friends in a country from your own is far from easy while still simultaneously juggling the normal stressors of life. Let me back track a tiny bit. My friends have just left, I have just committed to staying in Ireland alone, so what’s a girl to do now that she no longer has the constant crutch of her friends in this new territory? How does one make friends without the cesspool of twenty something’s known as college??? How does one make friends with girls without a sorority?!?!?! With all of these thoughts looming over me, the scariest one of all came to my attention, I was going to have to put myself out there, be vulnerable? I was going to have to start from scratch. Naturally, I did what anyone in my place would and I joined clubs, went to events alone, explored, approached groups of friends that looked like a good time, LOL JUST KIDDING, my ass hopped on Tinder from the comforts of my new bedroom and a glass of wine.
I’m the first in line to say no one should ever be using Tinder. It’s a shallow, awful way to go about meeting people. I went down the rabbit hole of Tinder looking for instant gratification of meeting people and truthfully, it worked. Obviously, I can’t seem to find myself ever doing things in the conventional way and here I was, using tinder in a weird attempt at forging friendships, but it actually went in my favor. So, before judgment ensues as you read this friends and fam, Tinder is a very common way to meet people while traveling (a friend and I even discussed over dinner setting our preferences on said dating app to both men and women in an attempt at making friends). Of course it holds a very heavy stigma, but after many glasses of wine and a few cool conversations, I found myself accepting some dates. I went out, I got drinks, and had a great time with some very cool guys and I have to say, tinder and dating here in general has put me in a weird place of meeting people I may never have crossed paths with before. I made some unexpected, and let me emphasize, very platonic, friends from these dates, and in turn found myself all of a sudden in the trial and error process of….wait for it… making friends! I never could have anticipated dating in a foreign country to lead me to some meaningful friendships. I guess the important lesson here is don’t take things so seriously. Whether it is dating, making friends, or my clear bizarre attempt at merging both, life is fun and if you use these ridiculous platforms to your advantage, it could lead to some equally as ridiculous successes. Life is almost as funny as Tinder.
It might seem strange to broadcast every lonely girl’s nightmare, the use of tinder, but all bets are off when you’re abroad I guess. It is a quick way of meeting people and I never expected it to work out the way it did for me. Thankfully, one of my crutches is back from her European travels and behind how painfully I initially felt like I stuck out here, I guess I am mildly relatable and I have formed just as many meaningful relationships outside of Tinder, but the stories behind them are not nearly as amusing as my initial desperate attempts at human contact. In the grand scheme of my Irish journey, this is just the beginning. I have so many more people to meet and so many more of these randomly brilliant relationships to be formed and I couldn’t be more excited for them. In the mean time, having fun and riding the ludicrous waves that are being propelled at me are taking priority and I’m fully embracing it.