You never know when or where you'll find a great friend. But you do know, I hope, that you'll each have to put in the effort to get there. 

When this hits your inbox, I'll probably be on my way home from the third annual picnic-in-the-arboretum with a group of Boston-area female journalists. We all met through a Facebook group called the 8,000-member Riotrrrs of Journalism that only started about three or four years ago as a place to vent, advise, and get to know other journos. I was interning in Boston that summer and, surprise surprise, didn't really know anyone. So all I did was post in the Riotrrrs group and see if anyone else from the Boston area might want to meet up. Lo and behold, people did!

There's now about a dozen of us who regularly meet up every other month or so (and all I have to do is post an idea every other month or so in the group, ask people to vote for a day, and then make the Facebook event). But the arboretum picnic is my proudest meetup of the year. It's usually the best attended event and it's just pleasant to bring together fruit and cookies and talk about work in a not-super-networky way, but also in a way that nobody else really understands. Yes, we were all basically random online strangers but we've all gotten to know each other and it's honestly quite lovely. And I got a great roommate out of it! 
This is what our picnic is going to look like. Yes, I'm totally kidding.
"Making friends in adulthood is a lot easier than in high school or college, where things can get clique-y or social spheres are narrowly defined."

That was one of the responses to last issue's crowdsourcing of how you fine folks have made friends in this general stage of life. (Thank you especially to Jordan in Williamsburg, Va., Marlee in DC, Kevin in St. Louis, Gina in Austin, Kaity in Madison, Wis., and Maureen in Chicago for your thoughts!) And you know what, I had never really thought about it that way before. I had convinced myself that it was definitely harder now, without the regimen of classes and clubs and other built-in social infrastructure to get to know people. But maybe that looseness is better thought of as freedom.

We get to PICK where and when we make friends, guys! Maybe they're on Facebook, maybe they're on Twitch, maybe they're in person, maybe they're at church, maybe they're in your line of work, maybe they have a degree in something you have to google to understand or maybe they don't have a degree at all. Maybe it can be easier.

Another gem: "Friendship in adulthood isn't instant-clicking like it was in college. It's a Roth-IRA or 401K, not aggressive investing."

As promised, here's the full living, breathing guide with insights and wisdom from other Sown-ers. It's refreshingly wise and also helpful to see where and how other real people are, or aren't finding friends. (The important question of "how the heck do you balance your friendships with the rest of your adult life" was also asked, albeit in different words.) Feel free to send the link, or this email, to someone who might need it. 

Share your own thoughts here, and I'll keep adding them to the doc. This is for you, me, and all of us. Thanks, lovelies.

Your friend,

P.S. Summer's not over yet — don't forget your sunscreen! Yes, I am that mom friend, and yes, my leg is currently bubbling post-sunburn. Don't be like me.

P.P.S. Thanks for your time spent with this newsletter. Want to help me make this project more useful for all of us? I'm looking for guinea pigs to help me test some things out. If you're interested, reply to this email and let me know! (Special shoutout to those of you who volunteered earlier! I'll be in touch super soon.)
See the Sown archives

🧠 Brain juice:

  • The Wing seems like a fascinating resource — a woman-powered coworking space built on shine theory — that is just not in my budget right now. But fortunately, it has a free podcast! This episode introduced me to the amazing history of women's social clubs, like the powerful Just Us Girls group in the WWII-era internment camps.
  • Who's planning a end of summer hurrah? Here are three steps to turn everyday get-togethers into transformative gatherings, via author Priya Parker.
  • Words of wisdom from 100+-year-olds are always the greatest. Advice from a 103-year-old competitive runner on the beauty of life: "I feel like I only have so many 100-yard dashes left, and I don’t want to waste them in practice. Can you imagine that?"
  • It's okay to aim for JOMO, the joy of missing out: "But if we only live to experience more things, we miss the fact that certain things are inherently valuable and meaningful, not only instrumentally, not only in order to achieve something else, but in and of themselves."
  • I really love this one, especially since my friend Sarah just left after visiting me for the weekend: An author wrote a novel about a woman visiting her far-flung friends to tend to their relationships and just soak in the friendship. But she had set four rules: The trip has to be for the purpose of friendship, not because of a work trip; you have to stay at your friend's house, not a hotel; you have to detach from social media during the trip; and "don't make special plans (spa, resort, fancy local restaurant) because the purpose is to see an ordinary day in the life of your friend." Then the author did it herself. 
  • Who are your neighbors? This Twitterer found a silver lining once she got to know them: "It's strange, in a good way, how instantly my sense of community has shifted now that I recognize faces I see on the sidewalk."
  • Work from a Sown-er! Taylor Blatchford did a summer solo exploration and wrote about it here. There's still time for the rest of us!

Go sow: Challenge for the month. 

Share the guide for how to make friends with someone who needs it. Maybe it's yourself, maybe it's a friend near or far, maybe it's a parent. To friendship!

Grow the Sow.

Zoom into the full map here.

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