Post written by Ceryn Sara.
This year I turned 23. As my last few minutes as a 22-year-old ticked away, I sat waiting on a sofa next to my long-term boyfriend in a beautiful apartment in the centre of Budapest. Midnight hit and the soulless ‘Happy Birthday’ tweets from relative strangers and ‘friends’ from the past slowly flooded my Notifications.
I was in a vibrant capital city, with my boyfriend, on my birthday. And I felt alone.
It’s not easy admitting to yourself that you’re lonely, and need more friends. But I was, and I did.
All my friendships up until this point had faded naturally as people finished university and moved back home or got ‘adult’ jobs and moved away (or I was too lazy to make an effort to stay in touch) and I was relying too much on my boyfriend as my only real friend. I was working a crappy coffee shop job and living in a city I had nothing in common with – I was in a rut. So, I decided to start fresh.
I applied for a Masters and was accepted – that’s when everything changed. I broke up with my boyfriend, moved to a new city and into a house with 8 strangers, and embarked on an intensive journalism degree all within the space of a few weeks.
I threw myself into everything my introverted soul could handle and eventually (after a month or two filled with even more loneliness, stress and anxiety) I found my people.
I wish I could go back in time and tell myself that making sincere friendships in my twenties is possible. I went through a very dark and gloomy period at the start of this year where I felt I’d missed my chance to create meaningful friendships and was doomed for a life spent with ‘work friends’ and my boyfriend’s mates. But it is possible. I would say 90% of my current friends are people I met in the second half of this year – crazy!
There are real benefits to starting your friendship circle from scratch in your twenties. At almost 24 I feel I am currently my best self. No one can bring up my past faults or my emo phase (among many other phases I’d like to forget). No one’s image of me in their head is clouded by how they remember me as a shy, awkward, Paramore fan-girl in 2009.
Pushing myself outside of my comfort zone has allowed me to meet so many interesting, funny people from different backgrounds, countries and cultures. Now I have uni friends, gym friends, housemates, friends I talk about music with, friends I talk about feminism with and friends for everything in-between.
Making the first move and organising plans with new friends is excruciating and the overthinking and stress kicks in immediately after I hit send. Putting myself out there and allowing myself to be vulnerable is something I really struggle with so making friends has always taken a little longer for me. But, practice makes perfect and in just half a year, I have opened up to people more than I ever have with other friends.
So, if you’re struggling with similar set-backs or find yourself feeling alone on your birthday in a room full of people – don’t give up and don’t be disheartened. Eventually, you will find your people.
Ceryn Sara is a 23-year-old trainee journalist living in Cardiff in the UK. She loves music, feminism and fashion (not necessarily in that order). Her passion is magazine journalism and she hopes to write for magazines as a career.
Follow her instagram: @cerynsaraevans or check out her website: https://cerynsara.wixsite.com/