Why I Spent Last Night Panic Swiping on Bumble BFF

Thoughts on trying to make new friends as a grown up

Amanda Kay Oaks
7 min readDec 10, 2021


Photo by Samantha Fernandes on Unsplash

The first thing I know about friendship is that I’m not very good at it.

You see, I have social anxiety. This means that my default mode of thinking is that people either don’t notice me at all, and if they do notice me, they’re annoyed by… I don’t know, exactly. My whole deal?

Among other obstacles to BFF-ship, my social anxiety makes it so I would never fathom referring to someone as a friend unless they do it first. And the thing about modern society is, we aren’t really trained to have the “define the relationship” talk with friends.

Like, imagine if I sat you down over coffee one day after we’d hung out a few times and was all “So… what would you say we… are?” You’d assume I thought we’d been going on romantic dates this whole time, wouldn’t you?

Of course, that imagined scenario presumes I’ve managed to hang out with a new person who isn’t my fiance, outside of work or the Internet, and on purpose. Those are some pretty massive assumptions considering the past two-ish years of a global pandemic that requires social distancing have robbed me of an entire young adulthood worth of progress re: social anxiety.

Though my anxiety would argue otherwise, I know from the internet and from books like Big Friendship that I’m not the only person on the planet who finds making friends as an adult difficult. I may have a certain set of (non-existent) skills when it comes to navigating interactions with other humans, but it’s not unique that I often wonder how I’m supposed to meet new people for platonic hangouts these days.

I’m pushing 30, went to college and grad school outside my home town, and stayed put while the majority of my graduate cohort wandered off to other parts of the country. My primary social activities include hanging out with my fiancé's massive friendgroup (our town is his hometown) and playing Pathfinder. My Pathfinder friends are great, but they are — as stereotypes would suggest — almost entirely men.

What’s a girl to do when she desperately yearns for yoga and brunch dates, for rom-com book discussions over wine and cheese platters, for face masks and watching…



Amanda Kay Oaks

Pittsburgh-based writer & wearer of many metaphorical hats. Making words about books, pop culture, witchery, health, travel, and more! She/her.