Making Adult Friends

Last updated: December 2022

I am a social butterfly and having sickle cell has only amplified that. I always have something to talk about. And, if you’ve read any of my pieces, you know I’ve wanted to be a doctor for a long time. You know how you have basically the same group of friends in kindergarten through grade 12? Well, I didn’t have that.

Childhood friends

I moved a decent amount from Nigeria to Atlanta then Michigan and DC and now Cincinnati. I honestly don’t remember anyone from Atlanta or Nigeria. I did go to the same elementary, middle, and high school as my neighbors but my friend groups kept changing. It was like each chapter of my life had a different friend group, which it did.

There were a handful of people who stayed by my side through it all but that number shrank with the passing years. It was hard back then to accept the fragility of friendship. I guess I grew up and others didn’t or maybe they just couldn’t handle having a friend like me.

The impact of sickle cell on friendships

I never really thought having sickle cell impacted my friendships. My therapist when I was younger would ask if I had any friends. I was always puzzled by that question. Like why wouldn’t I have friends? Doesn’t everyone? I guess the unpredictable nature of my disease can make planning difficult at times but most of the time, to me at least, it’s a non-factor.

As I got older and better at managing my disease, it became something the people in my life really didn’t have to be aware of – which in some ways was probably a mistake. Yet, it was still difficult to maintain friendships through the years.

Making friends in college

When I went away to college, I was determined to make life-long friends. The kinds you do annual girl trips and things with. I also wanted to have friends outside of medicine because I never wanted my career in medicine to be my whole life. Well, that didn’t work out.

The only friends I have outside of medicine are from before college or my theater days in college. Like having sickle cell, being in medicine is very hard to understand from the outside. My life has only gotten less predictable and more difficult to schedule all thanks to my career choice.

Maintaining life-long friendships

But I do have life-long friends. Some of my closest friends from college have been there for me all through medical school and I know will be there for me long after I graduate. Making new friends though, outside of my classmates and the people I work with, has been nearly impossible.

I almost made a friend outside of medicine, I was so excited, but she said it was too one sided for her – what on earth does that even mean in a budding friendship?! Guess I’ll never know. I haven’t tried much since then but maybe, hopefully the next place I live will have a lovely community for me to immerse myself into.

Thank you to my very best friends, my day 1s, and the new ones who are stuck with me forever now.

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