Advanced search

Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.

Friendship landscape all changed – how do I rebuild it?

(14 Posts)
herbaceous Sat 06-Aug-11 14:40:45

In my 20s and 30s, I had a big group of about 10 friends, and we’d do most things together. Looking back, it was brilliant. Each one of them had another circle of friends, so life was one long social whirl, and each one of the 10 was a close friend in themselves.

During my 30s they gradually moved away, either out of London or abroad, leaving a small but hard core that would see each other every couple of weeks.

I’m now in my 40s and my best friend of that group is moving away. As I drove from her house for the last time the other day, I was in floods of tears. I’ve realised with a thud that with her gone, I have very few good friends left in London. There’s only a couple of people I feel I can really count on.

I had a baby two years ago, and it’s taken me until now to emerge from the bubble and want more out of life than cups of tea at new mum friends’ houses and talking about weaning/nappies/sleep etc. It’s like I’ve woken up, and the world has changed. And I feel a bit lonely.

I’ve made good friends with most of NCT group, which has been brilliant, but its not the same. And I worry that they might not last, they might move away, or that they too want more from life than baby-related conversation.

I work from home, so don't have the jolly camaraderie one sometimes gets in an office.

Is this common? Does the number/type of friends vary through life? And how does one make new friends? I realise I’ve never actually had to consciously ‘make’ friends – they’ve just evolved naturally. It feels unnatural to have to seek people out, ask them for coffee, etc, or just be so terribly witty and amusing that they ask me.

Also, as a couple DP and I have various long-standing friends that we invite round for lunch every now and then. But so many of them ‘owe’ us hospitality, we’ve become loathe to keep asking them. Why don’t they return the invitation? Isn’t it the done thing these days? Maybe they don’t like us? How sad and desperate would it be to post on Facebook ‘You know you said ‘we must come round some time? Well, August’s good for us…’

And why do friendships seem so easy for everybody else? I'm so jealous of those people with gaggles of schoolfriends they have throughout life...

LardyMa Sat 06-Aug-11 14:49:17

Sorry to hear that you feel like this. There have been a fair few threads about loneliness and general difficulties making friends recently so you are not alone. I have no real tips for you other than to just go for it as you describe. I think this is very common. XXXX

itwasthat Sat 06-Aug-11 16:26:15

i think its very easy to look at others and assume they have something we dont, i think london itself is a very transient place and couple with the demands of family life with children its not surprising that time with friends/ friendships fall away. there is no easy answer im afraid, there is a site called meetup where you can look for a group/ set one up yourself ... give that a whirl ... because as sure as eggs there are so many people in the same boat! about the not returning the invitation, i know exactly what you mean, i just think people are very very lazy! i dont think its meant in a bad way but husband and i used to be great hosts but we stopped when we realised actually we never get invited to theres! it wasnt a tit for tat we just couldnt be bothered making the great effort ... so now we go out for meals instead as and when. please dont feel alone, check out meetup, here ive found you the link!

itwasthat Sat 06-Aug-11 16:26:53


garlicbutter Sat 06-Aug-11 16:56:30

I think it's easier to make friends in London. Because of the high transient population, there are always other people looking for suitable company, plus of course there's a lot of things to do. I'm living in a small rural town now. I've been here for two years and have made no friends at all! Everyone seems to have gone to school here, friends and family round every corner, and everyone knows everybody's business. There's just no opportunity.

I really do feel your pain at your bestie moving away; you will probably never replace those particular friends, but you will form another close group. Everything you posted is worth a try - plus getting out more with DH, now DC's a little older, and making yourselves available.

It's perfectly okay to invite yourselves round to friends who 'owe' you! Just ring 'em up and say "We were thinking of coming to see you ..." smile

herbaceous Sun 07-Aug-11 09:31:44

Thanks everyone. I realise part of my problem is that I base a lot of my identity, and self-esteem, on other people, and having friends to 'validate' me, so losing them is particularly hard. And has the unfortunate side-effect of making me seem less likable, and thus appealing to new people!

Conversely, when I do have lots of friends around me I'm all happy-go-lucky, and tend to take them for granted and maybe not nurture them as I should. All lessons for the future.

I have a bit of a plan:
1 More 'me' activities, to both bolster my self-worth and meet new people
2 Get in touch with old pals, make plans to see them in advance, to give me something to look forward to
3 Be open to new friendships, and nurture the ones I have.

But I'd still love tales from those of you who've made good friends later in life. The London question is interesting. I sometimes toy with the notion of moving out, to a dear little town, with the fantasy of slotting right into a cosy community. But I fear the reality might be very different: cliquey, bitchy and closed.

Mummystootired Sun 07-Aug-11 10:05:48

I can relate to what you are going through. When I was 17 I had quite a few friends then my parents announced we had to move from one end of England to the other because of dads work. I was gutted.I couldn't afford to get a place on my own so moved with them. I Spent about 15 years without any friends. Although I did meet my now husband about a year after we moved down there. Anyway wind the clock on to 2005. My mum moved back up north. After a year of missing her We moved up north too. Now I live in the same town as my family but we are far away from dh family. As for friends I am still struggling to find any. Some of the friends I used to have have moved away to different towns and others, I've just lost contact with. It can be so lonely at times so I'm glad I found MN

TheOriginalFAB Sun 07-Aug-11 10:13:33

I have just posted a thread about friendships as mine are <not sure what word to use>.

I miss the old me who was funny and happy and had friends though tbh there is one friend that I have never felt good enough to be her friend and I definitely need/miss her more than me.

I am sure you are a lovely person OP and that life is what is happening to your friendships rather than anything you have done.

nomadwantshome Sun 07-Aug-11 10:28:08

I moved up north from down south about 6 years ago. I still don't feel like I fit and haven't really made any friends. I too feel really lonely sometimes. Bit different from your original post op but I think the effect is the same. All my friends and family are down south and I don't see them often at all.

I have crushing periods of home sickness. I am also coming out of the small children bubble and want a bit more. I've been looking around for bits and pieces to do and will certainly have a look at the link above

herbaceous Sun 07-Aug-11 11:43:16

Naooo.... happy stories please ladies!

I'm in a choir, and plan to do more socialising with them, and am on the committee of a local play centre, so I do have ways of meeting people, though that meet-up site does look good.

I just don't find I 'click' with people in the way I used to, and can't throw myself into friendships where there's no spark. I also can't be doing with friendships that get all difficult, and beholden, with things unsaid and unaired grievances. Maybe I'm too fussy!

garlicbutter Sun 07-Aug-11 12:15:16

Now and again, life puts us with a group of people we really get along with. That's wonderful. For the future, cherish those groups and stay in touch with your fellow 'members' after life's pulled the group apart again - use Facebook!

In between those times, we have looser groups of not-so-close friends. Just make the most of what they have to offer, don't expect or give more than feels natural with them, and keep expanding until you land in another 'gift' group. You'll be fine smile

herbaceous Sun 07-Aug-11 18:08:27

Thanks GB. I do hope you're right.

I think I'm feeling it badly at the moment, as there's been a confluence of factors: best friend moving away, another friend not inviting me to her party (when others of the same 'group' were), a total lack of invitations to lunch/barbeques etc, and a fair few unreplied-to texts invited local mum friends for coffee, etc.

Any one of those would be managable, but together conspire to make me feel I've done something wrong, or become ultra boring. Logically, I don't think this is the case, but it's a trying time.

Acinonyx Sun 07-Aug-11 18:38:54

I'm in a very similar situation. I'm late 40s with one dc and moved out of London about 10 years ago. I also had a close group of friends throughout my 20s-30s but see very little of those friends now as we have all moved around and some of us have had kids.

I also had a great nct group, but 5 years on, we have all moved too and although 3 of us are still in touch I can see it waning in future.

My closest friends these days are the mums of dd's friends from primary school who live locally. I miss my older friends very much and I also feel that we tend to do most of the inviting at weekends and you can only do so much then it has to be returned - or that's it really. Some people try harder when friendships are at a distance, and some people are more busy with family than friends. We would like to see more of our friends - but it has to be reciprocal and sometimes it just isn't.

Our friendship circle is being radically redrawn and I am finding that quite painful. I hope that over the very long term, those older friends will still be there - but in the shorter term - our friends are local families with dc who play with dd. I also work from home and that is also a factor - I don't have work friends nor do I get to hang our during the week.

herbaceous Wed 10-Aug-11 15:23:14

AND ANOTHER THING... lots of my mum friends are now pregnant with, or have had, their second baby. As I'm 45, and it took me aeons to have DS, I'm unlikely to have another. Logically, there's no reason why them having another baby will mean they don't want to hang out any more (and in fact I still see those who have had another) it makes me feel left out...

On the plus side, a good friend who had moved to Sydney looks likely to be coming back...

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now