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How can I make new friends?

(27 Posts)
Hideyspidey Tue 18-Mar-14 06:48:01

NC for this, as it may out me. (also: long. Sorry!)

Not sure where to start with this, but I really want to make some new friends.

I separated from XP about a year ago. Prior to that we had many joint friends - though most of them were XP's originally. Now we've split, they've all now dropped contact to a minimum (maybe an occasional FB "like", but no more). I've tried to keep in touch (and XP & I get on well, so I don't think there's any animosity), but with no success.

I've got two friends who I'm really close to, and they really are wonderful, but they're both married with kids & busy lives, and so although I know they make an effort to see me when they can, it's rare that we manage it and I feel like it's quite onerous on them.

I suffer from mild depression & anxiety, so I find it difficult to just go out & meet people - I made myself go to the pub the other week, but then sat alone for a few hours...

I have my kids with me 50/50, but because I work, I never get to meet any of their friends parents. I'd love to have some of them over for an afternoon so I could get to know them while the kids played, but all the play dates get arranged by XP, who sees them at school all the time. Also, of course, it means that they're good friends with XP - which isn't entirely ideal...

Work is quite a solitary environment - I can go for hours without speaking to anyone, and those I do speak to are spread around the world rather than local. I get on well with the others in the office, but we wouldn't class each other as friends - even the Christmas party was cancelled for lack of interest in spending time with each other.

I do have a hobby - singing; however XP is involved quite heavily with both of the local choirs. I've sung with other groups from other towns, but the distance is always a barrier to actually making friends.

I've started going dancing again, to make myself meet people, but everyone seems to all be in couples or groups of friends, so while they're pleasant, it's clear (to me, at least) that I'm an awkward outsider.

Is there some secret to making friends? I feel very lonely, and I'd love to just be able to go out for a drink with a friend or two now and again, but I just can't seem to get to know people.

Does anyone else feel this? Have you made new friends - and if so, how?!

oldfashionedgirl Tue 18-Mar-14 07:01:42

I think there must be some sort of secret that I don't know. People already seem to have plenty of friends but I don't!

newsandreviews Tue 18-Mar-14 07:09:41

Gym classes, groups at library, Womens institute (honestly!), become a volunteer, evening class, knitting group, book group, gingerbread group (with kids) if they in your area?

Just some ideas and good luck

Hideyspidey Tue 18-Mar-14 07:11:17

Yes, I don't know how they do it! I think that round here, a lot of people still have their old school friends, so don't feel the need to find new friends.

Ragwort Tue 18-Mar-14 07:16:43

As News says - join everything (including WI) don't have too many preconceived ideas about making new friends but go with the attitude that you will be having some time out, doing something interesting, meeting like-minded people who may or may not become 'friends'. Always offer to do something whether it is making the coffee, getting on the committee, clearing up at the end of the evening. I move around a lot - I follow these rules and have lots of friends, aquaintances and hobbies. smile. Voluntary work is fantastic for meeting hew people.

cherrytree63 Tue 18-Mar-14 07:24:16

If you like singing how about finding out if there any local jam/open mic nights? All the one's I've been to have had a very friendly bunch of players and not packed out with drunks like karaokes.

Hideyspidey Tue 18-Mar-14 09:32:35

news & ragwort thanks for the suggestions. Gingerbread doesn't have a group in this county, but there is one in the next, so I've registered & will give that a go.

The WI would probably be really good, but sadly I don't meet the core criteria for membership.

You're right about not over-thinking the desire to make friends; I think I'm just so aware of being by myself that it has taken on an urgency in my head.

cherry I sing opera/classical, so not much use at open mic; I mainly do solo, which relies on getting booked by a choir or venue to perform, and makes it harder to get to know people properly.

Hideyspidey Tue 18-Mar-14 09:35:04

God, I sound so defeatist sad

newsandreviews Tue 18-Mar-14 09:37:09

oh, sorry are you a man?!

thecook Tue 18-Mar-14 09:42:58

Hi OP

I have a suggestion. Could you go to a park run -parkrun.org? I have made lots of new friends that way.

Hideyspidey Tue 18-Mar-14 09:43:41

Yes. Even with my notable jam making ability, I think they'd notice...

Hideyspidey Tue 18-Mar-14 09:49:56

thecook thanks for that link - there's one in the next town. I'll have to dust off my running shoes & give it a try.

I know it says "run at your own pace", but what's it really like? Is it quite a mixture of ability?

newsandreviews Tue 18-Mar-14 09:51:11

Hehehe that has made me giggle. Sorry. You could dress up? And quote equality and diversity, call them sexist. Challenge them to a jam-off?? Hmmm. Good with the gingerbread. There were some men at the one I went to - think they loved all the women round them smile

What part of uk are you?

Yeehaw Tue 18-Mar-14 09:53:57

Ha, that's funny smile sorry OP. You do sound lonely. I think it must be harder for men somehow. Do you do any sports? I know dh met quite a nice bunch of blokes when he started training to do a triathlon (midlife crisis!!).

3mum Tue 18-Mar-14 10:03:53

I second the idea that you need to find and join as many groups as possible. I did this after my marriage broke down a couple of years ago leaving me quite isolated socially and it really is great to meet a whole new bunch of people who actually like me, not me as part of a couple. It is really good for self-confidence too and you sound a bit low.

This is what I did, but I am sure others will have different ideas.

Keep your eye open for groups all the time. Think where you might make connections (at this point you are just looking to socialise with nice people, friendships come after that). Think of it as gaining a whole lot of new interests. It is much easier to be interesting to others and to have something interesting to talk about if you have been doing something rather than sitting in front of the TV.

For example: You work so what about trade associations, unions, Rotary Club, local business networking groups? Law and accountancy firms often host free talks with networking afterwards. You don't have to be fascinated by the subject to go. Local Parish Council maybe?

You have children at school so what about the PTA or the board of governors at your school or another local school (tip: special needs schools in particular almost always need new governors). Ring up the school secretary and ask for contact details. Even if they don't have a vacancy then, ask them to keep you in mind.

Check with your local library and bookshop. Most run book clubs and some are used by other organisations for clubs. There is nothing stopping you belonging to more than one book group and it is a great way to meet people.

I think everyone should do something to benefit others. What could you do? Look up all the local charities, google them and find out if they need volunteers/ people on the board/ help with special projects e.g. an annual event.

I did not look at any sport options as I am not sporty, but if you are or if you fancy taking up a new sport, then look at those too. Or create one e.g. a Sunday morning dog walking club (Everyone who has a dog needs to walk it and it's so much more fun to go in a group and chat than walk alone).

How about a short course to learn something new? Look at Floodlight and also your local colleges for what is on offer.

Join a gym, preferably one with a coffee bar, and make sure you hang around and chat after the classes.

I'd also use the internet. Google social groups for your area (and they may not be in your town, but be prepared to travel a reasonable amount), also women's groups and look on meetup.com for your area. Crafting groups are great. Don't worry if you are not that good at the craft, people LOVE showing you how to do stuff.

The only way to do it is to make it a project. Start small e.g."every week I will find and join one new group and I will go to one event" and build up gradually. Commit to doing this for a year and I guarantee you will have a bunch of new friends and interests in a year's time.

Good luck.

3mum Tue 18-Mar-14 10:05:05

Sorry, thread moved whilst I was typing. Delete reference to women's groups and change to men''s groups then!

Hideyspidey Tue 18-Mar-14 10:08:36

news Warwickshire

Yeehaw I'm going to try thecook's parkrun suggestion - if nothing else, I'll get a bit fitter...

Wishfulmakeupping Tue 18-Mar-14 10:11:22

Masons? Then you could come back and tell us what the secret actually is?!

Hideyspidey Tue 18-Mar-14 10:21:19

3mum thanks for the suggestions. The idea of making it a project to go to more events etc is a good one.

Wishful I do have a friend who's grand wizard (or whatever they're called) - I believe the secret is that it's really not very exciting...

thecook Tue 18-Mar-14 10:21:51

Hi love

The park run is great. Do not worry about your speed. Sign up, print off your barcode and go for it. You can always look at the results from the previous week for your event but you will be fine. It is mixed ability. Everybody cheers on those that run at the back. They usually have a coffee afterwards. Good luck mate!

newsandreviews Tue 18-Mar-14 14:59:47

Ah. Was going to suggest some stuff if you were my part of the world but you're not.

Dating site smile Tinder smile

Hideyspidey Tue 18-Mar-14 15:54:25

news if only! I've been doing that for about 8 months too; yet to actually get a date (but that's a whole other thread...)

nerofiend Tue 18-Mar-14 16:23:20

I'd say making friends is a bit like finding love. You find it when you stop looking for it. At least, this has been the case with me.

I have to say that as the years go by, it's harder and harder to make friends. Personally, I wouldn't try just any club/group. For example, the WI sounds like the worst nightmare for me, too conservative, too prim and proper. I'm a bit too quirky for that sort of gang.

OP, just let it be for a while. I know being alone is tough but try to enjoy your own company first. Be your best friend, and when you feel really happy and comfortable being on your own, friendships will come naturally your way.

itwillgetbettersoon Tue 18-Mar-14 17:46:23

I've joined a running club which seems really friendly and they organise social events. Meet.co.uk have some brilliant groups for all different tastes. I receive a weekly email telling me about all the activities going on near me.

Botanicbaby Tue 18-Mar-14 18:09:27

"I've started going dancing again, to make myself meet people, but everyone seems to all be in couples or groups of friends, so while they're pleasant, it's clear (to me, at least) that I'm an awkward outsider."

I wouldn't write this off just yet OP. Sometimes it takes a while to infiltrate groups and become one of them smile Once more and more people join, you may find you no longer feel like an outsider.

I don't think there's any magical formula to making new friends, sometimes its just luck and circumstances no matter how much work or effort you put into it.

I found myself overseas with no friends or colleagues to hang about with. At first I found some groups seemed quite hard to break into at first, I don't know how I managed it in the end but joining in with everything even when you don't always feel like it helped, staying on the radar type thing. Volunteering is a great suggestion too, what about any other interests you have? There always seems to be local fitness/running/cycling/tennis groups around also book clubs/supper clubs and so on.

If it helps, please remember that everyone can feel lonely at times so you are not alone there. I don't know anyone who hasn't experienced it at some point or another. The fact that you managed to force yourself to go out the door and sit in a pub for a while is an achievement, don't let that make you feel even more lonely though. The more practice you get, you'll feel comfortable doing things on your own, sitting in cafes and so on and the better you'll feel I hope. It's not nice feeling lonely so you have my sympathy.

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