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Is it possible to make real 'true' friends as you get older?

(50 Posts)
Thunderwing Wed 15-Jun-16 14:26:45

Following on from another thread about friendships changing as you age, there are a lot of posts on there about people being friends from a young age and maintaining that friendship for life. I wonder if it's possible to make that same kind of genuine deep friendship with someone that you meet as an adult?

I ask because I come from a military upbringing where childhood friendships were mostly fleeting. Friends I had at school have settled all over the known world and as such we have drifted apart, with only the odd Facebook comment here and there to keep contact. I have found it unspeakably difficult to make friends in civvy street. It's almost impossible to break into the friendship groups of people who have been together since primary school without constantly feeling like the third wheel. I have a nice working relationship with my colleagues, I think I get on well with them and will text them outside of work but I know that never in a million years would I be invited to go out with them socially because they have their own friends, and they wouldn't be a shoulder for me to lean on in times of need. It's incredibly lonely at times, and being that I'm still only in my early 30's I hate to think that the rest of my life will be like this. I would love to hear other people's experiences....

gonetoseeamanaboutadog Wed 15-Jun-16 14:29:51

I think you can make brilliant friends when older but they tend to be one offs rather than a group. Have you tried bumble?

Most people in groups only tolerate each other deep down anyway I think...and you can put years of tolerating in only to find it peters out anyway.

Thunderwing Wed 15-Jun-16 14:34:42

No I've never heard of Bumble off to google it now

I think you may be right about the group thing, people's life experiences invariably have an effect on your tolerances for other people's BS!

oncemoreuntothebreachoncemore Wed 15-Jun-16 14:36:08

In my experience, yes. One of my closest friends is someone I first met when I was in my mid thirties.

AGnu Wed 15-Jun-16 14:36:21

I've not got any friends from childhood. Since having DC I've developed a group of mum-friends who've become real friends. I can see us being close indefinitely. I've never had proper friends before so it's taken me several years to get used to it but I wouldn't be without them now! smile

Thunderwing Wed 15-Jun-16 14:37:13

Just checked Bumble, has anyone used it before for platonic friendships? Looks like an OLD app to me, and I'm happily married lol!

Thunderwing Wed 15-Jun-16 14:39:16

AGnu, that's really interesting, can I ask did your friendships start when your DC were older? I have a DC aged 3, and apart from the cursory nods to other mums when dropping off at nursery there really isn't any kind of interaction.

SugarMiceInTheRain Wed 15-Jun-16 14:48:00

I'm starting to think not. I try really hard, I do, but despite living here for 9 years, I have no friends I can go out with - a few would help in a crisis because they are kind, though I wouldn't be able to ring them at 2am or anything like that. I am still friends with a group I went to secondary school with, but we are spread all over the world now and they are all very career-oriented, whereas I settled down and had a family and haven't got back on track!

I don't really get it - I've always been sociable but not in your face, have interests, think of others, remember birthdays etc, but feel an outsider everywhere. Even one of my closest friends (one of my bridesmaids) hasn't remembered any of my children's birthdays for years, even though I send a card and present to each of her children and have done since her eldest was tiny. And my other bridesmaid who became my best friend when I went to uni, inexplicably ditched me as a friend several years ago, and has ignored all attempts to get in touch that I've made - I've apologised for whatever I might have done to upset her (pretty sure I didn't do anything!) .... Nada.

I'm starting to think it's not worth putting myself out there only to be rejected when I discover everyone else in a group is really pally and going out for drinks but have left me out. My DH is my best friend, and is fab, though not particularly sociable, but I'd love to have female friends I could go out with.

SugarMiceInTheRain Wed 15-Jun-16 14:48:28

Oops, sorry for the epic brain-dump above!!

Thunderwing Wed 15-Jun-16 14:48:49

How did you meet oncemore?

I think that's really my question - how do you make friends at all later in life I'll even take shit ones

springydaffs Wed 15-Jun-16 14:50:18

Takes courage but you could do the inviting? Most people are flattered to be asked - and if they're not flattered you wouldn't want to bother with them anyway.

I wonder if you are blocking potentially deep friendships because of the ' not in a million years' thing ; a kind of ' I've missed the boat and there's no way now '. A fear you've missed those fertile friendship years and you'll never catch up /compete.

To answer your q: yes, it's of course possible to make deep friendships later in life. It's about slowly slowly catchy monkey - you lay the groundwork and see where it goes.

Thisisnow16 Wed 15-Jun-16 14:50:57

I live in an area where the majority of mums went to the same school their kids go to now and it's incredibly hard to break into that even if you are nice and friendly.

loobyloo1234 Wed 15-Jun-16 14:52:20

Bumble is definitely a dating app OP ... PP must have thought you were single smile

Hiddenaspie1973 Wed 15-Jun-16 14:52:34


nomoreheroes Wed 15-Jun-16 14:52:45

I have some very close friends that I met at all stages of my life - primary school, secondary school, uni, work. So to answer your question, yes, you can definitely make deep and lasting friendships as an adult. Though having moved quite a long way from where I used to live, I have found it hard to maintain some of those friendships, due to us all having busy work and home lives I suppose.

I can totally relate to your current situation though. I haven't made any proper new friends in about 10 years and that does make me genuinely sad and lonely. I am friendly with lots of people at work and with other mums at DCs' school but none of them has developed into anything deep. I have gone for a drink with some girls from work and we had the best fun but nothing since. I went for a drink with another mum from school but our kids are at different schools now and they've moved on from each other so we haven't met up even for coffee in months. I find it harder than dating! Before I had kids and when I first moved here, I tried the usual routes (night classes, work colleagues etc) but I dunno, it's just hard. It may be a factor that where I live, while it is a city, is a very tight-knit suburb and lots of people have never left the local area so have regular contact with family and long-standing friendships.

I live in hope though, but I feel it takes a bit of effort. I have a great DH two fantastic DCs who make me very happy, but I do miss female company and a good old giggle and the odd bitching session! But I am not ready to give up trying just yet, I think it will happen now that I know a lot more parents at the school. Do you have children and are they at school?

Thunderwing Wed 15-Jun-16 14:53:05

Sugar, don't apologise, I get it completely. You sound very similar to me, I'm not the biggest socialiser anymore, (well mainly because it's hard with no friends to socialise with grin) and most of the time I plod along quite happily with my life.

Just sometimes though, you miss a friend to go out with and break the monotony of life. I'll be your friend Sugar, here, have these wine cake

ThornyBird Wed 15-Jun-16 14:55:17

Yes it is possible. We relocated 6 years ago and I have since made friends with some who are casual acquaintances but 1, perhaps 2 who will be friends for life.

It does take time and there needs to be a common interest (beyond the DC?). I think it took 18monthes + before I realised that they were friends for life type friends.

Thunderwing Wed 15-Jun-16 14:58:56

Nomore, yes I have one DC who is 3. DC also has additional support needs and I know that some of the mums at nursery are a bit hmm about it. Some of the mums are always pleasant but there is not an insignificant number of sideways glances sad

springy, I wouldn't know where to start with inviting friends. DH, DC and I live in a very cramped one bedroom flat so we can't invite anyone here I'm too mortified, and the area I live in is relatively out of the way so not much to do

nomoreheroes Wed 15-Jun-16 15:06:12

Sorry Thunder, I cross-posted with you and realised after that you had mentioned a little one. Have you asked any of the other mums at nursery if they'd like to go to soft play with you and your DC? I've done that a couple of times (that was how I got friendly with one mum at DCs nursery, though as I said that has drifted since the kids went on to different primary schools). I never invite people to mine really as it makes me too stressed wanting it to be clean when it never will be!!

I feel this must be a really common issue when you have children and don't live in your hometown - is it?

Thunderwing Wed 15-Jun-16 15:15:41

I think it must be, although my itinerant childhood means I have no hometown anyway!

I work full time so we don't get the chance to go to softplay ever as much as I'd like. Plus DC's additional needs make it a very stressful activity at the best of times. Like you, my DH is my best friend and we enjoy spending time together at weekends, he comes from a similar background to me so also has no friends to socialise with. We're it for each other. At least that should make it bloody hard for him to ever find run off with OW wink

springydaffs Wed 15-Jun-16 15:21:30

Have a think - an event? Concert? Then you can casually mention it, say you are thinking of going, anybody else interested?

Thunderwing Wed 15-Jun-16 15:29:11

Springy I have tried on a few occasions to make not so subtle hints about wanting to see a film which my DH isn't interested in. I've even had "oh, yeah, I'd love to see that! We should go together" replies, which invariably come to nowt.

I keep thinking back to your 'am I blocking' comment. I really don't think I am, (am I?) I have tried to get myself involved with other people, and as I said I get on really well with my colleagues. We have a right good laugh at work, and send stupid snapchats to each other and stuff, but it never goes beyond that. That being said, it's so difficult to even contemplate making social arrangements, my colleagues are mostly mothers themselves so we all have childcare commitments which are not easily overcome.

springydaffs Wed 15-Jun-16 15:36:34

At 'we should go together ', get your diary out: ' I'm free on Wednesday and Friday this week, what about you? '

You have to keep plugging away at this stuff. And develop a rhino hide! I tell myself that the ones who bite are worth knowing. Yy everyone's busy and all that but you're not the only one who is on the lookout for friends.

MrsFring Wed 15-Jun-16 15:37:05

Book clubs can be good OP, not child-centred and you can be your proper adult self. Maybe ask around some promising candidates and offer to set one up?

springydaffs Wed 15-Jun-16 15:39:04

Perhaps initiate a girls night out? Even put it on the notice board at work... Be a bit of a social secretary.

You may get stuck there, mind, but it's worth it to plumb those depths.

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