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Modern life and isolation

(7 Posts)
darknessontheedgeoftown Mon 27-Feb-17 15:10:08

I recently relocated well away from London motivated by costs and not really enjoying it there. I had and still have some friends there but all everyone seems to do is work and travel to work and be away. I lived in zone 3 south London and there was absolutely ZERO sense of community. I relocated to a very slightly outside (zone 6) location which was a bit better, neighbours spoke to each other etc. I finally relocated away entirely to another part of the British Isles and it seems there is still some community here but it takes time to break into. I have read a lot about how isolated our lives now are and wondered what you thought about this? Some people make tons of friends at uni which did not happen to me. I suppose if it had and we were still all in touch I wouldn't need to meet new people either so maybe that's why? But I don't see why it shouldn't be possible to make friends in your 30s and 40s if you make an effort. Just wondering.

BeachysSnowyWellieBoots Mon 27-Feb-17 15:19:09

It is possible, but sometimes it takes time. We moved to a new area in our early 40's and the majority of our new friends came through one of our children's team sports...

CheersMedea Mon 27-Feb-17 16:46:56

I've long believed that the key determinant in making new friends is how often you see someone.

In other words - a normal friendship pattern is

A meets B in group setting.
A and B keep meeting in group setting.
A and B find they like each other a bit/have potential "friendship chemistry".

Typically A and B do something socially still in the group setting (eg. if at work, colleagues go for a drink; if at the school gates, parents going for a coffee) and confirm chemistry.

Then one of them asks the other to "do something" together - whether that is grab a coffee, have lunch, go to an art gallery they were both interested in or try out the new wine bar that has just opened - matters not.

From that a friendship is born.

The key to it is regular contact with a group of people - because if you met a 100 people, you'd probably only want to be good friends with one or two.

You can get this in lots of places - work is the obvious example, regular volunteering, going to the same place every day at the same time (pub/sandwich shop), joining an educational course that takes a term or so, joining a regular activity club - bell ringers etc.

CheersMedea Mon 27-Feb-17 16:50:39

I think you also have to factor in that as people age and marry, they have set social circles and lives that are comfortable. They are less inclined to be interested in making new friends as they don't "need" them (unless they've moved areas/recently divorced/had life disruption of some kind).

It's not like being a university where you "need" to make friends because you arrive knowing no one so there is a pressure to make new friends on everyone.

This means that to make new friends as you are older is marginally more difficult because unless the "friendship chemistry" is strong, there is little incentive to add someone new into the comfortable rota.

Couples are generally more receptive to other couples. Singles more receptive to other singles. People gather in groups like them.

highinthesky Mon 27-Feb-17 16:52:53

Have you considered joining a local Meetup group, OP?

I have made some very good friends that way.

BeachysSnowyWellieBoots Mon 27-Feb-17 17:09:54

I think you're right, Cheers. It's the 'inequality' when you move to a new area; you may want to make new friends, but people established in that area don't have the same incentive to reciprocate.....

Dineoutone Mon 27-Feb-17 20:23:21

Yes and I think it's really depressing! Lives are busier these days and there's much less focus on wider community than with yourself. Sad (imo) but true.

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