Making friends in 30s and beyond
Primark872 · 16/04/2021 19:21
Anyone else realised they don't have many friends? I see threads about it on here from time to time.
Fortunately I don't get too lonely but still it would be nice. I have my boyfriend and my family.
I have got ONE lovely friend who's asked me to meet up, the only friend I've seen since December. I have a group of ex colleagues I might see once a year but it's usually me who has to initiate things.
Seeing the outdoor pubs and restaurants jam packed with friends meeting, I haven't really got anybody to do this with.
I asked a friend to meet up this weekend and to bring some of his friends, and he never replied.
Another friend I've been trying to get to come on a walk for weeks (she's been in hotels etc so it's not Covid related) and she won't ever commit to a day.
I have a group of high school friends but it's drifted over the years, 2 of them I wouldn't even class as friends now. They're very much following the work work work life and TTC, may see them a couple of times a year if I'm lucky.
Nobody I can meet up with on a regular basis, I see joining clubs being suggested a lot, has anybody found this successful? I have no children and majority of these people I mentioned don't either.
It's just a bit depressing seeing all these groups out meeting and having nothing to look forward to.
Am I being unreasonable?AIBU
You have one vote. All votes are anonymous.
DaenarysStormborn · 16/04/2021 19:49
Not much wisdom to share I'm afraid. I could have written this up until 3 years ago. I joined a society when moving to my current area and made a very close group of friends of about 10 people.
The last year has been hard though, we would normally see each other weekly as a minimum at rehearsals with social evenings on top. The majority of them have children while we don't (currently expecting though).
I will say that breaking into the society group took quite a lot of effort - I had to really push myself to do absolutely everything offered for a period of months. Overall I think I was lucky that the society was used to having pub clubs and socials linked but not exclusive to the members, which made it easier to get to know their partners, children etc.
I would suggest finding something once Covid stops being difficult. If your current friends aren't making the effort to see you, you have to, at some point, admit you aren't a priority for them and seek new friendships. This was a pattern of my friendships previous to my current group. I had to accept I was only an option for them, not a priority.
Tooshytoshine · 16/04/2021 19:53
I have a mixture of friends that are from years ago and more recent. The newer friends are from being involved in clubs, parenting, workplaces or post grad studying.
I have a handful of very close friendships who I confide in and trust implicitly. Then the others are people who I got on with and clicked then maintained the contact but I am confident, look for the best in people and am quite thick skinned so will pursue a potential friendship (within social boundaries). It takes effort, vulnerability and a bit of bravery to make new friends as an adult. You also need to be aware that some people already have a full dance card and it's not about rejecting you but rejecting new friendships- just gracefully move on.
The downside of wearing your heart on your sleeve is that it is not always apparent that somebody is not actually a very nice person. However, this has always been more than balanced out by the very lovely people who have become friends over the years.
You seem lovely and like you have only done what a lit of us do from time to time - make a cosy best and sit in it with your loved ones for a bit.
Primark872 · 16/04/2021 20:09
I see a lot on here of "You aren't their priority, chill out!" If a friend doesn't reply for weeks.
Why can't you be a priority for somebody?
It's sad that only one person has suggested meeting up with me and has reached out themselves to do so.
I understand that some people just aren't looking for new friendships though.
I'll give a club a go once lockdown stops fully and I'll try to keep an open mind and a thick skin.
Tried the bumble bff app but people stop replying after a while, just like with dating.
I often think that people think I'm nice and kind, but dull.
PolarnOpirate · 16/04/2021 20:14
Very common unfortunately and I’ve definitely been there. Do you have kids? I’ve only really made friends in adulthood since having kids - 3 from baby groups, 1 from son’s school, that’s it really!
Were you by any chance nice to everyone at school but never part of any particular clique? I was, I even won a school award for it, but it left me stranded as everyone went to uni etc and only kept up with their specific group of friends back home.
Clubs and stuff I have tried but in adulthood everyone is so busy and many have enough on their plate already. You just have to be ready and open to instigate things when you spark with someone. It’s hard though and I’m only getting the hang of it now I’m 31 and on anti anxiety meds 🤣
MaverickDanger · 16/04/2021 20:17
We’ve moved around a lot & never in one place for longer than two years.
We’ve made some really good friends this time round through moving to a new build estate (not for everyone!) but has meant that we’ve got to know our neighbours really well.
I’ve also made more friends since having DS but that’s still quite fledgling.
I’m naturally a bit of a hermit so have been really forcing myself to get out & say yes to everything.
I’m pretty sure Bumble has a friend bit that you can look to meet people through. I found it so much easier as an expat to basically message someone on a forum & say “fancy a coffee” - for some reason, it seems weird to do that in the UK!
Nuffaluff · 16/04/2021 20:19
I think that, when joining clubs, it’s really important to join it for the interest, not for how easy you think it will be to make friends.
Sometimes it can take time to make friends, so the club needs to be something you’re really interested in for its own sake.
I’ve been in a book group for three years and we are a pretty good bunch of mates now, but it’s all very much based around are shared interest. It’s the main thing we all have in common. It means we have similar personalities too (bookworm-ish introverts 😂).
IrishMamaMia · 16/04/2021 20:30
I think lots of us have been where you are really. It's just natural with the ebbs and flows of modern life. I joined two local groups, hobbies and met some people through that. It was a slow burn but the efforts really paid off.
I do know what you mean about post Covid though, there's so many people that I haven't seen in a year, a few have even moved out of London and it's hard to keep up. It's harder to make plans. I'm making the best of time with my other half at the moment and hope I can slowly reconnect with friends. It's almost like we're all coming out of our bunkers.
Tooshytoshine · 16/04/2021 20:34
The nice, kind but dull thing is where being brave comes in - make the comment in your head out loud it sorts out who gets you and wants to be friends. If you like them, treat them like they are already your friend.
Fast friends tend not to work out - as PP have said, find an interest that becomes a passion. The rest will follow, over time.
JesusWearsPrada · 20/04/2021 21:27
The dating app Bumble has 3 parts to it, you an choose to use it for dating, professional networking and/or meeting friends. The latter part is called Bumble BFF and you can select which of these modes you want to use. Unconventional but just a thought?
Babyroobs · 20/04/2021 21:55
I feel like I don't have too many friends locally. Despite having had four kids, I have only really made one lasting good friend through the kids, someone who was also a neighbour.
I have 2 work colleagues that I met over 25 years ago and we are still good friends and have a few nights out a year. I made one good friend at a job a couple of years ago, but she is half my age but we get on well. I worked in another place for 15 years but have not kept in touch with anyone from there - everyone seemed to form their own little friendship groups and I was never in the clique.
My main group of friends are a group I have known since schooldays and they are the ones I would really trust. I keep really encouraging my 15 year old dd to try to form some good friendships that will last, probably because I have had this strong friendship group for forty years now, I know we will always be friends.
LibbyL92 · 20/04/2021 22:03
I have two outside of work really close friends (I see them separately, holidays ect)
A couple of work friends I see outside of work sometimes
And myself and my boyfriend are part of a motorcycle group and we often do nights away days out on the bike ect.
Im rarely in a group bigger than 4. Unless it’s with the motorcycle group.
majesticallyawkward · 21/04/2021 15:23
It's really hard to make friends as an adult, the classic 'join a club' doesn't work for everyone. Not every club is full of people looking for new friends, not everyone is comfortable in that situation.
I've never really had friends, I was the weird kid at school who everyone was awful to so was always alone reading. Made a few friends then a godawful relationship ended that, we broke up and he got all the joint friends so I had to start again in my twenties and made a couple of good friends at work- one I'm still close to 12 years on.
Now in my 30s I have maybe 5 friends, genuine friends like if I called at 3am they'd answer, go to each other with anything from minor inconvenience to major things. They are a mix of people I've met at work and through kids, never had more than small talk at groups or gyms.
Opal93 · 21/04/2021 15:50
I feel like this sometimes. I can count my proper friends on one hand. I know I couldn’t possibly have any more as I struggle to maintain friendships as it is. Between us all having children, most of them working and pressures of family life catching up is hard. I am autistic and so making friends and keeping them is hard for me for lots of reasons. I definitely prefer a relationship because it’s more consistent, whereas friendship can ebb and flow iyswim. Also, unless there is a huge quarrel and someone declares the friendship over there’s no clear beginning or end to a friendship the way there is in a relationship and as someone with ASD I find that confusing. Also, friendships are full of unspoken social rules and I find that exhausting and a lot of work. So probably the fewer friends the have the better.
susiebluebell · 21/04/2021 16:41
I think we basically make friends by having things in common, be that a job, a hobby, kids the same age, etc.
Getting a dog has been the best way for me to learn and practice social skills as an adult. If you didn't have the resources to get your own dog, you could maybe look into dog-walking for other people as a hobby. Talking to other dog people is great - it's basically a set pattern of conversation openers, you have something in common to talk about, and you can end it after 2-3 minutes if you want to and walk away!
I used to be very anxious about small talk, but now I feel pretty confident that I can have a 5 min conversation with just about anyone. And if you keep seeing the same person in the park every day, you can become real friends. Just from walking the dog, I've gained one genuine long-lasting friend (we go for lunch, tell each other private worries, text each other life updates occasionally etc.), and probably 10-12 people that I would be able to stop and say hi to in the street.
I know you didn't ask specifically about social anxiety, but the dog thing has really changed my life significantly. I think it's about quantity over quality, to begin with. Just saying yes to things, even stuff that sounds boring (do your relatives go to any hobbies or events that you can tag along with, using the excuse of needing a post-Covid change of scenery?) and just chat to people with no expectation of anything in return. Doing that over a period of months really boosted my confidence and helped me make friends when I returned to study last autumn. (I'm 30 btw)
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