Seriously, how do you make friends?
So, I'm hitting 30 soon and I find myself with absolutely no friends. I recently moved to a new city leaving behind my girlfriend who at that point was my only friend in that city. I've always been an introvert and find it hard to make friends. It's somewhat easier when you are in school to make friends because you are forced to bond over shared experiences. The close group of friends I made in college went on to be scattered across the country and I never ended up living in the same city of any of them.
I'm the youngest person where I'm working now (It's a small office) and the closest person in age to me is in his mid 40 lives about an hour from where I do and has kids, a wife, and all that. I've tried gaining friendships with friends of friends as well as reconnecting with acquaintances from college who live in the area, but nothing is sticking. I've invited people to go to basketball games, get drinks etc, but everybody seems busy and out of all my invitations I've only hung out with a person once and it was super awkward and didn't turn into a friendship. I've been here a year and find it horribly depressing doing nothing on the weekends and spending long amounts of time by myself. I went to a few meet-up groups I found online and the pressure of the situation was too much for me. My anxiety skyrocketed and totally felt out of place. Finding friends is like dating but even more frustrating. So, simply how do you make friends as you get older are out of school and don't have anybody at work that seems friend compatible?
As a fellow introvert, I understand where you're coming from. I'm lucky in the fact that I still live in the area where I grew up and I still have 3 close friends that I grew up with who still live around here also. The problem is, many people our age (I'm 31) are now married and have kids of their own, so their too busy to hang out with. And when you're married and do have kids, you're priorities change and making friends is not really at the top of your list of priorities. 2 out of my 3 close friends I don't even see that much anymore. One is married with 3 kids and the other lives with his girlfriend and her kids. So that leaves me with 1 friend who I still hang out with a lot.
Originally Posted by blue_monday
With that being said, here are my suggestions for you. Join some local clubs or groups that interest you. For example, in my area, there are local running clubs for people who enjoy running. They meet up every weekend at a different place and run local trails and such. It's a great way to meet fellow enthusiasts and make new friends. And it seems like there's a group or club for almost every interest out there anymore, even the niche ones. Another suggestion is to take some classes at your local community college or arts center. Many community colleges offer non-credit classes just for people who want to learn more about a subject or just learn something new. There's no grades or anything, so there's no pressure and it's a great way to learn something new and make some friends along the way. Craigslist is a great place to look for classes that may be offered in your area. Hope this helps and good luck.
I am an introvert too, and I'm in the same boat, although a few years younger.
Taking a couple community college classes can help, although make sure you have the time and are actually interested in the material.
Also, church or synagogue? Maybe you will run into someone.
I would suggest meetup.com but haven't gone to any outings yet. They're at least 20 min away.
It's rough, but it's possible. Fellow introvert here.
Meetup.com worked for me after coming back to the country to my hometown and not knowing anyone. I've met several of the people I hang out with regularly through that site. So I'll second that suggestion.
CL is spotty, but I have found some good classes from there. I'm back in school now, so I do occasionally socialize with my classmates out of class, but that's spottier since most of them are married and some have families.
I mean, friendship is a two way street, and I get that it takes being a friend to make a friend, but sometimes you just get burnt out. Hang in there, take care of yourself, put yourself out there, and something is bound to come your way.
"I want to hold the whole wide world right here in my open hands/maybe I'm just a little girl/a little girl with great big plans." ~Mindy Gledhill, Whole Wide World
"If you can't spot the crazy person on the bus, it's probably you." ~HIMYM, Season 6
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"Sometimes you have to wade through some shit to get to the good stuff." ~Tayl405
I moved to a new city a year and a half ago. So I empathize with how hard it is to make friends when you don't really know anyone. And being introverted and hating the bar scene does not help.
I have found meet-up.com to be helpful, but for making friends, you want to join one that meets regularly and it's the same people (provided you click with said people). Or, if you're particularly brave, you can start your own meet-up. In my area, I found that there are a couple of meet-ups just for introverts haha. And yes, people show up. Someone mentioned church, if you are spiritually inclined. I joined a community group at my church, and that helps.
One of the cool things about moving to a new city is you do have a chance to make new connections. This may require some initiative, but try asking friends and family if they know anyone in your new city, and see if you can reach out to them.
I've made friends by attending everything I was invited to. I found friends by doing activism for a cause I believe in. I've made friends from work and my students are friend-like too. But that's because I have a very sociable job - I'm a TEFL teacher.
It's important to work on yourself - to love yourself and spend time getting to know yourself by going out on dates by yourself. For example going to a cafe, taking out a book to read, being surrounded by people in a calm relaxed place and being friendly and slightly chatty with the barista - these things will give you oil to smooth the clogs in your rusty socialising machine (no offence, I'm an introvert myself so I know how it goes).
Being a friend is also about providing something nice to your friends. If you enjoy someone's company so much, and you know they enjoy nature - maybe you offer to drive them out somewhere so you can explore a national park. If you know that someone needs help in something, you offer them help and then hang out afterwards.
Friendship is all about give and take. If you're taking too much and not giving enough, the other person will feel bored, stressed or used. If you're giving too much and not getting anything nice or positive or substantial, you'll feel burned out. If you learn how to balance give and take in your friendships, it will feel natural, positive and life-affirming rather than a boring transaction between two lonely people.
One of the best ways that I have learned to make friends is through volunteering. Often working for a favored cause is a built in way to like minded people. There have been many times that I have worked on a project, manned a table, etc that I have spent hours with another person or two. You often learn intimate details of each others lives when working on these projects. If you work on this cause over time, this time spent together will often lead to friendships.
I am not sure if this has ever been mentioned on this board, but one of the things that a person in their 20's and 30's has to do is also look at their friendships differently, than you did when you were younger. This was a very difficult thing for me to do, but once I realized that my friendships today will be different from those during childhood and college, actually my adult friendships became more meaningful. For example, we had friends when we were younger that we did everything with, shared all of our secrets with, went out with on a whim, etc. Unfortunately, since people now have wives, kids, jobs, etc this is not possible. I have friends that I go out with on occasion, friends from church, friends from my volunteer activities, the childhood friend that I visit with when I am in his community, etc. While a few of these friendships do cross, most are limited to the activity in which I know them through. Lastly, I have also learned that friendships come and go with more frequency than did when I was younger. People get burned out by activities, move, etc. I just thought that I would post a different way of looking at this frequent question on this message board.
Some answers to your post!
I have learned that relationships in life are important and sometimes its difficult to balance everything...work, professional life,social life, spiritual life, dating...etc. To try to live a better life, I listen to a speaker by the name of Matthew Kelly www.matthewkelly.com. Check out one of his videos here! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LCFLXr2-7U0
He is a professional and spiritual speaker on the topics of life and making improvements in your life and company. He has some great advice and discusses how our society is focused on consumerism and not enough on legitimate needs of people. Everyone needs to connect with other people to feel alive. its all about relationships with friends, family, etc. The video is about How you are never too young or old to start living out your dreams in life.
focus on the positive, focus on what you CAN do to improve your situation...set small goals for yourself to work towards each day. Plan to go to at least a couple of social events each week. At each event tell yourself that you will talk with at least 2 or 3 people. Beforehand think of questions you could ask people to start a conversation. Like...are you from this area? what do you do for a living? Do you have any interesting plans for the summer? What is your favorite hobby or sport? or What do you like to do in your free time? All of these questions are great conversation starters. Once the person answers the question, keep it going by commenting on what ever their answer is to the question. And then follow up with another open ended question to get the other person to open up to you.
For example.... Me: 'Hi, I'm Danielle. I'm a Licensing Help Desk Specialist for a Fortune 500 company. What do you do for a living?'
Bob: 'Hi, I'm Bob, I'm a firefighter.'
Me: 'You must have a lot of courage to be a firefighter'
Bob: 'Yeah, just last week I saved a child that was in a house fire about 4 stories up. Found her just in time, the place was totally filled with fire and smoke.'
Me: 'Wow, you must be proud of yourself for saving a child'
Bob: 'Yeah, best part of my job...saving and helping people'
Me: 'Have you ever been recognized for your heroic actions?'...........and I think you get the idea....
make observations and compliments about people and ask a lot of open ended questions. That will get them talking...
Also check out Dale Carnegie...he wrote "How to Win Friends and Influence People" Its a great book on how to focus more on relationships.
He has these principles he lives by...I listed them below.
1. Don't criticize, condemn or complain
2. Show honest, sincere appreciation
3. Arouse in the other person an eager want
4. Become genuinely interested in other people
6. Remember that a person's name is the sweetest and most important sound in any language
7. Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves
8. Talk in terms of the other person's interests
9. Make the other person feel important - and do it sincerely.
For more info check out the book "How to Win Friends and Influence People"
I really hopes this helps, all the resources I listed above are great ways to improve and overcome shyness...you are not alone, I have been fighting shyness all my life. It requires change and sometimes change is difficult but with hard work and determination it IS POSSIBLE! Learn about yourself, Be more in the moment, choose to be more proactive in your interactions with people. Take social risks that are 'safe' meaning don't do anything that will get you into great trouble or harm, but take risks where there might be some mild risk for rejection.
Feel free to keep in touch if you'd like, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org