Making new friends is hard at the best of times but it’s a pastime that seems to become even more un-achievable the older we get. New jobs, clubs, partners and friends of friends are the usual suspects for finding new friends but what happens when you just don’t click with any of those people or you find it hard to make the next step from acquaintances to full on BFF?
I’ve never had a lot of friends, a handful of close people that have evolved and changed over the years. I find myself at 27 with very few close friends and a lot less tolerable to drama! As I get older the less I put up with – mind games, one-sidedness and general girly jealousy or competition turns me off and I find myself getting incredibly ruthless with the people I let into my life.
At first I used to think it made me a bad person but after speaking to a number of new friends about the subject who are my own age or older, it’s clear that I’m not alone and looking after your own well being is just a sign of growing up. Gone are the days I’ll let ‘friends’ walk all over me, subtly put me down, mess me around or love me less. For me if its not mutual, kind, supportive and positive then it just doesn’t fly. I’m at a stage in my life where I’m seeking stability and on the cusp of making the biggest life decisions of my world so far – creeping up to the big 3-0 brings thoughts of shiny rings, weddings, bigger houses and dare we say it…eventually (hopefully)children too. I want people around me who are genuinely happy for my successes and smile with love when I say ‘I’m just so happy’ instead of begrudgingly responding ‘Awwww’ and hating me inside.
As you grow older some friendships grow apart or change and that’s ok. Sometimes we meet friends at certain times in our life and that’s all they’re there for – a relationship that works for both of you at that time. Others will grow with you, your relationship morphing and molding to follow how both of your lives change and stick around for years to come. Either way it’s important to recognise when a relationship has moved on or no longer fits your lifestyles and make a decision to let go. It can be hard to do but in the long run better for the both of you and a lot more healthy than trying to cling on to something that’s fizzled out – we do it with boyfriends, the same applies to our girl friends.
Recently I’ve found a number of new friends by putting myself out there and saying yes to or initiating offers to meet up for a simple coffee. Every time I meet with a potential new friend I feel like I’m on a first date and I get incredibly nervous but it’s wonderful to find new people to spend your time with and hear different perspectives on life. Pushing yourself out of that comfort zone is so important for making new friends as an adult and the beauty of it is – you are both adults and if it doesn’t work out then you can simply collect those Costa points and move on, no harm done!
Blogging has recently given me a number of new contacts whom I’ve met up with and have become good friends. Being around people who are on the same wavelength and know the pressures we’re under as creators is wonderful and if nothing else it’s a great common ground to break the ice. I’ve rekindled old school relationships that didn’t make it to the friend zone when we were younger and even crossed the bridge from work colleague/business contact to full on friend too. Surrounding yourself with like-minded people, those who are at the same junctions in life can make finding new friends a lot easier – why not join a club (exercise, photography, coffee morning, slimming world) or tag along with another friend when they head out with a different group? Take a deep breath, put on a bold lip and go for it – what have we got to lose?
So if you’re feeling like it’s hard to make friends the older you get and your circle is dwindling then know that you’re not alone, but also know that it won’t be like that forever. As you get older your friendship groups do change but as life goes on, if you’re open to it, you can find friends in the strangest of places. Throw yourself into the friend dating scene and give it a go – you never know where it might end up or who you might meet along the way!
What are your tips for making new friends as an adult? Do you find it tough too?
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