Why It’s Hard To Make Friends As An Adult

Making friends as a grown up shouldn’t be this hard, right?

“When we are little we make friends where we find them – you live next door? friend. Sit next to me at school? friend. Generally we have similar but limited interests. As an adult we filter out the people we don’t agree with politically, socially etc. By the time we get to the few people left there’s a very small pool of potential friends.”

“In reality, our judgments tend to be on superficial crap that really doesn’t matter. When people get over that they find it’s much less difficult to make friends. To put it another way, our egos are much more fully developed as adults and we define ourselves by opposition to what we think we’re not. This leads us to exclude people who don’t fit certain criteria and to further isolate ourselves.”

“You’d be surprised how easy it is the just ask someone at a coffeeshop a question, like, What are you reading? Or even something off the wall. People want to talk to each other, they’re just waiting for someone else to do it first.”

“Helps a lot if you do stuff. Preverably in a team, a club, a community, any kind of group.

This helps because there will be a few people you see regularly, so you don’t have to tell them “I want to be your friend” right the first time you meet them.”

“I think because as we grow older it is perceived that everyone already has their own friends, and that making some more is triggered by something else (for work, physical attraction, etc.) and not by just actually making friends. And being the conscious beings that we are, we spend too much time thinking of what people will think of us when we try to make friends that it appears to be hard, when it shouldn’t be.”

“For most, it means working in a place that you might not love but is sufficient; coming home to food and TV and maybe a beer or a book and then bed. You want to maintain this lifestyle when you retire, so you stay in, saving money, and don’t put yourself out there. A comfortable life is the enemy of risk taking.”

“It’s seen as a sign of weakness to want to be friends. You have to be so subtle about it, almost to the point of not letting someone else know that you want to be friends. I used to have this theory I called “The paradox of friends”, which was basically that the friendlier someone is, the less we want to be their friend.”

“I also think we’re a lot less tolerant as we get older. Something annoys us about someone and they’re easily banned from our lives (though if we had stuck with them, we might have discovered they are actually great people with minor annoying things about them).”

“That’s a big one, I think [repeated, unplanned interactions]. It feels so forced, when you need to plan like three weeks in advance when you’re going to grab a beer with someone.” 

“Because we can’t go play out in the street everyday until dark or when dinner is ready. We have responsiblities now..

Friends are harder to find in adulthood because there are barriers to closeness now that simply didn’t exist when we were younger. They aren’t insurmountable barriers, but they still require work, effort and a meeting of the minds that might not happen no matter how many times you invite that one woman from your book club to coffee.

If I had time every single day to devote to going out and meeting people or fostering existing connections, I might find that a few would evolve into something deeper.

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