Monday, 30 January 2017

Why is it so hard to make friends? Is it my age, my personality or is it the curse of Facebook?

Friendships, a tricky subject to write about as many of my friends read my blog. This is a subject I must write about though as it is an area of my life where I often feel inadequate. I’m hoping through this post I will find I’m not alone, as that would be so reassuring. If I can reassure anyone else in the process, then all the better.
The Best Version of Kelly

I don’t have a great track record with friends, I’ve never intentionally sabotaged a friendship, I’ve never fallen out with someone or decided to not talk to them anymore, it just seems to happen to me. 

I ended up at different schools to my friends at age 11 and then became a victim of popularity contests. In my later teenage years I had great friends but I let insecurities come between us. 

Circumstance meant I ended up with a new set of friends each year at university and as it was difficult planning meet ups with all of the groups I've ended up not meeting up with any of them. It doesn't help of course that we are spread out across the country, in fact the world. I do still see my best friend from Uni, she lives an hour away, for years we didn't make enough effort but recently we decided to try and see each other once a month.

My 30's have been the hardest years yet to make and maintain friendships.
The Best Version of Kelly

My idea of what constitutes friendship has certainly changed over the years. Is that my age or is it the era we live in?

In my younger years a friend was someone I saw almost daily and my life revolved around them. Now my life revolves around my children and work and housework and it doesn't leave much time for friendship. 
I have two small groups of friends who I meet with once a year and rarely get past small talk with. I only know what’s going on in their lives because of Facebook. If one of them left their partner, had a cancer scare or lost a parent I would only know if they put it on Facebook, is that really friendship or more of an acquaintance? I consider them friends and I’m sure they would say the same about me but do we really make enough effort?
The Best Version of Kelly

For a while it was a challenge to make new friends as I rarely met new people. Then through my children starting school a whole new potential friendship group opened up. But how? Pick one and try to make plans without looking desperate? Play it cool and hope they decide you're the best friend they have to have? 
Out of 30 mums who do you gravitate to? In my daughters class groups formed amoungst the mum's, they stood in those groups at collection time. I didn't seem to make it into one though. I didn't want to pick a group and alienate anyone so I tried to move around the groups. I became the one who spoke to everyone but wasn't close to anyone. I think about it too much I guess. 

All I ever really wanted is a few or one, one would do, friends who I have things in common with and see regularly. Someone to share a bottle of wine with. Someone to moan with, have fun with, confide in and support. If I decided on Friday this week I wanted a girly night out with cocktails, I wouldn’t have anyone to ask. If I wanted to go clothes shopping with someone I wouldn’t have anyone. No one will already know everything I share in this blog as there is no one I share everything with. That makes me sad and lonely.
White Wine and Tulips

Have I been lazy or unlucky? Do I try too hard or am I just generally annoying? It feels like I see great friendships all around me but don’t have one myself. Is that true or do more people feel like me than I realise? It’s certainly hard if you move away from your home town and lose the friendships from your teenage years. I find my thirties particularly challenging friendship wise as we are all so busy and many of my peers already have long standing established friendships.
We like our friends to have things in common with us but I feel no one out there is quite like me! But until recently I’ve kept most of me very well hidden, maybe openness is the secret to lasting friendship? I hope so. 
The Best Version of Kelly
Facebook can be wonderful, it put me back in touch with my first infant school friend and we now try and meet once a year. I fear though that Facebook can make us feel we have lots of friends and know everything about them, it helps us convince ourselves we are in touch with them regularly but are we really?

We don't talk anymore, I never phone friends. Birthdays have changed too. I used to see my friends on my birthday and theirs and swap cards and presents, I'd have their birthdays on my calendar. Now the norm is to rely on Facebook to remind us of a birthday and therefore it's too late to send cards. It used to be the thought that counted but now we don't need to think. (God I sound old!)

I expect friendships to change again as I reach further decades of my life. I also now have online friends which is of course a whole other type of friendship again.

I hope I haven’t offended anyone by writing this, it’s truly not my intention. Nor is it my intention for people to treat me any differently, far from it. I’m simply sharing, putting it out there to see if anyone else feels the same way. Let me know your experiences.

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14 comments

  1. Well said my dear. 😘 We don't talk often but you're always on my mind.

    Bonnie

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  2. I totally get this. I have a couple of close friends, but since moving away from my home town definitely feel more lonely and like I don't really have people to see regularly and hang out with. It'd be nice to be able to just pop round someone's house rather than making plans etc.
    I think it's hard to connect if you move elsewhere definitely, but I can't work out if it's me by now x

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    1. Thank you for this. Moving away does make it hard. I often feel it's me but I'm sure it's not us as so many seem to be in the same situation x

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  3. I totally get this. I have a couple of close friends, but since moving away from my home town definitely feel more lonely and like I don't really have people to see regularly and hang out with. It'd be nice to be able to just pop round someone's house rather than making plans etc.
    I think it's hard to connect if you move elsewhere definitely, but I can't work out if it's me by now x

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  4. I read your blog with interest (via Twitter #) as I've had similar wrestles with myself at times. I have, what I consider, a decent amount of friends these days, and some I'd consider good friends, but like you friendships sometimes end (either me or them would end it, or we'd just drift apart). It used to upset me but I decided that I didn't want it to anymore. I personally like being a "flitter" and while I'll help friends when I can, I don't like neediness and I have been on the end of that a good few times. I also no longer feel any desire to have a "best friend" as that's too much pressure. I figure that the BFF boat has sailed now I'm approaching 40, and that's okay!

    Are you quite idealistic? You have an idea of how friendships should be? I am by nature and I'm trying to be less so. And yes, trying to stop overthinking things. Leads to better mental health, truly. Best of luck :)

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    1. Thank you. I relate so much to this. Yes I'm idealistic about it and you're right I really shouldn't be. I also shouldn't put so much emphasis on best friends.

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  5. I feel this so much. I'm 22 and have a grand total of zero friends. I suppose you could say my family are my friends as I'm very much a family person and love spending time with my dad, step mum and little sister. They're my world and mean everything to me. I've never been great at making or keeping friendships either nor have I ever had my own little friendship group. I've lost touch with everyone from school and college. Don't get me wrong I'd love to have a friend or two to sit down and have a cup of tea with or maybe even a glass of wine. But on the other hand I'm perfectly content with only my fiancé and my cat for company most days.

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    1. Thank you for reading. I'm glad you're content however don't give up on making friends, it's hard and takes effort and patience but can be worth it I hope x

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  6. You answered your own questions in your post. Friendships require effort. You have to pick up the phone, remember the birthday, send the card, invite someone, ask someone, share something. You have to make the decision to open up your heart and share yourself. If we want to have depth in our friendships, we have to be ready to be deep. If we want people to call us and share their news, we have to call and share our news. If we want to make new friends, we have to stop wanting to please everyone (as per your decision to be friends with all 30 mums). And, we don't need our friends to be just like us - we only need some very basic moral similarities in order to be the base for a good friendship. Open your heart and friends will follow. It still won't be easy, but it will be more rewarding. Good luck.

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    1. Thank you for taking the time to leave this comment. All that you say makes a lot of sense.

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  7. I am so with you in this. I'm 38 and also feel very different to most people.

    I moved back to a town a year ago where I used to have a lot of friends but they have all since moved on or had kids and I no longer fit in.

    The new crowd in town seem to be younger and very tight knit and so in almost a year, I have made no new friends and by friends I mean people who invite you out, people you're in a group chat with on WhatsApp, people you can invite round for dinner or movie and pizza night or go on adventures together.

    I feel like I missed out on making friends for my later years and it hurts. It also doesn't help that I don't have kids, nor want any and that I work from home so I am rarely out and about meeting new people, however the people I have met, none have invited me into their lives to spend time with them and that hurts and makes me wonder if there is something wrong with me?

    It was also suggested to me that its harder now because we're all so busy but I don't buy that. There are plenty of people I know in this town who hang out together all the time, having friends to commiserate and confide in is important. Having friends to do things with is important and people make time for that with the people they love. Not having that friend circle is super hard and I have no idea what to do about it either.

    All my friends live in my computer, spread across the world. But I would love them all to be in my home enjoying movie night over a few bottles of wine instead!

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  8. I struggle with making friends. I think it's tricky because people and myself are always moving around so much and it's hard to say in touch with people.

    http://ohduckydarling.com

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  9. I've struggled with making friendships since I moved away from all my family and friends 4 years ago. I thought that the friends I had back home were friends for life, but all except one have consistently let me down in terms of keeping in touch and making the effort to continue the friendship, to the point that I gave up because it became obvious they were no longer interested. I have made a few friends here but only through work - I don't have any friends outside of my job and it makes me wonder what would happen if I left my job - whether the friends I've made through it would stay friends, and whether I'd be able to make new ones. It can be difficult, but luckily I'm someone who enjoys my own company and doesn't need to be constantly surrounded by people. It would be nice to have people to ask out for drinks when I fancied it though. xx

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