10.20.2009

I Have No Friends!

Has anybody else found it difficult to cultivate new friends as an adult? No? Just me? Huh.

I'm more than willing to assume my inability to make friends stems from my own anti-social, neurotic shortcomings, but I'm curious to know how other people do it.

Obviously, school is a nearly perfect environment for cultivating close friendships. And I have. I did. But they all live far away now, and I'm lucky if I get to see them once a year. I've been done with school for 8 years and have no immediate plans to return, so the dew is off that lily.

Another obvious friend venue: church. While this seems to work out well for some, it will not work for me as I am not religious and do not go to, much less belong to, any kind of church. With no plans for conversion anytime in the foreseeable future, that option is grim.

Playing some kind of team sport or belonging to some kind of hobby group would, theoretically, be a way to make adult friends. I've actually tried this, and even may have possibly been successful, except that the one person I connected with recently moved several states away. And even then, I've played tennis with dozens of different women and only found friend potential with ONE person. Sad. See? This whole lack of friends thing could totally be my weird (off-putting?) personality.

Then there's work. Also, theoretically, a potential friend meeting place if you're not into that whole separation of work and personal life thing. I work with some really fantastic people and even enjoy hanging out with them, but the pickin's are slim in the close friend arena. I work mostly with males, and while I'm not opposed to male friendships, there are none who I connect with on a friendship level. The women I work with are either too young, or too involved with their young children, or already have full social circles of people with whom I have nothing in common. So while some of my co-workers are super-cool people to hang out with, close friendships have not really evolved via the office.

I've also heard that having children in school brings parents together and that's how many adults form close friendships - through their kids. No kids here, so that's out.

Further, my husband is no help. He doesn't have any friends here either, so I can't mooch off of his friendships. All of his close friends also live far, far away. And of course neither one of us has any kind of family here to assist in widening our social circles.

I was thinking maybe of getting involved in some kind of regular, local volunteer work (that is not in any way associated with my job) as a way of meeting people with whom I might connect. Anybody have any success with that angle?

We were also contemplating hosting a neighborhood get-together at some point to meet more of our neighbors and get to know them a bit. So far, our neighbor interactions have been mostly brief introductions, waves, and hellos-on-the-go.

Anybody have any good friend strategies for a non-religious, childless, somewhat anti-social, mildly-acerbic adult with a dry sense of humor, liberal leanings, and fairly high dork levels?

Sheesh. No wonder I have no friends!

7 comments:

Alison said...

Yeah, I don't have any friends, either, but my new strategy is show up to the same group events over and over and over and over and over again until eventually people decide they might as well be friends with me because I'm not going away. Seattle has a volunteer/civics club called Seattle Works that, in theory, should be GREAT for making friends. It's great for meeting people, but the friends thing is a lot more difficult.

Mars Girl said...

I had trouble meeting people when I moved to Colorado... I thought it would be like college where I'd just meet new people left and right... But it didnt work that way. I got homesick from my friends in Ohio and moved back. But now I've got at least three friends in Colorado who I visit when I'm out there. I should have given it more time.

I've learned that when I'm in a comfortable environment where I have enough regular friends, as I do here, I just start picking up other friends without even thinking about it because I don't NEED to be friends with anyone new, I've already got my comfortable base. I've been picking up friends in the places you've already mentioned--my church and my bike club. And, believe it or not, through my blog. Just last weekend, I met up with an avid blog reader of mine... that was cool.

I think when people are adults and they are in their comfort zone, they dont reach out to people. The reason why it worked so well in college was because all of us who lived on campus were in the same boat--we were all out of our home territories and living with new people and so we were all actively seeking friends. Never again, really, in your adult life is everyone around you in the same receptive situation...

I think you have to do as Alison said--you have to show up to certain interest groups over and over. If you have time other than your house, find a volunteer activity or something that's important to you... You'll meet friends slowly...

boty said...

If you REALLY want friends, you will meet them. The problem is that we are prone to lapses of hermitood. Volunteering is a great idea. I am sure your community has activities...and another thing is are you looking for friends just for you or couples to hang out with?

It really isn't that difficult if you really want to meet people...on that note though, not everyone is kindred.

I'll be moving your way when I'm done with school and then we can eat candy together...like friends.

cathryn said...

Alison - Yeah, I'm with ya. Meeting people is not the problem. Cultivating meaningful friendships is where the difficulty lies.

jen gordon said...

it's really hard to make new friends as an adult...i've lived here 8 years and have two friends that i would call close friends that i met in Nashville. I met one through another person and i met the other at the gym. random.. but we took the same class over and over and over (like Alison said) until finally we chatted..
and for the record..i love hanging out with you! ;) and we should definitely do it more often.
jen

Gibbarella said...

Hey I was a work friend right?
I don't have any friends outside of work and the ones there are dangerous because sometimes u get tired of the same old people. I mooch off matts navy friends now some which is in more abundance now that he doesn't recruit. Animal shelters would be a fun place to do charity work

Frank said...

I think you hit all the good points on this topic. Way too many of us leave the social utopia of college only to find ourself in the utter depression of the late 20s-early 30s with an endless cycle of going to work and coming home to an empty apartment night after night. Just gotta find a way to meaningfully mix with people. Easier said than done, but not altogether hard, either.

MarsGirl makes a good point about comfort zones. There is something about those midnight runs to Taco Bell with the one person on your dorm floor who has a car on campus along with the neighbor down the hall who scrounged enough change from under the pop machines to chip in for gas that makes for some real togetherness. Independence isn't what it's cracked up to be.