Why is it so hard to make friends as adults?Sunday, November 8, 2015
I'm going to be very, very honest. I spent part of my Halloween evening crying.
It sounds worse than it was, but I've been living in this city for nearly 4 years now, and I can't really say I have any true friends. Yes, I have people I know and love. There are people I talk to. But there is not a single soul whom I could call up on a whim and get Sunday morning brunch. No one whose home I could just drop by, or who would consider just dropping by my home.
When I lived in Alabama, I really did have a good circle of friends. I mean, they are still my friends, but the whole 6 hour distance thing kinda ruins any weekend shindigs. More to the point, Halloween was always a really wonderful time for us. Costume parties and lots of pizza and beer and candy... you get the drill. And I loved it. A chance to wear a costume, drink a little, and hang out with people I love? It was the best. But this year, no one invited us to a party, wanted to have a party (or already had plans), or even trick or treated at my door. On my favorite day of the year I felt so very lonely.
|Crappy phone photo of me, my youngest brother, my best friend, and my roommates Halloween 2011. We were a harem. I bought my costume first and we figured a group costume would get a laugh.|
Now, let me make something perfectly clear: I left Alabama by choice. When Roger and I got married, we had to choose who was moving, and I ran away from Huntsville as fast as I could. I don't regret it; I needed a change. That boring city was my home for 24 years and it was not all that great of a place with the exception of a good group of friends. I would never consider moving back (no where to get food at 11 pm on a Saturday night? Please...), but I do hate how hard it is to be the new person in town. In fact, my best friend in the whole wide world left too... She's in Arizona now and it doesn't look like she'll be back in Alabama anytime soon. Or near me, for that matter. We talk almost every day and I love her more than any one other person that isn't related to me. I also haven't seen her in 3 years, so even though we talk, the social needs are still unfulfilled.
It's not for a lack of trying - God knows I have tried, but I am the youngest person at my job... so for bffs that's a dead end. I dance ballet, but most of my classmates are much older than me or in high school (advanced ballet is for all ages. :D) so I won't be getting craft beer with them anytime soon (though sometimes we go to arts events together, and that is cool). All the other young people I have met are introverts or already have their own clique and don't want the dynamic disrupted. It seems no one wants a new best friend.
Why do we have such a hard time with this as adults? As a child, I made friends rapidly and easily. But now I feel like other people don't need me, and maybe that's what it all boils down to. Maybe, the younger we are, the more we need social interaction. It helps us learn how to relate with each other and learn social skills. As we get older, we settle down into homes and relationships and we are able to get anything we want on our own. People don't "need" a reliable friend to help them with things because their significant other will fill that void. We become more and more content to have a night in than a night out, and I guess I just got wired differently.
At the same time, I almost wonder if social media has poisoned our interactions. I mean, I love Facebook and Instagram, but maybe our ability to find out everything about people we know (and even some we don't) destroys our need to go see someone. We don't need to catch up over coffee because we never got behind. We can have mini social interactions all throughout the day, so we don't need to have any big ones. It's just my own guess, but I'd bet there is at least some truth to it.
Either way, I know I'm not the only one who suffers from this syndrome. I have seen this topic float around the internet (particularly here and here), but it doesn't make me feel any better. I still wish I had a little bit of a social life that extends beyond sitting in coffee shops people watching and writing poetry (though that is lovely too), but for now, I'll keep doing the best I can. Maybe I should join a knitting circle.
What do you think?