Why is it so hard to make friends as adults? | A Rose in Bloom

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?



  1. This post is so damn relatable! I've struggled throughout adulthood to maintain friendships, especially after some disastrous, damaging friendships I had throughout school and college days. Most of my true friends live in different countries. It's so good to see such honesty and truth from you (as always) but I'm so very sorry to hear you felt that way on Halloween. I honestly would kill to live nearer to you and have such a kick ass friend such as yourself! You are so beautifully unique, so talented, relatable and likeable. You deserve to meet all the right like-minded people and I know you will over the time. I love that you left the hometown you hated and made a fresh start, such a brave choice that's to be respected and admired. I too hate my hometown and am desperate to escape, one day ;)

    I think you hit the nail on the head with social media; supposedly connecting the world but actually isolating us all in some kind of cyberspace hive of hell (says me addicted to Instagram and the like). Part of me finds social media all kinds of amazing, the other part really resents it and fears the act of talking to other human beings dying out within the next decade o.O

    Much love to you Liz. Without trying to be horribly ironic, you can always email me if you ever want a chat or need a friend: s_sierra@live.co.uk I seriously think you're an amazing person inside and out, and I just know you'll find the treasured friendships you deserve in the near future <3

    Sophie | soinspo xo

    1. Firstly, thank you so much for saying all those lovely little nice bits. They really made me crack a smile and I hope you find only the best relationships. I completely agree about damaging friendships - some people I was quite close with in college really don't have a place in my life now. Friends are supposed to enrich your life, not pull you down! I do feel you about social media though. Fortunately, neither my good friend in Arizona nor I really use social media a whole lot (for personal purposes, anyway) so that really helps a lot. If you want to know how someone is doing, shoot them a text, call them, or send an email! It's not that hard! Thank you for this lovely exchange. It's so encouraging to know others feel the same way!

  2. What a joy it is to get older! Who thought that at 28 one of our struggles would be making new friends? Haha

    As I get older, I think I place less importance on making new friends. We meet more and more people, comparing them to other people we have met and older friends we have made. For me, I think there are a few reasons why I haven't formed any really close bonds in Argentina. The first problem I made was that I shut myself out from the world when I first moved here. I was depressed and felt that people were trying to invite me to do things out of pity for me since I knew no one. By shutting people out, it looked like I didn't care or was unfriendly, and eventually people stopped reaching out to me. The second thing is that I feel content with my few, but very close friends I have from the US. In a way I felt like there was no need to make more friends. The third thing I think I has to do with cultural differences, and that I haven't really met any Argentine girls that I seem to really hit it off with (with the exception of a few people). One of my husband's guy friends asked me why I didn't have any girl friends and I responded with "I just feel SO different." I don't really know how to explain it any way other than that. The few friends & good acquaintances I have here are not from Argentina but rather from Colombia.
    I do also think that once you have a spouse, that seems to fill the void for having a good friend, as you said. I was telling my husband the other day that more years we are married the better we seem to get along, and that I always feel like there's somebody that I KNOW is going to have my back no matter what. That is a comforting feeling, but also contributes to the lack of a need to make/find friends at this age.

    Sometimes I think what a good idea it would be to go to a yoga or a cooking class and meet people, but then I just never follow through. So really, I am in the same boat as you and can offer no advice haha
    Sometimes I get sad about the fact that I don't have a close group of friends as I did back in college, but other times I realize that even back at home, life is not the same as it was in college. Everyone is branching off and starting their own separate lives that revolve more around family than friends, and I think that it just what happens when you get older.

    It looks like I will be starting a new chapter of my life soon, and while my goal is not to collect bunch of friends, I do look forward to meeting a few new people that I can truly bond with. I know I have learned a lot from my experience here and know what mistakes to avoid making for next time.

    xx Chrystin

    1. I am bad about following through too. Even yesterday I had an invite to go to an art museum with the ladies I dance with, though I was sick so I guess that's reason not to go. Even when I am well, I feel out of place with them. Don't get me wrong - I love all my dance friends and I especially love that we are all of different ages (28-70 something!), but it feels weird being the youngest person there. As in, I am the same age as some of their children. I want to chat with people my age too!

      Regardless, you're exactly right about college friends: life is not the same as it was in college. Even if I did move back to my university town, it wouldn't be the same. All my friends started their lives... even I have a life and I do enjoy my time at home to write and edit photos. I just want the opportunity to go out every once in a while, you know? Saturday night beers would be nice.

      I think making new friends in a new country though is an even bigger challenge! You have huge cultural differences to work around and sometimes the cultures don't mix well with you. Funny you mentioned Argentine girls though - the person I got along with best when I interned in BA was a British ex-pat. Was not expecting that at the time.

      Regarding spouses though, as much as my husband and I love to do stuff together, there is stuff I want to do that does not interest him at all. He doesn't like coffee and is picky eater lol. I want to take a buddy out to a restaurant he wouldn't touch with a 10 foot pole! Though separate take outs and a movie is always an option too, ha.

      Good luck with your new life chapter! I hope to hear more about it soon!

      Sorry if this comment is a rambled mess. I think I might have gotten carried away.

  3. Yeah, I understand what you're feeling. I have 4 really, really wonderful friends (one of which lives in DC), but I tried to make new friends this year because who doesn't want more friends and it was kind of a bust. We would hang out and say we were going to hang out again and then nothing. It never really went anywhere. Maybe I just need to reach out more. Anyway, don't give up! Maybe see if there are book clubs or hobby groups near you and join one. I wish we lived closer because I would totally hang out with you!

    1. Hah, the wonderful world of blogging: find tons of people who share your interests but are hours away, LOL. But seriously, it's nice to know others feel the same. And it turns out that I just got a temp job as a dance teacher on Saturday afternoons, so maybe that will shed a new light on things too! Hope you find some new buds soon. :)

  4. I know exactly how you feel, actually.
    I moved away from my hometown to attend college 5 years ago. When I came back home 2 years ago, there were very few people left -- none of them being close friends of mine. I remember for an entire winter I didn't go out on the weekends -- I would mostly spend time with my family or alone.

    Since I've moved back home, I've actually come to appreciate spending time alone. While I was in college/high school I needed constant social interaction. I feel like spending time alone is very healthy -- it allows us to explore ourselves and come to our own conclusions about life and things without the outside opinions of your peers.
    Today, I definitely have a circle of friends, but nobody I'd consider to be close by any means. Oddly enough, I almost prefer it that way. It's like I'm an introverted extrovert. Is that even possible?

    Thank you so much for stopping by my blog -- your kind comment meant the world to me. I really love yours -- it's incredibly inspiring. I'm officially following, and I can't wait to see more posts from you soon!

    A Northern Light

  5. I found this to be true as soon as I left college. Actually maybe halfway through college, and especially when I moved back to Korea. It took me three years before I found some good friends. A lot of people just passed me by, and it first it left this empty hollow feeling inside me. I've come to think that it's a lot easier to find a group within a larger group. Like at school you had a group and then you would find a smaller group within that group. But outside of school it's harder because you aren't really thrown into groups or meet as much new people as you do in school. In the mean time, I think blogging can be a great comfort because it's easier to find people that share your interests and you're not complete stuck in a black hole.


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