I’m not going to lie, making new friends is difficult. I’ve never had much luck with that. In fact, it gets harder as I get older.
Okay, I will give this one a shot, but to be honest, I’ve never been that great at making new friends. Most kids, as I grew up, thought that I was weird and creepy. I can understand that because I am kind of unique. So, meeting new people has never been my strong point. The sad thing is, as I get older, it gets even tougher to break the ice.
Why old folks can’t make friends
Sorry, but I had to joke a little bit about that. I am 43 years old now, and making friends is incredibly difficult. In fact, I usually don’t even try. Most of the time, if someone decides to connect with me, it’s their idea.
But back on topic… There are some good reasons why making friends gets increasingly more difficult as you get older. Let me explain a few of them.
1. Your morals and standards change
As you grow more mature, your morals and standards start to change and solidify. As a young adult, you may have been more flexible and open-minded about some things, but time has worn grooves into your soul. There are things you’ve experienced during life that has caused you to stand fast in what you believe in.
This means not associating with people who have opposing views on things that make you sensitive. While this can be a really negative standpoint, it can also make you more independent. The bottom line is, it makes it harder to make new friends and sometimes even maintain your connection with the old ones.
One of the saddest moments in life is when you realize that the only thing you share with your old good friend is the memory of the fun you had together and the people you used to know. And you hope that nothing has changed and you are still going to have many more happy moments together.
But you just don’t vibe the same way you used to.
2. Introverts become more introverted
If you were always an introvert, chances are, you will be even more so at an older age. As we mature, we become more at peace with who we really are.
This means, if we are introverted people, we will find less and less need for socialization at an older age. Yes, we will get lonely, but not near as much as extroverts. When we do decide to go out and find a new friend, it will be extremely difficult to know what to do or say.
3. Social media is ruining friendships
Okay, I get it. It’s really easy to accept a friend request. But the more we do these things and hide away behind our computer screen, the harder it will be to make new friends in “real life”.
I used to detest when my online friends would say things like, “Hey, I got to go, real life calls.” But now, I understand what they meant. They were living healthier lives than me because they were able to separate the online life from the physical face-to-face confrontations.
The more we hide behind the screen, the harder making new friends will be. Sorry, the truth hurts.
4. The college to workforce transition is hard
When you leave college and enter the workforce, you will notice just how much more difficult it is to make friends. That’s because, in college, you were surrounded by people who were basically in the same mindset and doing much of the same things. Many of the social events were common and friendliness was encouraged.
In the workforce, however, friendship is not a top priority. The pressure is much higher and people are varied and have drastically different goals. So, it stands to reason that friendships in the workplace, although sometimes present, are not the best of quality either, much less plentiful.
5. Times are changing
Since the turn of the century, humans have become more and more individualized. This means social needs are falling with time. You may have noticed that people aren’t as friendly as they used to be when you were younger, and some people just rather be alone. This makes it really hard to make friends.
Even when you’re pushing yourself to make friends because you heard it’s the healthy thing to do, others are more and more opposed to that need. This may be why there is less loyalty when people do make friends. I think, as humans, we just don’t care as much for each other as we used to.
6. We are just rusty
Maybe, as we grow older, we just get rusty at making new friends. Think about it. Many of us get married and have children, and for decades of our lives, we see our children as our best friends.
No, we don’t tell them this, but we hold this feeling in our hearts, now don’t we… Well, when our children leave the nest, we are left with our mate, or we are left alone. When this happens, we have forgotten how to socialize correctly.
I think this is happening to me, but yet, it still doesn’t make me feel more extroverted. Lol. Oh, what loneliness lies ahead, huh.
7. There is no trust
As I grow older, I realize just how much trust is missing in real friendships. I notice how much loyalty is absent and it makes me petrified at meeting new people. To be honest, the last couple of “friends” I had betrayed me terribly. So I keep to myself in “real life”.
It’s so much more difficult to make friends as you get older because you have experienced betrayal and you’ve learned the red flags. When you see the red flags, you shy away, thus refusing to make friends.
There is just little trust and loyalty in friendships anymore, and this is why it is so difficult to let others into your life.
What can we do? How can we fix this?
Okay, yes, making new friends is possible no matter your age. Even for an old recluse like me, there is definitely a brighter horizon. So, here are a few things you can do, as someone, say, a 30 or 40-year-old with hurts, scars, and betrayals:
Join a class
That’s right, think of something that really interests you like painting, writing, or playing a musical instrument. Go find a class for that hobby or passion and then just let things happen naturally.
I have met friends before while taking an oil painting class. Yes, it’s true, as introverted as I am, I was able to make a friend as easy as the next one. If it worked for me, then it can work for you too.
Frequent social occasions even when you really don’t want to go
It may feel uncomfortable, but sometimes you can meet a really good friend when you dare to leave your comfort zone.
Get outside more
You can start by taking a daily walk in your neighborhood or the park. Many people are trying to improve their health and you may have the opportunity to get to know someone during your outdoor activities.
Just be creative, and most importantly of all, don’t give up on meeting new friends. Yes, it gets more difficult with age, but the quality of friends does improve when you’re selective about your time. Making new friends is possible at any age and there is always hope.
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