Relationships

Making Friends as an Adult

Alex wrote an article for last Sunday’s New York Times about how hard it can be to make close friends in your thirties and forties. The astonishing thing is what a nerve his story has hit. The article has been viewed a gazillion times and is getting a record number of comments. It’s fascinating to realize how many people feel the same way.

Read the story here, if you’d like, and weigh in: Have you, too, found it hard to make new friends after college? Do you wish you had more close friends these days? Do you ever find it awkward to “ask someone out”?

P.S. Seinfeld’s take. :)

(Illustrations by Roman Muradov for the New York Times)

  1. Sadly my husband and I relate to that article so much and we’re only in our 20s! We crave a good circle of friends but just haven’t had it happen. All of our close friends are long-distance from our high school and college years and we’ve failed to forge meaningful relationships with people locally. We spend a lot of Friday nights hanging out with my Mom as a result, ha.

    http://www.DisforDreamer.com

  2. This hit the spot. I moved to a new city 2 years ago and knew a couple of people but nothing has really stuck. Yes I have made a couple of good friends but they work almost as much as me so it is hard to get together.
    As recently as last week I e-mailed a couple of girls I had gotten to know about having dinner. I got no response. It’s really hard to make friends in your 30’s without joining things like the junior league or one of those coed sports teams (umm I’m not coordinated!!)
    But to be honest I keep on trying! No one likes to be home alone every night of the month. ;)

  3. I have found that this topic is so true in my life. Especially with my husband being active duty Army. We move so often and I am a stay at home wife with no kids. So I have to start over all the time with no workplace to meet people. I have been trying the gym but it seems those ‘meetings’ don’t go beyond the gym or everyone says sorry I can’t my kid has this or that. So difficult!

  4. Thank you! My fiance is always teasing me because I am constantly trying to make new friends. I am 29 and moved to a new city a couple years ago. I am dying to have a neighbor or someone near by to spend free time with once in a while. I work at a tech company and have nothing in common with my coworkers. It is like dating all over again, but without the excitement of a first kiss.

  5. I had hundreds of friends when I was in my 20’s…
    Dozens in my 30’s… A handful in my early 40’s…
    Now I am 46, and moved to Laguna Beach where I am a total loner!

  6. Oh… I find it quite hard…
    Even more living in another country… I wasnt able to make many new friends… Is quite hard… (and being a foreign, sometimes lonely…)
    And now with the kid is even being hard to keep in touch with the few ones…

    xx,
    A.

  7. Anonymous says...

    Love the article. Just moved to a huge city in a foreign country and this is the first time in my life that I’ve had to exert so much effort making friends. After reading this article, I sighed one of the deepest sighs of relief… nice to know I’m not the only one.

  8. Anonymous says...

    Love the article. Just moved to a huge city in a foreign country and this is the first time in my life that I’ve had to exert so much effort making friends. After reading this article, I sighed one of the deepest sighs of relief… nice to know I’m not the only one.

  9. Loved that article! Such an awkward thing to sometimes talk about (am I a loser?!). I think he did an excellent job of removing the shame this issue can sometimes cause. I also find that with the cost of babysitters, my husband and I VERY carefully choose who we want to spend an evening with. In our pre-kid days, it seemed we could make the best of any situation, even if we didn’t just adore the people we were hanging out with. Now it’s money down the drain if we don’t have a fabulous time! :)

  10. PHEW – glad to know it’s not just me! We moved to Brooklyn last year and I can’t say I’ve had a ton of success meeting people.

    If we’re (ok me) being honest, I’ve also given up a little knowing we’ll be back in CA eventually. Although I deperately miss having freinds over for dinner.

    Thanks for the post

  11. This is timely! I’ve been wondering if you had any posts on making friends in NYC! We are thinking of moving from Australia to NYC and the making new friends part makes me nervous. We have two girls so I hope that having them gives us an avenue for making friends. We’ve moved quite a few times and sometimes friend making has come easily and other times it hasn’t. Small towns seem to be easier. When we lived in London it was harder. Great article by Alex.

  12. I am in college but it is a commuter school and I am older than a lot of the students here. I am 24 years old which is not old but older than the typical undergrad. I have found it very difficult to make new friends and I find it weird to ask someone out. I have always been a little shy though. My mom who is 50 has no problem!

  13. It is so hard to make friends after college! I just finished reading the book “MWF seeking BFF” which is about a girl in chicago who spends a year trying to make new friends. The most striking line in the book is that its acceptable for women to be seeking a man, but a girl seeking friends isn’t cool.

  14. OK NYC… when is our “let’s make friends” meet-up?

  15. A few weeks ago I said to my husband we need to find new friends (we are just in our thirties). We emigrated from our country and loads of friends have been left and even though we both are happy and have a great social life and have some friends, but we sometimes miss having more various ones.. so this article is just perfect!

  16. add moving to a new city when you’re just pregnant – and it makes it even harder to find friends! faced with a new city and a whole new living situation we really felt (and still feel) lonely – despite having found some “friends” in the last two years. two of the closer ones are moving away now. sooo sad.

  17. We moved to a small town about 3 years ago and it’s been so hard to make friends. The town is so cliquey and if you aren’t from here or lived here half your life, you are an outsider. Even the ladies in the church seem to have all of the friends they need. I’ve pretty much given up on it.

  18. quite interesting, and true! this article was echoed even on italian press!

  19. CC says...

    Great post!! I can’t tell you how many conversations I’ve had with friends and family about how it’s not like it was in college and school. You seem to have a groups of people in “the same boat” as you when you’re in school and even a fledgling in the working world – you’re still in the same boat because everyone else is just starting out.
    But then you move, for job or family reasons. You put down a few roots and then you have to move again. Or, it’s just so nice to stay at home in your jammies after a very long, stressful day at work and hanging out at the bar sounds like something that someone else would do while trying to become friends with the Piano Man.
    Now that we’ve lived in our area for 5 years, we have a few “couple” friends, which is cool.
    That brings up another point. You tend to want to make friends with those that have the same “status” as you. If you’re single, you want single friends. If you’re a couple, you want couple-friends. If you’ve got kids, you want to be friends with people who have kids. It just sort of…happens.
    Thanks for sharing this!

  20. i’ve definitely found this to be true! i graduated two years ago and besides my high school and college friends (who i rarely see) i haven’t been able to make any friends. and then it gets harder when you are married because then you want to make married friends.
    xo TJ

  21. well done alex! i think it is definitely relevant to a lot of people, myself included. life does get in the way and it seems like your true bff’s understand but sometimes other friends don’t. having moved to the city about a year and half ago, i am still trying to find my group of best friends. it’s nice to know that there are others that feel the same way. and yes, it does feel awkward to ask a girl to hang out but it’s a good risk to take!

  22. I read this earlier this week and just now realized it is from “your” alex! I love the piece. I am in my mid twenties and have found that you do have to work harder to meet people. You just have to get OUT there and be active in something that you enjoy whether that is volunteering, art, dance, reading groups etc.

    For those of us that are less inclined to just go DO something, it’s harder. Thankfully, I’m hyperactive. No problems yet!

  23. my husband and i, both professionals moved to Toronto ON from Regina SK for some more excitement and culture! Being a Nurse and Doctor and knowing a couple people in the city, it didn’t occur to us that this transition may be a lonely one as we assumed we would meet people at work and see our other friends often. well it didn’t turn out that way – adults already have their own friends, it turns out! After two years, we ended up moving back to Regina because we missed our friends so much that we had back home. We talk about this with friends all the time.

  24. Ana says...

    Thank you so much for sharing your husband Alex’s article here. There have been a number of past articles highlighting similar topics (lack of friends among American adults) but this one seems to have really touched a nerve with so many people.

    Something that has become painfully apparent from talking with those who are now in later years of life, from biographies, old movies, is how much more socially active people were 30 or 40 years ago. Also how many hobbies they had and how much volunteer work they did.

    Thinking about my own grandparents many of their friends came from shared passions (dancing, music), the military and their many community projects. They didn’t seem to have any problems making friends and actually seemed to have a lot more the older they became.

  25. One-sided, I meant – I am friends with my imaginary friends-bloggers.

  26. Oh, Goodness! This is why I am laying in my bed checking all my favorite blogs: these blogs ARE my friends now. It’s almost heartbreaking and I love these “friends”, but this is a on-sided love, of course. Proceeding now to read the article: so excited.

  27. Anonymous says...

    I read that article and loved it, but I didn’t realize at the time that “your” Alex wrote it! :-)

    I couldn’t agree with his article more!! It’s been so hard to find friends post-30. His article brought me lots of comfort.

  28. I saw the article through a Facebook link and when I saw who wrote it, I thought “Isn’t that Joanna’s husband?” And now you’ve confirmed it! Please tell him that his writing is always interesting and he finds a lot of unique and contemporary angles. Or maybe it’s just cuz I’m over 30 and in need of friends, ha!

  29. I would like to give your husband a big high FIVE for this article. I’ve thought the same for years. In my early 20’s my boyfriend and I moved to LA after college. Other than work friends, we didn’t know anyone. We went out a lot and started to see the same people at the places we frequented, making us think we must have lots in common with them. But how do you approach someone that you see at the same events without seeming like a stalker, when they clearly, don’t know that you exist? The other observation we made was that if we ever did decide to approach our future friends, how do you do that with the intentions of just making a friend? Nothing more. Anytime I ever talked to anyone, either A) it was a guy and he thought I was flirting with him and then tried to put the moves on me. or B) if it was a girl, she was already consumed with her own friends and was short in her response to me complimenting on her skirt or shoes.

    Years later, we are now living back in our hometown trying to reacquaint ourselves with the friends we used to be close to before we moved.

  30. it IS more difficult. people always chuckle when i tell them that i met my bf of two years at a bar. i always say, “well, where else do you meet people at this age?”

  31. what a great article! something that we don’t discuss much but as i read i thought “ya, you’re right!”. great piece.

  32. Perfect article also here in italy it is the same truth!! I’ve been wandering about the same topic in the last years moving toward my 30s!! Plus as someone with very few friends during teens years now it is a lot more difficult…Thank you for speaking about it
    Paola

  33. Really great article!! I moved to a different state 5 years ago and STILL find it hard to make friends…(maybe i’m not so good at it), and I’m 27. We had a baby 15 months ago and having him has definitely helped! Glad to know I’m not alone in this :)

  34. Making friends post college has definitely been a challenge. I am self employed and work from home so I don’t even have work friends as an option. I’ve found myself being much more outgoing at times, than I ever thought I could be, in an attempt to connect with other people who are int he same boat, or at least in a boat I’d like to be in.

  35. Jen says...

    This is so true… Being in my mid-30’s and recently divorced, I find myself struggling to meet new people in NYC all the time. I’m not a shy person at all and actually strike conversations up with strangers, but nothing ever really pans out or sticks… I’ve begun signing up for classes for things that I’ve wanted to learn like surfing, cooking, painting, etc. with the hopes of meeting some new people… we’ll see what happens. Just glad to know I’m not the only one. Thanks for posting this article.

  36. Anonymous says...

    I’m an extreme introvert. I’ve always known this, but I’ve recently started reading a lot about temperaments and have learned a lot about myself. Things that I’ve always known, but felt guilty about because they aren’t the (extroverted) societal norm.

    Anyhow, psychologists say that even extroverted people become more introverted as they get older. Socializing fatigues you faster than it used to, you start to focus more inward, etc. So it doesn’t surprise me that it’s also more difficult to make friends as you get older.

    I’ve had trouble making friends my entire life, so now when I do actually “click” with someone, I hold on for dear life. But as an introvert, I prefer to avoid phone calls and limit the social gatherings that I attend. I find texts, e-mails, snail mail, and the amazing iPhone app, HeyTell (like a walkie-talkie for your phone!), help me keep in touch with my good friends.

  37. I didn’t realize this was written by Alex! Funny, my friend emailed it out, and even though we’re single and in our mid-20s, it’s so true and applies to us as well! Especially as we get older, move to a new city, or when your friends are all in serious relationships.

    Congrats to Alex for getting so many hits on this article!

    xx

  38. They’re discussing Alex’s article on The View!

  39. Hannah says...

    I’ve definitely found this (and I’m only in my twenties!) especially as I moved to a city where I don’t know anyone, and work in a job where I don’t meet many other adults.
    Not only that, but I struggle to meet people my age at the same ‘stage’ as me… most of my current friends are still into the full on bender drinking, late nights, house-sharing lifestyle but I feel like that’s all past me now.

    Why is it so normal to ‘hit on’ someone for dating/sex, but not for friendship??

    People are so reluctant to let others into their lives. I think it’s a really sad part of what’s happened to modern society.

  40. Thank you so so so much for this article!!!
    I’m in my early 20s, but feel the exact same way. Sometimes I think it’s way easier to find someone to hook up with than to find new friends in the adult world.. Weird. And nervewracking. And especially lonely.

  41. Doh! That was Alex’s article?! It was AMAZING. I sent it along happily because it applies to so many of us. I am 42 and live in France with my honey. We don’t have kids and both work out of the home so it is pretty much impossible for us to meet adult friends. Honestly, if it weren’t for my charming Golden Retriever…! But truly, I don’t even see people looking to make friends here. Once they have kids, they have a little unit with their family, extended family and friends that they have known since they were kids and BASTA.

    Bravo to you both for all that you do!!! Merci!! :)

  42. This really hits the nail on the head, my wife and I have been discussing almost all of these issue, were both in our early 40’s. It kills my wife that I have few friends around, not having gone to college and moving to the US from abroad. Better get busy making some new friends.

  43. I really enjoyed reading the article and some of the comments afterwards. It was particularly interesting to read the comments from people in their 60’s and realise that really your 30’s are like a turning point where most peoples lives change direction. You will probably keep a few of your long term friends but will eventually be just as close to people who you meet as a parent – lots more good friendships to look forward to but I agree, it’s hard to get past the level of casual friend at the moment. I live in the UK but all my close friends are in Ireland and i do miss the closeness.

    You might enjoy this link – it’s very relevant to the article. It is a British comedy about a Church of England Vicar – very funny. In this episode he tries to make a new friend.
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00t8b55

  44. Emma says...

    I am a 40+ single woman, without children, living in Sweden. (see previous post). My experience is that during recent years it has become easier to make friends, for various reasons:
    * Many people between 35-45 get divorced and then want to make new (single) friends
    * People with small children are often too busy to socialize and when they meet other people with small children.
    Now that they are over 40, there children are bigger and starting to leave the nest, and they want to meet people again. And not just other couples wih children…
    *post-40 (post-mid life crisis) people are generally more relaxed about their careers. They have already achieved so much and have realized that although work is still important, their social life (friends and family) is more important.
    * social media like facebook has created more platforms to interact with eachother. They do not replace contacts IRL but rather trigger that these happen, e.g. when somebody posts ‘who would like to join me at so ad so restaurant tonight’?

  45. Emma says...

    I am originaly from Holland and after 1.5 years in France I have now lived in Sweden (Stockholm) since many years. Here people tend to be VERY reserved (they even call informal social chit-chatting ‘cold talk’ which they generally hate and try to avoid). People here even tend to avoid eyecontact (on the street, train etc.). I have learned that courses are completely useless for making friends because the people do not talk to eachother and hardly even greet.
    Most successful I have been with making contacts amongst other foreigners (e.g. via ex pats clubs). I have both male (platonic) friends and female ones. Swedes I tend to get along best with are those who are more international (those who have lived abroad or who have or had a none-Swedish partner). I do not try to find friends that can fill all my needs but I have bar/dinner friends, jogging friends, wise conversation friends etc…

  46. Loved Alex article. I am only 26 (well will be after couple of days) but even now I feel more confused about making friends.

    I guess, when we are younger we more believe in everyone, more trust.When we get older it is hard to let down your ego and say, ok look, I am not as good as you are ( or earn, or play ar whatever), but I would love to be friends, as I like your company.

    the only thing that helps me – is humor. Not everyone understands it, but if they are it is good feeling to make someone laugh.

    And another kind of strange thing about friends, that I am more to that type of friend- when others comes and say all what is bad going with them and I try to see positive things or help.

    I am not shure is it good or bad. But I love to help if I can. But do not like to say what I feel to others, even to friends, maybe even very close friends. I guess it is bad thing to do- to be so closed, thats why I started to write blog, it is easier to say about feeling in a paper,and not to eyes.

    G

  47. It is so true – I think its harder to make friends anytime after finishing uni and moving to a new place. Uni creates such an open environment for people to share and to be open to new friendships, new ideas, most probably because people are more vulnerable and NEED friends! Maybe we should all be keeping an eye out for those people who look a little lonely in the workplace, church, or other places..

  48. I found Alex’s piece fascinating. I am in the Foreign Service, where I pick up and move every few years. It very much meets the criteria the article gives for situations in which one makes close friends–proximity (we often even live in the same buildings); repeated, unplanned interactions (at work, around our housing); and openness to making friends (we all move around every few years and need new friend circles at each place).

    But I am always trying to find non-work friends in each new city, and it rarely works… I meet nice people, think we hit it off, and then rarely get an email back. I find it really frustrating as I’d love to expand my social life outside of work, but it never seems to happen.

    Loved this piece. Such a good conversation starter!

    -Katie H.

  49. Anonymous says...

    HA! I see things the other way around. I didn’t get to choose my high school friends – I had to pick what was most suitable from what was available.

    I’m someone who has found it far easier making friends after school and uni. Partly to do with my increase in confidence, partly to do with the fact that I proiritise friendship and developing them.

    If anything, I find I’m droping old school friends more because they don’t fit with who I am now and the positive influence I want in my life.

    Making new friends is hard but so rewarding.

  50. I actually read this article last weekend and loved it. Can’t believe that was your husband. Cheers to him!

  51. this topic is so relevant to my life right now. as i’m approaching my 30’s and my bday is just around the corner, i have truly been pondering this topic exactly. great article and I really appreciate you posting it!!

  52. Anonymous says...

    Loyal reader of yours..didn’t realize Alex wrote that article. Great topic, you two rock.

    Fellow NYr.

  53. Love this article. I frequently feel this way, and it’s nice to know others agree. I moved to a different state in my mid-twenties and got married shortly after. I inherited lots of my husband’s friends, but often feel that I don’t have any of my “own” friends here. On a friend quest!

  54. I read this last week too and reeallyy related. My partner and I have moved to two new countries in the past year and all of the above has hit me (and us) hard – especially dating other couples – ha! There’s nothing like the friends you make when you are young, in school, or at a company where you share similar passions and goals. Alex did a GREAT job!

  55. It is so comforting to find that I’m not the only one who struggles with this. My oldest, closest friends all live 1+ hours away from me, and we’re all busy with jobs and now kids (in some cases); I fear that we’ve lost some of our bond in some cases because we’re so far apart. It’s only in the last year that my husband and I have found a social group of friends (couples, natch) that we feel “fit”, and it’s going great, while attempts to turn coworkers that I got along great with into outside-of-work friends only to have other outside obligations get in the way.

    TL;DR, it’s nice to know all grownups have this problem to an extent.

  56. sarah says...

    All I can say is that my husband will be heartbroken that he didn’t get to write this article first (trust me, we’ve talked about it many times)… but perhaps he will feel less lonely about it all. We’re very far away from our high school and college friends, and while we don’t regret living in our chosen city, it is a very real loss. We finally made a few good friends… and then *they* all moved. It gets hard to start over.

  57. Anonymous says...

    Great article – very well written! I enjoyed it.

    I am still at uni – though I started a few years later than most others and to tell you the truth I find it hard to make real friends with anyone there! Come holidays I see no one from that part of my life. It could have something to do with the fact that I also work a lot and go back to my home town frequently.

    I have wonderful friends that I made when I was younger and they are all 4-5 years older than me. I wouldn’t change them for the world!

  58. My story is going to be vastly different than the focus of the article and the comments that come before mine. I am 60 and married to someone who is retired from the military. The first time making adult friends became difficult for me was when my husband retired from the military and we were no longer attached to a military base. In the military it seemed easier to make friends…everyone was in the same boat, living far away from family and sometimes in another country. At the time my husband retired we no longer had children living at home. This left one less opportunity to meet people that might become friends.
    Thank you for sharing the link to the article, the stories relate to making friends no matter your life situation. I have to say my biggest disappointment has been in making ‘couple’ friends. As the article talked about, sometimes you click with one person in the couple and then you or your spouse don’t click with the other half of the couple.

  59. Stephanie says...

    Further to what aleksandra said…my dearest friend in recent memory was a full 40 years older than I was!! The only downside with a much older friend is that they die. :( We had a wonderful friendship though and I think of him often often often. Cool, open and interesting people are everywhere, if you are also open to them. (We met at the local community centre through a shared interest in art and languages.

  60. Oh my gosh I’m excited to read this article. I think it’s also hard to make friends in your 20’s too. I’m out of college and I move a lot. Women my age are very reluctant to let new girls into their groups. It’s so hard. I’ve joined sites and really put myself out there but I feel like I’m dating again! It’s nice to know that there are other people out there like me.

  61. Oh my gosh I’m excited to read this article. I think it’s also hard to make friends in your 20’s too. I’m out of college and I move a lot. Women my age are very reluctant to let new girls into their groups. It’s so hard. I’ve joined sites and really put myself out there but I feel like I’m dating again! It’s nice to know that there are other people out there like me.

  62. aleksandra says...

    who says that if you are a “mom” you need other friends who are moms? or that married couples should only seek out other married friends? i hear this a lot, and it’s BS. people are people, and should be pursued at an individual basis.

    how picky to say a friend must be in the same life stage you are. just hang out with people you like, regardless of marital or child status.

  63. Melissa Jade says...

    absolutely. In NYC especially, friends move away, and never come back (cost, new lives, etc) I’m at the point that I have no friends left. This has become such an overwhelming hole in my life, I’ve fallen into real depressions from it.

  64. Steph says...

    This has not been my experience. I never had a large group of friends, preferring a small circle of people I had a deep connection with. As I’ve gotten older, too, I have come to know myself much better than I did when I was younger, so the people I have added to my circle in recent years are people who really fit with who I am (I’m in my 40s). I tend to meet people by pursuing passions/interests (e.g. taking courses when I can, meeting up with colleagues with whom I share things in common). I think it might come down to how you define “friend” – many people call what I would call acquaintances friends, and in that sense it was easier to meet new people in college. :)

  65. A lot of people have mentioned having a child helps – If you’re not upto kids yet – I’ve found having a dog also helps, seriously they’re people magnets! Not a day goes by when I don’t get stopped in the street. I’ve made friends that I walk with regularly and am always setting up dog dates with new people I meet!

  66. My boyfriend and I are in our late twenties but already have this problem. Our friends are in one of two groups: 1) don’t have careers, not in serious relationships, party all the time, live with 4 roommates OR 2) married with kids and careers and mortgages. We fall somewhere between the two: We own a house together and we’re both young professionals, but still like to have fun and do cool stuff. We’re outgrowing some friends but don’t quite fit into the other group yet. Such a good thing we have each other!

  67. So, so hard. My husband and I literally do not have any friends. It depresses the hell out of me when I allow myself to think about it. I will read this with great interest.

  68. This topic is very familiar to my husband and I. We recently moved across the world from Boston, Massachusetts to Australia and making new friends has been a bit awkward and dubious. Who knew we’d be struggling with making friends as an adult?! Thanks for sharing such an honest and refreshing article.

  69. This topic is very familiar to my husband and I. We recently moved across the world from Boston, Massachusetts to Australia and making new friends has been a bit awkward and dubious. Who knew we’d be struggling with making friends as an adult?! Thanks for sharing such an honest and refreshing article.

  70. Please, do thank Alex for this, it’s so refreshing to hear people feeling the same way I’ve felt even in college and my 20s. However I have noticed as I’ve gotten older that more “strangers” are willing to strike up conversations rather than dismiss me as a young person with nothing valuable to say.

  71. What a great article. I recently moved from the SF to DC with my husband and we’re approaching the year mark and still don’t have anyone local we’d call friends. The ways in which young professionals make friends feels so contrived, its difficult to stay motivated to keep searching. Thanks for sharing.

  72. Anonymous says...

    I got the link to work and I don’t have a paid subscription.hmmm.

    I’ve never had an easy time making friends. I thought grad school would be different but it was more of the same. People are super judgmental of everyone else while turning a blind eye to their faults. I would get invited to things that would magically fizzle out with no one bothering to tell me until the last minute. Or all of my emails and voice mails being ignored until someone else had an emergency- needing to copy my notes etc. It was basically high school the sequel. I remember one particularly obnoxious person describing his experience at a bar. He was with his girlfriend and group and this single guy was there hoping to join their group. The single guy didn’t say anything odd or try to mooch their food or beer. He wasn’t strangely older or younger than the group. He wasn’t dressed odd, covered in piercings or prison tattoos. His crime was he was not part of your group. People don’t realize how quickly you could become the single guy. Change jobs, move to another town, get divorced. I’m at the point where I’ve just given up. It’s a nice thought that there are people out there who return phone calls and do what they said they would do. But it’s like Mulder looking for aliens. He can go look. I’m microwaving pizza for one.

  73. Thanks for getting the word out about this issue. I’ve always had trouble making and keeping friendships and I fear as I get older, it’ll be harder esp since I’m moving to a new state in August.

  74. Its not just 30s and 40s… the clock begins to tick in the early twenties phase. Im in my early twenties but its still difficult to juggle full time work, a relationship with my boyfriend and family AND have time for even just getting together with friends. I guess it is just priorities but if your friends idea of a gathering is getting wasted at a bar and you have grown out of that phase well… time to find new friends?

  75. CMX says...

    So cool that that’s your hubby! I printed out that article yesterday to read and give to my bf (over 30) to read too. Alex was dead on!

  76. So true! The article was a great read. I just read MWF Seek BFF, a year long search for a new bff that addresses a lot of the same topics. Thank you for posting!

  77. My parents were talking about this the other day! I’m not an adult yet but I can definitely see how this would happen! :)

    Kate {Modette}
    http://modetteblog.com

  78. Anonymous says...

    I think God is sending me a sign right now, lol. I was in tears last night about this very topic. Through my 20s i moved around- went to college alone across the country, moved to NYC without knowing anyone, then to north carolina for a boyfriend and was ready to finally settle there and be done making friends. The relationship didn’t work out and I was pretty much forced to move to another city where I didn’t know anyone. My 30th bday is coming up and I never thought at 30 I would be someone that wasn’t sure if she has enough people to invite to her party. I’ve always made friends very easily, have tons of friends in every other city, and am very outgoing but it’s a WHOLE new story at this age….not easy and there is no solution. The single life can be oh so hard!

  79. What a great topic! My friends and i have discussed this in the past and it’s so true that the older we get, the harder it is to make friends who you can casually hang out with without having to schedule weeks in advance. Which is why the last line of the article is genius! It’s so rare to be able to call a new friend on the whim and meet up for a cup of coffee but it’s easily done with old friends.

    i would say, though, that having a baby now has opened our world to meeting an entirely new group of people: parents! But the tricky thing there is finding out whether you really have something in common with the parents or are the kids the only thing you can relate to.

    Thanks for this thought provoking piece. I know we can all relate!

  80. Loved the article and thought it was spot on… I remember making the move from NY to DC in my twenties and I’m so glad it happened then! I don’t think I could have reconnected with people in the DC area or made the friendships that I did then, now in my thirties. Tonight, I’m finally having happy hour with a friend I’ve been trying to make plans with since last November…

    Funny, when I read the article I kept wondering if it was your Alex that wrote the article! I shared it on FB and have sent it out to numerous friends that are now scattered all over the globe raising families and getting on with life to see if they would be struck with nostalgia the same way I was… and they were! Great read!

  81. Great topic. I’m glad someone brought it up. The sociologist’s points were interesting. These days you have to commit to friendship. I have a couple friends who get that you have to invest time and energy consistently. Here in San Francisco/Silicon Valley, it’s no easier. I think another element is realizing you don’t have to be 100% sympatico—just on the same page about keeping each other company and supporting each other through life.

  82. Allison says...

    I was kind of surprised that the article didn’t mention MWF Meets BFF but then I realized it was written by a guy. So that makes sense. :) But yes, you should TOTALLY read it. I think you’d really like it.

    Also, this applies to anyone who is out of college. Once you’re done with forced social interaction, it’s terribly difficult to meet people. When it isn’t expected of you to join clubs, go to parties, or whatever. There isn’t a drive to “be popular” as an adult, and so with that, there is little external motivation to make friends. It’s all self-driven, and that’s difficult for most people who want the connections to be made for them (by way of forced communication through class, school clubs, etc.)

  83. Sometimes I myself have felt a bit guilty about having “friends by proximity” or association (in whatever activity I’d get super into, whom I’d slowly lose touch with after I tapered off doing said activity). The funny thing I find is that I’ve kept really close with my friends from childhood not only because we were together at school and have had all that history since then as a base, but because we still write each other snail-mail letters. We talk on the phone anywhere from once every couple of months to once or twice a year and see one another even less often, but every time we do, it’s like we just spoke yesterday. And I think it’s partly because handwriting a letter promotes a deeper kind of reflection that nurtures deeper friendship. With friends by proximity, we live so close that it’d be weird to write and mail each other long missives, so we get in the habit of texting and Facebook messaging back and forth about getting together and, as Alex writes, inevitably one or the other of us has to drop out of a planned activity…and so the communication stays relatively shallow. Whereas writing a long letter feels like sitting down for a long chat.

  84. Thanks for posting this Joanna. It doesn’t surprise me at all that it hit a nerve. Some things are not talked about, ever, but a lot of people suffer from not having close friends.
    I’ve been blessed with great friends but know that feeling of moving to a new city and finding it extremely difficult to connect with people. Everyone seems to be too busy all the time and you start to feel like a nag when you ask people to meet up for coffee. Signs of the age we live in I guess. Good to get people talking about it. Great job Alex!

  85. Wow this really hit home! I’m in my late 30’s and have a very busy career. Never got married or had kids…and have grown apart from majority of friends as our lives went down different paths. Due to the nature of my work, I don’t really befriend coworkers. I’ve pretty much accepted being a single, but it would be nice to have some other single friends!

  86. It’s even harder when your in your 20’s and this is happening!

    I had a huge falling out with my high school friends, and none of the friends I met in college live close to me.

    I’ve been pretty much friend-less for a while, and would love to meet more girlfriends (as I have none). It’s really hard.

    Sounds like a giant pity party, but it’s something that I’ve come to terms with. Just some days are harder than others.

    Thank you for posting this link. I can totally relate! And i’m glad to know that I’m not the only one!

  87. Wow, I am stunned by the degree to which I identify with this. My friends have been central to my life from a very young age, and now that I’m in my early 30’s, that is changing, and it is HARD.
    The part about being more self aware effecting who you surround yourself with is so true. For me, there have been a lot of growing pains with that.

  88. Thank you for sharing your husbands amazing article!

    My husband and I were just talking about how our best friends are my brother-in-law and his partner. When we moved from NYC to Portland, OR we left all our friends behind to be closer to family. Little did we realize how hard it would be to make solid lasting friendships. Most of our friendships have been with coworkers but as people move on it’s harder and harder to keep in touch. Not to mention that if there is a professional rift (as has happened) those friendships quickly disapear.

  89. Anonymous says...

    thank you for posting this! love the article and the seinfeld clip. i’ve moved and changed jobs several times since college and am finding it extremely difficult to make friends in rural southwest virginia. this makes me feel better that others find it difficult even in big cities…at least i am not alone!

  90. Julie says...

    What a great article! I have worked in the construction industry since leaving college, and all of my “co-workers” have been middle aged men. Not easy for a young married gal to make friends with :) Funny, as I’m reading so many comments from all these wonderful readers of your blog, I’m thinking “hmmmm, I wonder if any of these people live near me and want to be friends!” haha

  91. I’m not even in my thirties, but I find that it’s incredibly difficult to make friends after college. I’m twenty-five with a special needs baby. I don’t fit in amongst the people my age, and the people who I can relate a bit more too tend to find me “too young to know anything”. It’s a really difficult situation because often times I feel alone and when I do meet someone that I am interested in developing a friendship with it can be just as messy emotionally as dating someone because (following patterns) the budding friendship probably won’t last.

  92. Nice article Alex. :-) I like Jerry’s take on it too!…Oh to be young again. Being friends was a lot less involved…and a lot less sanitary…just saying! LOL