Lunchtime Poll

Lunchtime Poll: Grown-Up Friends

So, friendship. Awesome until you move, right? In today’s LTP, I want to hear about making new, grown-up, non-classroom friendships.

My point is mostly that it’s hard as hell! I have GREAT friendships from college and near that time, but a year or so ago I moved to San Francisco, and grown-ups are HARD to make friends with. Am I wrong? It’s hard, in my experience.


I want to know: how have you made friends outside of the classroom or working/office environment experience?

By Meghan Young Krogh

Meghan had a number of quality writing mentors over the course of her education, which just goes to show that you can't blame the teacher for the way the student turns out. Team Oxford Comma represent.

93 replies on “Lunchtime Poll: Grown-Up Friends”

Making grown up friends is hard. Its that whole adult obligation thing that gets in the way.

I’ve found that I’ve made my closest friends (non-related) from my bellydancing class and my book club, which is one of the reasons I speak so glowingly about them in my book club posts. Sadly, most of my derby friends have drifted away — its the nature of the sport, which is completely life and time consuming, but you’d think people you spent 20 hours a week with for years would be closer.

I mostly miss my girlfriends when I want to, say, watch Heathers or something. Those little pop culture things you bond over.

Yes, being a grown-up can get pretty lonely. Luckily, I live with my awesome boyfriend and I have friends left from university, but since I moved two years ago, I don’t see them often. I’ve moved to a small town where everyone already has their circle of friends. Since this is a town you either leave at 18 and don’t come back to, or stay in from birth to death, there are very few opportunities set up for making new friends when you’re quickly approaching 30.

I know there are ways to do it, but none of them seem to work for me. I am friendly with my colleagues, but I have very few (ten, half of which live a couple of hours from here) and mostly they’re busy with their kids. I’ve tried volunteering, but I’m from a culture that doesn’t quite “do” or “get” volunteer work, so that was a dead end. I’ve tried cultivating friendships through activities, but there are no book clubs here and no painting classes to take so I kind of got stuck on that one. I’m so far away from a major city that doesn’t work either. I’m not in the US so no Craigslist for me. Right now, I’m thinking I’ll probably be pretty isolated here until I leave. It sucks, because even though I’m not super outgoing, I need friends to be happy. I need that connection.

The Internet works alright as a diversion tactic, but it’s not the same, and sometimes, even the Internet can get kind of lonely. I guess I just wasn’t prepared for this. I had friends during my childhood, and uni was pretty great, but now, I’m  stuck and I don’t really know a way out.

If tl;dr – I feel lonely and I wanted to whine.

I’m rather introverted, though not shy, so I tend not to meet people easily at large parties. Now that I’m not in undergrad anymore, though I am in grad school, I find it difficult to meet new people, especially having moved to a new, larger city. Volunteering or taking classes (dance, cooking, etc) or joining competitive teams could be good ways, though not always easy either. I’ve tried, often, to make friends with people online but I do find it more difficult to connect with people without meeting them in person (though in the past it hasn’t been with as like-minded, intelligent people as here at Persephone!).

I too am shortly moving out the the SF area, and luckily for me, I have a bunch of college friends out there.  I try not to be too friendly with people from work, because I’ve gotten BURNED really badly from the 1 time that a work friendship went bust (I mean I had to switch jobs burned), so I try to meet new friends by doing activities I enjoy, it can at least be a conversation starter which can lead to something else if I’m lucking.  Activities include: skiing, yoga, & swimming. It’s easiest if you join a team or club (like master’s swimming). My bf had a lot of luck meeting friends by joining a rugby and dodgeball team.  I guess I’m an active person, so I decided to hang out where other active people congregated, in the hopes of starting a new friendship.  It’s def hard though because I’m painfully shy, introverted, and HATE small talk with a passion.

I wish there were a less creepy website than craigslist that had a looking for new friends section, cuz I would totally hit it up.

It *is* hard to make new friends as an adult, especially if you’re not the talk-to-everyone kind of person.  It’s a more difficult form of dating, really.  Instead of sharing your body you’re sharing everything else and honestly, the ‘everything else’ is a lot more difficult.  I can find someone to fuck anytime.  Finding someone I can tell my secrets to, that shit is hard.

Making new friends is so hard! I’ve made a few friends through my martial arts class, and soccer teams I’ve played on. I’m shy, so these things give me at least one common interest with the other people there, and I’m stuck in the same room with them on a regular basis so they stop feeling like strangers pretty quickly.

From my experience, and friends who have moved, it can take a couple years to settle in some where and make good friends. Maybe it can just take that long to meet enough people that you finally find a few that you get along with well.

New friends for me are either made though friends of friends or new co-workers, but mostly friends of friends. Not counting online frayns, of course!

Edited to add: LARP, when I played, was a good source of friends … as is gaming in general (but I still classify that as friends of friends).

I haven’t. The friends I hang out with most frequently now are all from my last job. I met my best friend in grad school. Every once in a while, I’ll get together with college friends. The Mister is still pretty close with some of our college friends and now also works with a few of them, too. Mostly the Mister and I spend a lot of time just hanging out the two of us because we are both introverted antisocial people.

The only non-work, non-school friends I have are you lot. Who wants to come visit and go out for ice cream?

Whenever my husband gets a job and we end up moving out to San Francisco, can we be friends, Meghan?

My adult friends have all happened either through the internets, old roommates, theatre groups, or just randoness. I’m really not very good at talking to people I don’t know (unlike my husband, who never meets a stranger), so it’s tough for me. Heck, I didn’t even meet any of my apartment complex neighbors until five years in when I got a dog and got to talking to other dog owners. And I barely have time to see the friends I do have, so I don’t need more locally.

That being said, my bestie and I did make new friends this weekend at a Rugby Man Pagent. All the tables were taken so we asked to sit with the two coolest looking people, who turned out to be really nice! We had a great evening and now we’re all facebook friends and getting together for drinks this weekend.

I think one of the things that no one tells us about being an adult is how hard making friendships can be. Since graduating college, I’ve kind of been in a bit of a rut friend-wise. I’ve only had a couple of close friendships since then, and both of those fizzled out. And even then, they were close, but that’s it– I haven’t had a best friend since elementary school.

The best I’ve made have been acquaintances, which can turn into friendships, but that hasn’t happened to me yet. Work is the obvious place, but I feel like my workplace is too social sometimes (while not a loner, a lot of the time I want to be alone) and I felt after a while that I was trying too hard, so I try to look outside now. I belong to two book clubs, one of which is held at a bookstore which has a lot of interesting events that I make a point to attend. Another thing is that I belong to another Web site that makes a point of having regular IRL meetups. Also, there are alumnae events that my local college alumnae club holds (good from both a friendship standpoint as well as a professional networking one), as well as random events on (highly recommended). I need something semi-structured, I’m not one of those people who can just go to a bar and start talking. Again, I haven’t made friends yet, but at some of these regular events I’m already starting to feel at home.

I don’t know how much this counts, but I met my good friend when I hired her as a freelance graphic designer for a project I was working on at work. We just sort of gradually started hanging out after our meetings, and we’ve been pretty close for the past 3 years or so. I made another friend when she slipped me a note asking me out on a date – well, I didn’t want to date, but she was cool with it and eventually was my roomie for a while when she was trying to get back on her feet.

But I have to say, it is hard to make friends outside of work and school! You spend so much time at both of those places that you’re just sort of exhausted after work and don’t feel like making an effort to socialize!

The Internet! It’s so difficult when some of your best friends are states away, but I feel that the stigma of “but you’ve never even met them” has really got to go. It’s an outlet and a form of communication just as valid, and more rewarding, than long-distance letters between summer camp friends or however y’all old folks used to do it. ;)

Bringing the Internet and real life together work well too. I’ve made good grownup friends through Tumblr, and while I don’t see them as often as I’d like to, that’s more of personal social anxiety and continual lack of funds for funtimes than anything else.

MrPear would tell me about some of his friends. I would ask how he met them, and he would say that he had never met them in person; he knew them through muds and mushes in the 90s. At the time I didn’t get that they were actually friends. Then Jez (RIP), Persephone, and tumblr came into my life and I get it.

I met my hubs on the internet so I can’t say “real” relationships don’t grow here! Good point, time for the stigma to go. I think it has gotten better over the last decade. For a long time we were both embarrassed to tell people how we met. You get some funny looks around here still.

My climbing gym is my social life.  If I wasn’t there 2-4 nights a week I’d be super lonely, especially now that my twin sister is in Africa doing Peace Corps.  It’s surprisingly easy to meet people.  I’m a heavy user and you eventually get to know all the other regulars.  It’s a very laid back and social sport.  The feeling of working on a difficult climb as a group and cheering each other’s successes is really validating.

Making new grown up friends is difficult. Really I have found the only way to make new friends (not acquaintances) is to bond over some shared interest. That usually only happens to me through some organization. I have made one really good friend through our local beekeeping association and I have made two good friends at church.

I grew up in a baptist church and was convinced the only place to make friends/meet eligible men (before I met my husband on Myspace NOT in church) was to go to a big church. This may be true for some but I was never comfortable in the impersonal atmosphere of a huge church. I finally found myself comfortable in a small country church. The downside of this is that the majority of our (25-30) members are senior citizens. I am in my 30s so that didn’t leave a big dating or close friendship pool. Not that friendship could not span age gaps but I have found there really has to be some commonality to bond over.

I think being active in the community. Joining groups going out to volunteer at the library or shelter or whatever you are interested in is a good way to meet people with similar interest. Bonding over similar interests is the best way to make friends.

Also, DON’T BE SHY! If you like someone or think they are interesting make plans to communicate with them. Trade email addresses, ask for phone numbers, be proactive! Don’t just think “oh I like that person, they’re cool, now I am going to go home and immerse myself in facebook and pretend like it is the real world.” (ok sorry that last bit was preachy but it is from my own personal experience and habits!)

Finally, someone else who couldn’t do Big Church to make friends. I tried it, multiple times, because I thought I might as well take my mother’s advice when I was feeling down. It never felt personal. Like I couldn’t talk to people about anything but church-y things.

Maybe I just find my religious beliefs to be personal, and not something to bond with others over? It’s just a really touchy subject, and part of my innermost me, which you don’t whip out in casual situations with your peers.

Oh yes, “big church” never worked for me. I tried over and over again. Plus I deviate pretty far from the mainline Baptist view I grew up in and most (in my experience) big-fundamentalist-style-bringing-in-the-sheaves type churches go pretty hard line conservative even when they mask it under torn blue jeans and electric guitars. I found peace with my religion and a sense of community in an unlikely place with a small group of people and it is awesome. A church should really support, edify and lift up its members not the reverse. We joke in our congregation that everyone got there by a crooked broken path but it is really true.

I can honestly say that when my life was at the absolute lowest point those people banded together to hold me up when I couldn’t do it myself. That is what church should be, the ultimate in community support a tangible example of Christs love. That is what allowed me to reconcile my Baptist upbringing with my liberal convictions.

So I totally didn’t mean to jack a thread about making friends into a commercial for going to church ;p SORRY! But really, Caitlinface, if you want to go to church try some different ones. Try some different denominations. Try some alternative style services. For a long time our church met in people’s houses. I also taught yoga for years at our local india center and yoga is a great way to get more in touch with spirituality whatever your religion. Ok now I am way off topic so I will stop here!

The idea of making grown up friends terrifies me. I mean how on earth does someone do that? Grownups seem so much less willing to make friends than uni people do. Thank god I’ve still got a few good years of gloriod grad school before I have to pick up once again and try and find new friends. Again. Ugh.

Ugh, making new friends as an adult is HARD.  I moved here three years ago, and have several acquaintances, but no real friends like the people I have back north.  Mostly, I feel like I meet people I just don’t click with (I have been spoiled by an amazing group of girlfriends in the NorthEast, and can’t get used to women in the South).  Most of my new acquaintances have families, or are just at a different point in there lives (older, younger, whatever).  I tried to join a couple things, took some classes at the gym, did community theater, volunteered, but nothing really panned out like I’d hoped.  Relocating is a pain in the ass.

My solution, which I’m working towards now, is to move back North.  I miss the richness of my social life.

I actually de-lurked just to reply to this post, because I was *just* thinking about the fact that I have few very close female friends (my two besties are guys) and I’d like to have some lady friends too, since women have different perspectives on things than men do. I’m honestly not sure why I’ve not made lasting female friends… I’ve always been more concerned about the judgment of women so I’ve gravitated toward men for friendships. I honestly have no clue how you go about finding friends as an adult, so if there are any Persephone readers in the Philadelphia area, let’s get some wine (or a beverage of your choice) after work some time!

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