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Thursday, July 19, 2012

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)

275 comments:

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Anonymous said...

Thank you,thank you, thank you for posting a link to this article. I only have an access (free!) to a few NYT articles. This one didn't make the cut, and I was dying to read it :)

Lisa said...

Yes!! My husband and I talk about this all the time. It is so hard to make friends after college. Hoping our baby will open new doors to meeting new people!

Deanna Pai said...

YES. I graduated from Northwestern last year and most of my friends stayed in Chicago, so meeting people in NYC has turned into a bit of a struggle.

However, my very underwhelming social life has turned me into a great baker.

Christina said...

Story of my life right now. It's especially hard when you move to another city!

Joanna Goddard said...

lisa, i've found that it's much easier to make friends with a baby in tow, since you have an excuse to "ask them out" -- you can just schedule a playdate:)

Joanna Goddard said...

haha, deanna, that is a great silver lining!!

Michelle said...

It is harder when you don't have a ready made group to bond with like at school. I moved country at 31 and really had to put myself out there far past my comfort zone to build a new social network.

Melissa Blake said...

Great article!! Congrats to Alex -- I wrote a similar piece: http://melissabxoxo.blogspot.com/2011/11/would-you-rather-have-large-circle-of.html

The big problem, i think, in making friends as an adult is that people don't have that built-in play group like they did when they were younger; and people also didn't have mom setting up play dates either.

Sid. said...

Funny. I read that article and thought "finally, someone is talking about this!". I didn't realize it was your hubby that wrote it. You guys make a cute and smart couple apparently!

R said...

I'm only one year out of graduate school and it's definitely a lot harder to see people since everyone isn't around all the time. This article was interesting to read, but also a bit sad! I guess if everyone seems to feel this way, then maybe people will be more inclined to reach out.

http://www.heyfreshface.com

Caitlin said...

UGH I am having the hardest time meeting friends my age in my new town. I recently moved from NYC where I had a huge network of high school, college, and work friends.

Somebody else suggested I read "MWF seeks BFF", a book about a woman in her mid-20s searching for friendship in Chicago. So far, so good.

www.hardlyhousewives.com

Sarah said...

I had no idea this was written by Alex! I read it the other night and was also struck, and saddened, by this thought; however, it was nice to see this kind of topic in print.

Anne said...

That was your husband's article?!?!?!? I have been thinking about it all week and have emailed it all over the place - such an honest assessment of the situation. Well done!

Jessie said...

this is a great article! my husband struggles with this all the time and it's nice to see he's not alone. kudos to your husband!

Prescott Perez-Fox said...

I read the article and I quite agree — after college it is much more difficult to make friends. It's especially difficult if you are, like me, a freelancer/independent designer and/or have been unemployed. So much our adult social life comes from work. Co-workers are our default friends, and then the friends-of-friends connection comes into effect. But if you work solo, from home, it's tough.

I've found a group after these many years pieced together from neighbours, high school mates, folks I met through industry events, and a few friends-of-friends I "stole". It takes a lot to go out and meet a bunch of strangers.

Honestly, I have met a lot of great people through Twitter! You start with someone you know, then see who they're chatting with or who they're at an event with, and then you meet that person, who introduces you to so-and-so, and it becomes a thing. Seriously, try it.

Alexa said...

i read his article on sunday and discussed it with girlfriends over brunch :) the woman who uses a point system for each friendship offense was a real shocker for us!

it's true, these post-college years are presenting relationship challenges i've never faced before. it's never been so hard to date or meet people in general as it is now (and i am in nyc, which adds a level of anonymity, as well).

i've made my best friends here through my job (i work in publishing and find that a love for books naturally brings us together and spawns friendships), my neighborhood coffeeshop, and, surprisingly, through blogging. hello, 21st century :)

Carlie Cattanea said...

Thank you for posting this great article and funny Seinfeld video - he's always spot on! This is such a reality for so many of us in this age bracket.

PNew said...

My friends and I always talk about this. It is SO hard to make friends post college! I'm looking forward to reading your husband's article.

Sandra said...

I enjoyed the article as I found it thoughtfully written instead of sensationalized.

Yes, the friend-making in your 30's and 40's...for career reasons my husband and I moved a few times across country and have started again each time. It SO is like dating, both for one-on-one friends and for couple-y friends. Like you note, having our daughter helps!

I think it's easiest making friends with other "transplants" who are also looking to build a network.

But it is harder - no longer do you have hours to spend hanging out and getting to know each other...

Melissa Blake said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jessie said...

Yes, and I moved to a country where people have the same circle of friends their entire lives, so it is even more difficult to meet new friends unless they are also expats. Even then, the only things we seem to have in common is that we're expats. Sadface.

Very interesting article / topic to think about.

Nicki Logsdon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ellie Kornexl said...

I haven't read the article but thank you for making me aware! I am 26 but other than my husband (my bff) I don't have any really good friends to speak of. Sometimes I really miss it. I am excited to read the article and comments then maybe get some good ideas on friend hunting!

Meredith said...

Oh, my gosh! I read that and thought it was fabulous--I had no idea it was Alex! So cool. Go Alex!

And it's funny, I had a woman approach me at a nail salon a few years ago who was new to town, and I introduced her to friends and was rather close to her for a while. She started dating someone, and adopted his group of friends, and those of us who had initially been friendly with her were traded in for newer models--but I ended up mentioned in her Washington Post wedding article--"The... executive was so desperate to build a social circle after relocating from Houston that she was 'scouting out women at the nail salon to be friends with.'” My friends teased me about being the desperate nail salon friend :) So funny.

Nicki Logsdon said...

I am currently a college student and I already realize how I am not friends with "everyone" like I was in high school. Instead I have a handful of close friends whom are great. I often wonder where life will take us after college, knowing that there won't be time for hanging out like we can now because careers and families. Even with technology claiming to help people stay in touch, it is easy to lose touch with people. I totally agree that the older you get, the harder it is to make friends. Life gets in the way.

LaurenMax said...

joanna - i loved alex's piece and put it on my own blog yesterday. my friends love it too. thanks, alex! funny thing - my post about it actually got us a drinks/dinner date with a semi-friend we had in town! xoxo

this was the post: http://laurenmaxwell.blogspot.com/2012/07/how-do-you-make-friends.html

Lilac In May said...

very thought provoking article, and comments

Anne said...

What a great article (and so well written too!)! I really relate to all of it. Having moved to a different country has made it even more complicated. My close friends are 'back home' and I've not been able to make new close friends in my new country. I thought it was because of the cultural difference, but this article made me realize it would have been the same back home: I would probably still be hanging out with my close friends (from university), and not be making new ones. The upside of having a child is that once they go to daycare you meet other children's parents. But, to put it in Alex's words, we have not been able to get over the hump. No my daughter's friends are going to preschool while she remains in daycare (she's the youngest of the lot) and while I'm sad for her that she will be missing her friends next year, I'm also worried I will be missing my new found 'sort of friends'. Lucky for me, we will be moving back home eventually, so I will get to have my good friends back. :) Thanks Alex and Joanna, what a great topic to discuss (and think about)

Jay said...

Wow - what a great article and it's something my 'friends' and I have talked a lot about lately. In the expat community, we're separated by oceans from our best friends and often our friends are out of convenience and location. I've come home complaining to my husband about my 'friends' when I realise, if I wasn't living there, they wouldn't be my friends. Occasionally, you meet 'that' person that everything clicks with but as written in the article, it's hard to make that stick.

Kristi said...

While I keep in touch with a few of my closest college friends (bridesmaids, of course), I have made the BEST friends ever in my thirties. I am so so thankful for them....the secret? join a church in your community. I promise it's the best place to find real friends with common interest and kids the same age as your own.

Alyssa Liles said...

Such a great article, Alex! I'm glad to know that my boyfriend and I are not the only ones who struggle to find friends. Being 22 & 25, we shouldn't struggle as much as we do, but we were both blessed with a great circle of friends through high school and the first few years of college.
Now that everyone is moving away we feel lost. I often thought I was being snobbish when I was not hitting it off with his co-workers girlfriends, but I guess I just know the type of people I can invest in and trust.
Thanks!

Mad Max and Family said...

Oh, missed this article (and I even subscribe way out in Houston to the Sunday paper edition of the NYT)! Thanks, I'm going to take a read.

I don't know for me personally that it is hard to make friends in my now 30s. Most of my "new" friends have come from where I work (outside of the home). I've also met friends of friends. I moved back to where I am from (from NYC) so now I also get to see friends I grew up with (which they aren't "new" of course).

I think my main problem is finding time to see them!

-Tara
http://madmaxandfamily.blogspot.com
http://blog.chron.com/madabouttown/

ElsaD said...

Great article, very well written and documented! Congrats to Alex and thanks so much for sharing! The issue is there and real and I think it's comes from a combo of situations, especially work and other personal 'priorities' such as babies and family. I guess that fear and insecurities can also play an important role...I would suggest to try to allocate some time every week to do things u are passionate about: wine tasting, yoga, cooking clases...maybe it's the best way to get to know new people. And then, allocate some time to get in touch with your friends...but sure it's SO challenging...:) XOXO

Alycia said...

I used to think it was impossible to make friends as an adult, but once I actually made a real effort, I found this not to be true. People want friends the way they got them as kids and it just doesn't work that way. Be someone you would want to hang out with and you will make friends. Don't bail at the last minute. Don't complain all the time. Don't look for friends exactly like you. Don't think that you are SO busy you have no time for friends. It's really not that hard.

Danie at Pasadya said...

I can't wait to read his article, because I definitely miss my friends from my hometown and college. I started working from home once my husband and I moved, and it has been the HARDEST thing making close friends. We have acquaintances, but it's just not the same as someone you can call or see when you just want to be candid. I got the nerve to finally even ask a girl to lunch after meeting while shopping. I totally felt like I was asking her out on a date. Okay! Off to read the article!

auste said...

Great article. My husband and I talk about this frequently - and, as a previous commenter said, we hope our new baby will open doors to new friendships when we move to a new city after she's born.

Lauren Ashley said...

Fantastic article - I'm in my late 20's, still close to my college friends; however most of them migrated to NYC while I made my way to SF. I was lucky to have been able to cultivate a fantastic group of friends here - but as we all get farther into our careers and relationships it's been harder and harder to get together. This article is great motivation to keep making an effort.

Anna Gray said...

This is so true! I moved to NYC, leaving behind friend and family in midwest, and it's taken me 2 years to feel like I have a network of friends. It's forced me to curb my naturally social personality a bit, which is good and bad. But I have learned to be better friend to those already in my life, and to be more open to new people.

Nicola said...

I am 42 years old and lost my husband two and a half years ago. As a now lone parent to a 3 year old I find having a social life hard and feel quite lonely. Many couple friends stopped inviting me to things now I am on my own even when it was just the girls. Even some of my old friends hardly get in touch. I know people are busy and have careers, husbands, children but it if you want to be friends with someone you do have to make the effort to see them. It does make me wonder if it is me, am I too miserable or maybe I have changed, I don't know. Making close new friends is harder now but I live in hope of finding a new group of likeminded people who want to spend time with me.

Shan said...

Yes! I just graduated college and moved to Chicago with my boyfriend. I keep joking that I'm "friend flirting." I feel like it's harder to "ask out" a friend than it is a potential date. Does anyone have advice for making friends in a new city? I've signed up to volunteer & for yoga and dancing classes. I'm hoping the more people I meet with similar interests the higher chance I have?

Brittany said...

Such a great topic. Two years into our move for my husband's job and we still have no friends in our city. I'm going out on "second date" tonight with a girl I met on Craigslist. Here's to hoping it works out. I also wrote about the topic on my own blog: http://coveringhome.blogspot.com/2012/02/you-know-youre-coachs-wife.html

Anonymous said...

What a lovely article, but I must say it made me sad. I am over 30, married, planning a family -- the friends I expected (and who themselves expected) to be at this same stage are not, whether it's because of marital status or they already have kids (or don't want kids). Other potential applicants (newer friends) already have that coveted "best" friend slot full.

I often blame myself for craving the sibling-like friendships displayed on TVs and movies, but perhaps the reality is - this is reality.

Thank you for sharing this!

Valerie {all mussed up} said...

I moved to the Netherland three years ago and was terrified of appearing slobbery abd over-eager for friends. After two lonely pity-party years waiting for friends to come to me, I gave up my pride and started intentionally chasing down the people I wanted to get to know. Surprisingly, they don't usually mind my initiative-taking!

It's working. (:

kater said...

I didn't go away to college, and I've actually found I am not like, close friends with anyone I met there. I've actually had luck making friends with people I worked with, I work at a bakery/coffee shop, and my regulars. And, honestly, blogging! It's hard though, because I don't want to feel like I'm infringing on someone's life when I ask about hanging out, but it's hard to coordinate schedules! Oh well!

silhouettejess said...

I read this article this weekend and didn't realize it was Alex that wrote it. So cool!

My husband and I have made it a priority to build meaningful friendships post-college. When I was younger, I had a mentor tell me "You will build deeper friendships in one 3-day weekend traveling together than you will in 3 months of get-togethers."

I have found this to be so true and my husband and I try to apply this in our lives today. A few times a year, we set aside weekends that we either travel together with friends or do a "ladies weekend" or "guys weekend" away. Taking time for those short weekends helps create meaningful conversation and build deeper friendships that we can then build upon throughout the year.

Mary said...

Wonderful article, and I can understand why it struck a chord with so many people. For the past several years, I've been very focused on trying to expand my circle of friends, and it can be really difficult. One of the things I've found challenging is that many people my age already have their circle of friends - they have many college friends close by, family lives close, and they're just not as motivated to add to it. So I end up doing all the asking, setting up times to get together, reaching out...and while it's often well-received and worthwhile (which is why I continue to do it), it can hurt to realize that it is so one-sided.

Panda Head said...

I read and really enjoyed this article over the weekend, and couldn't help but think of the Paul Rudd/Jason Segel movie I LOVE YOU, MAN. it's so funny and so totally all about making friends as an adult.

Kate said...

We were discussing this topic last weekend and now I wonder if someone brought it up because of Alex' article! My input was that as far as I can tell, my parent's friends now are largely parents of schoolmates of me and my brother. The women I consider my mom's closest friends are the moms of kids we met in preschool! Realizing that gives me hope for my future friend circle :)

Kristin said...

I haven't found this to be a problem at all. I'm in my thirties and I probably have more friends now than I did in college! I'm a knitter and have met some of the best friends I've ever had at Stitch 'n Bitch. Also, I have a 20 month old and there always seems to be plenty of hip young mamas to hang out with.

Jessica Quadra Photography said...

My husband and I moved to Barcelona at age 30/31 and met some of the greatest friends we have. My dad always told us growing up that we shouldn't call just anyone a friend because a true friend is special blah blah. :) But I can sincerely say we've met real friends when we weren't expecting to. So true friendship is out there beyond your college years, ladies and gents!

Alina said...

This is definitely a topic I've thought about before, and clearly others have too (which is nice to know).

I have found it harder to make friends, because the main location where I spend most of my time and could meet friends (college) has changed to one not acceptable for making friends (work). I think it is possible to make friends after college, but it is harder. This is partly because by college, one might already have an established network of friends. I feel like that network is fine until the next stages of life (marriage, children), where it may be easier to make friends. It seems like post-college and pre-marriage (provided one is not in school) is the hardest time to make friends...

tiffany of camp1899 said...

this is one of my favorite posts yet! i laughed and laughed at both the article and seinfeld.. thanks so much for sharing!
xo, t.

Stefania said...

I find it incredibly hard and lonely sometimes. Being a mom has only helped to a point as I don't like a lot of other moms I have met haha. I miss my old friends, but they still go to bars, and while they invite me along, babysitters are expensive.

Lauren Nicole said...

I read this the other day when I saw it on the Most E-mailed list on the NYT iPhone app, but I should have looked more closely at the author! (And the Times should make journalists' names WAY bigger on their web site, btw.)

I always love Alex's articles, and this one is spot-on. You two have such an honest writing-style that is informed, articulate, and easy to relate to. Thank you, both!

Anja said...

Have you read this blog? Same thing, but for girls! She just published her book too...

http://mwfseekingbff.com/

kate said...

It was a phenomenal article, and congrats to Alex for getting all the attention for writing it!

It IS true though. I'm 30 and have had times where my girl friends have moved away and I'm left with no one in Philly to hang out with. Luckily I've met some wonderful girls in a couple of completely random ways. The first instance was at a speed dating event many years ago. We bonded over the lack of interesting men, being lushes and having at least a sense of adventure enough to GO to a speed dating event. The second time I went to a book signing / wreath-making event by myself and luckily sat at a table with several friendly women who are part of a larger group, and have since adopted me into their circle.

It IS tough meeting friends as you get older, but putting yourself out there and engaging other people at events, meetup.com, in a class or even at a bar! You'll find that sometimes people are just as lonely as you are and looking for a friend.

Manda said...

After moving to Connecticut- I've found myself alone more than with friends.
People here are seemingly different & don't have time to welcome someone else into their various groups.
Eat Cake

Nicole said...

Wow, this article hits home. Thank you for sharing and thank your husband for writing it.

-Nicole
http://milk-and-eggs.blogspot.com/

Alex said...

Yes! I am 24 and the problem I have come across is you build social networks but when it comes to actually being friends in "real life" it's difficult....must be a millenial problem.

roza said...

i just graduated at university, but i've never been a really "friendmaking" person. i have very few friends and they're from my childhood. it's definitely not easy making friends after school.

in dreams said...

i've actually been feeling this way for a while now, and it's so frustrating! always putting the effort in to get to know people, and then they seem to just float away, out of your life...and you have to start all over again. i guess that's why the internet is such a huge part of our lives - the connections are faster (even if they aren't 'real' in some cases).

i'd really love to have a few good friends who actually care enough to call me once in a while...rather than have me call/text/email/wave a flag frantically in front of their window (kidding) to try to get their attention. i miss my high school days for that.

thanks for posting the article, btw, i think this is an issue that really needs to be talked about!!

Jennifer said...

My husband and I have been discussing this lately as we are in our late 20s and married without kids yet, so a lot of our friends are either still single or starting to have kids. It's hard to keep up with both ends when everyone is at different places in life.

I also feel like our friends are still divided into HIS friends and MY friends, but it's hard to make new mutual/couple friends. I have made an effort to become close friends with all of his guy friends over the 5 years we've been together, but he is a bit more guarded around new people and very picky about who earns his trust - not a bad quality, but a challenge when it comes to making new friends. We also don't have any family in our city and a lot of our good friends live elsewhere.

I reconnected with a college friend last year and I am so glad to have her back in my life. Our husbands have only met a couple of times, but they came over last night to hang out and the guys actually disappeared to the backyard with the dogs and some beer and I guess they must have bonded. My friend and I were both surprised they were out there so long without us.

janine said...

I have always found it pretty easy to make friends, but I just moved to a new place, and I just don't have time to meet anyone or foster friendships. I still have my old friends, but none who live just a couple of minutes away, and one of my close friends just moved to another state entirely.

Anonymous said...

This article really hits hard. I've never had friends, just fleeting acquaintances. I even transferred to a university in New York City last year thinking that it would be easier to make friends. After joining multiple clubs and sports with no success, I was hoping that it would get easier after graduating. BUT ALAS, it appears that the future looks bleak haha.

Round Stone Revival said...

This article definitely rang true for me (and my hubby) As an adult it is more difficult. In the act of befriending people I often worry that I am coming across as a stalker. I didn't even notice that Alex wrote this. Great article!

Jess said...

I can totally relate to this! I moved to New York immediately after college, and it's hard to stay in touch. It seems like people in their twenties are constantly moving in and out of the city, too.

Mandee said...

I didn't realize Alex wrote this! Awesome. My best friend is a designer for the NYT---didn't know he wrote there. Anyway, I want to comment without sounding snobbish. I feel very lucky to have so many friends. I think back over the last year and I have made several new friends through my job as well as my hobbies. I even have two that I made within the last year that I consider to be very good friends that I talk to each day. Am I the only one with a different experience? I have a career at a large company where there are lots of social things that go on that allows me to make friends over and over, but I also met friends through outside activities like when I went through training to become a fitness instructor and joined a book club through a college friend and then met more. I think if I wasn't trying new activities the new friends would slow down, but that's the way it's been for me and I feel lucky!

Jennifer said...

My husband and I literally just had a conversation about this last night. We have recently moved to a new city over 700 miles away from our family and friends. I can be painfully shy at times, so I'm finding it hard to meet new people. I must admit that having a toddler has helped open up the lines of communication with some other moms at the park, etc. It is still a challenge though.

Mindy said...

OH MY GOSH! I haven't yet read the article, I will as soon as I post. But my husband and I were just talking about this! Have you seen the most recent episode of Louie? (It's the one where he goes to Miami, you should watch it with your husband.) But it's about men in particular trying to make friends. I find it kind of hard but HE has a much harder time than I do because I guess guys REALLY can't ask another guy to do something without feeling like they might be accused of being gay. I was like, what about Paul McCartney and John Lennon, were they gay??? LOL

I said, when did this happen? It seems there was a time when guys could be friends and nobody questioned it. His theory is that it happened when it became okay to be gay, societally speaking. That before it was just ASSUMED that you were not gay, so you could ask a guy to do something and it wasn't weird. Which makes it even harder for guys who are more sensitive to be themselves with other guys. If you are a sensitive hetero male, it's a tough tough world out there. And it's sad, because guys need friends, too, and not just friends to drink beer with.

As tough as it is for women to find friends, at least we don't have that level of insecurity to worry about. It's more just the uncomfortability of making the first move.

I am going to go read the article now, I just wanted to get this out there.

Jessica Cardoza said...

Thank you so much for posting this link. Beautifully poignant article. It really touched on so many of my concerns and worries about keeping and making friends as I enter my 30s.

Emily said...

I was talking to one of my best friends (who lives in a different part of the country) about this just the other day. My husband and I moved to a new city, for his work, a couple of years ago and yet the only close friends we have here are people I have been friends with since school - which makes for a tiny social circle. We do make an effort to meet new people (sometimes) but it's so much nicer to spend time with people you already know and love and don't necessarily have enough time to see as it is. I was more nervous about meeting the wife of one of my husband's colleagues than I was about starting university as it was so important we got on - she was lovely but we still only see each other about once every six months.

Thank you for sharing Alex's article, I'm glad it's not just me, you must be a super-proud wife.

Emily

Adler said...

I read this article the other day not knowing it was your husband that wrote it. Great article!!

Anonymous said...

i've found it really hard to make close friends in my 20s even, after moving to new york! the thing i eventually realized though is that everyone is in the same boat, so 90% of the time when i ask a co-worker or someone i don't well to do something fun, it's usually appreciated. - jamie

Annie said...

I didn't realize your husband wrote this! I really enjoyed reading it this past weekend - really well-written article, especially the way he wrapped up the ending!

I have to say, even more difficult than making new friends as you get older, is realizing that you have to let go of some of the ones that you thought would be around forever - high school and college friends who you grow apart from as you mature and change.

Katie said...

All I can say is that it's possible.

I just turned 30, but I've moved around in my life. I don't have high school friends, my college friends and I have mostly drifted apart, except for a couple who I keep in touch with over the internet, but haven't seen since college or shortly afterwards.

I moved to a new city after college where I knew no one. Finding a roommate was an adventure, but my first roommate out of college was a great woman who did live and go to college nearby, so I was able to meet some of her friends who have become my friends through the years. I met her on craigslist and vetted her as she vetted me. Sometimes it takes a risk.

Meeting other friend here took risk. I'm fairly techy and artistic, so I started by getting involved with some Houston social media groups on Flickr, one that had actual meetups about once a month. Through these meet ups, I've met many friends who I've kept through the past few years. Some are married, some have kids, some are a decade older than me, but we all have a common thread. From there, I began learning about and attending more events and participating in the culture.

My younger sister recently moved to a new city and a new job, but has had a difficult time breaking out of her work and college friends to meet new people. It's daunting. So I suggested a few different groups and series to break out of the box. Find something you like to do. Find a group that meets up. ATTEND SAID MEETUP. You may hate it. You may love it. You may meet new people, you may take a couple of times to put your foot into the game.

It's like dating. But for friends.

(note: I'm still single, so it's a bit easier for me to get out and explore)

teeny84 said...

I would also recommend the book, "MWF seeks BFF" about the subject. I read it and was really inspired to be more proactive about meeting people and then following up with seeing them again.

Hena Tayeb said...

We moved to a new place a few years ago and it took us a long time to find some new friends and a decent group. Everyone was at the beginning of starting families and whether we all loved one another was and is still debatable but we got along and we hoped with time and expanding families our friendships too would expand.. and they are sort of. And making friends as a couple is the ultimate accomplishment..

jennyg said...

Great article...proximity plays a big part in maintaining friendships in your 30's-40's. My husband and I did not want to leave our neighborhood...so we held out for 9 months trying to sell our house so we could be on an awesome block...and lo and behold my new across the street neighbor became a fast friend...she rocks my world everyday and I can't imagine life without her right now! And our kids and husbands are friends too...triple whammy!

LuckyRainbowDesigns said...

Having recently turned 30 I too am beginning to experience this! I have many friends who are now married with children and that in itself 'bothers' me...I literally cannot stand the baby talk and I miss the times when we were more foot loose and fancy free and could plan a getaway together! Just the girls! :(

Unknown said...

Love this article! Having school-age kids has led to me making new friends in my thirties and forties--often people I might not have gotten to know well if our kids hadn't chosen each other as friends first.

Anonymous said...

Joanna - Have you or Alex read MWF Seeking BFF by Rachel Bertsche? Honest and hilarious book on how hard it is to make friends as an adult. She went on 52-girl dates over the course of a year to find her new BFF! It was on the NYT Extended Best Seller list. You should check it out! http://mwfseekingbff.com/about-the-book/

Rose said...

It's the silliest thing, "trying" to make friends! My guy and I do this because my motto is "You(We) need people". I don't want our world to get smaller and smaller. But thinking about how to go about making friends is just hilarious.

Joanna Goddard said...

emily, totally:)

Joanna Goddard said...

yes, it's so hard to even find time for friends you already have and love. sometimes i think about some of my very closest friends and realize i haven't seen them in months!! luckily, with close friends, you often just pick up where you left off, but still it's a bummer to go so long between hang-outs. as alex says, "life gets in the way."

Joanna Goddard said...

prescott, how COOL that you've made real-life friends through twitter. that's awesome. sometimes all it takes it to just get up the nerve to ask someone to hang out. :) i've found that most people like to be asked to hang out, even though it can be totally nervewracking to get up the guts.

Mindy said...

Just read the article and it was wonderful. We really do change as we get older and it's so tough to find those kind of BFF friends, it's so true. I loved the comment about it being easier to build relationships in a three day weekend of travelling together and I completely agree. I guess you have the time and space to let down your guard.

To that phenomenon, I always noticed it was easier to talk to girls in the morning after a sleepover than it is the night before. It all makes sense now. The guard is down. This makes a case for having a vacation home you can invite friends to.

I think shared experience (like travelling together) and crisis bring people together in a way that nothing else can.

Very thought-provoking, thank you for sharing and getting me thinking!

aly said...

Thank you for posting this article.
I'm only 25 but I'm already having a hard time not only making new friends but holding on to old ones. I went to art college and now that I have a 9-5 office job and like crafts more than concepts I no longer relate to most of the friends I made in college. Many of my great friends have moved to different states or countries, and ones left here in Chicago(that I can still hold a conversation with without alcohol)are hard to make plans with.

I've also notice that as I get older there is less physical contact between friends. Maybe I'm alone in thinking this, but it seems like when I was younger I was not only mentally closer to my friends but also physically closer. As in we gave each other more hugs, and sat closer together. Now I feel like people keep a little more distance from each other . . . which may also stunt a close friendship . . ? (I don't know, just thinking out-loud:) )

-Aly

Boardroom Belles said...

My first job out of U.S. college was a 14 hr day gig in Munich. Though I am from there I found it hard to make friends outside of my then-boyfriend's circle of friends and work, simply due to time. But one day I had time to go to a party and before I left go this girl's number. She is still one of my closest friends today even though I moved back to the US. It's really as simple and as hard as taking the initiative.

In New York, I was astonished how easy it is to make friends, probably because everyone warned me how hard it would be. I made friends at work, hit up old college acquaintances via facebook, chatted up people on the subway or bars. I try to visit the same spots in my neighborhood and make friends with the people there. It is so much easier to make a friend among the patrons of a restaurant when you come in there and the people who work there seem to know you and are friendly with you.

Recently, with headphones in ears and Kindle on my lap, I contemplated how I am never bored anymore, because there is never anything I have to wait for with constant electronic distraction. But, it also makes it startlingly easy to become shut off to the world and I've certainly never met someone while I was plugged in.

In the end, making friends is a bit like dating. You've got to be open to meet someone and you've got to click with the person. The rest is up to your own initiative.

laura said...

i don't know whether that article made me feel better that i'm not alone in that or worse that it's not just me thinking this sucks. my husband and i just moved to philadelphia, and since we lived our whole lives and went to college in rhode island... EVERYONE we know is there. i'm an artist and am considering getting a part time job just to have people to talk to. it feels so lame to try and make friends on purpose, it feels contrived when it's not by happy accident :/

Zoƫ said...

I just moved away to St Louis with my boyfriend, and other than him, I don't have any other friends. There are so many people in my building that I want to get to know because they're my age and seem nice, but I don't know how to connect! I ride the other elevator that's farther away from my unit because more people ride it, and I feel like I just sit there smiling like a dork at them. I have NO idea what to do!

Lindsey said...

Yes! I moved across the country about a year ago and have not made one good friend yet. I find making new friends is much harder than dating was when I was single. I have talked to my husband about this and I think that as an adult, I am looking for "best friends", people that I really click with, whereas in college I was just making situational friends (roommates, people in all the same classes as me, etc.). I am definitely more selective now.
I thought it was just me having trouble meeting people post-college. Thanks for posting Alex's article, it could not have come at a better time for me.

Boardroom Belles said...

P.S.: I do find it SOOOO much easier to make friends seperately and then include significant other as opposed to friend-hunting as a couple.

Ashleigh said...

I especially love the quote, "I have a cocktail friend and a book friend and a parenting friend and several basketball friends and a neighbor friend and a workout friend." It's so true and perfectly acceptable in my book!

When my husband & I first moved to Chicago making new friends was much harder than we expected. For a while it was just the 2 of us and honestly we were lonely. Finally I realized that most people our age were in the same boat. At one point I just started filling our social calendar inviting everyone to everything. Couple's dinners, beach picnics, concerts, street fests. Eventually a small group was formed and even though the bonds aren't the same as the ones formed when you literally grow up with someone, we're very close and have become a city family of sorts. An important element is to never stop inviting new people or accepting others into the group. I've learned that people love to be invited but hardly anyone wants to plan. I'm fine with taking the reigns and this knowledge has me much less anxious about another big move in the coming months. The idea of new blogger meet-ups is also very exciting! :)

Joy said...

Please give Alex a hug/high five/delicious beer for writing such a wonderful article. I am SO struggling with this. As I head into my thirties, I have wondered time and time again if I will be able to make the kinds of friends Alex speaks of in his article - friends that can be relied on, friends that make time, friends that want to share moments of their lives with you. It's odd to feel as though my best moments of friendship were in high school. I certainly never expected that developing friendships later on in life were be so hard, but after a divorce and a move across the country... oy. I am trying to find good ways to keep my old friendships alive regardless of distance (skype is a god-send) and hope to discover a handful of friends in this new city. Someday. :)

Kristina @ Sarcire said...

I lived in 3 different countries, and went to 10 different school growing up because I moved so much. I never resented my parents for it because I loved the adventure of traveling and making new friends.

Then I finished college, worked and moved from Chicago to the East Coast... I didn't think it would be as painful and hard as it has been. It's incredibly hard to make friends when you're no longer in that academic setting. People have developed their own circle of friends that one can't seem to penetrate the center.

It's been hard, but after 3 years living in the East Coast- I've finally made some friends. At the very least, my best friend- my husband, is always by my side.

Anonymous said...

I think it was easier to make friends in college because everyone was on relatively equal footing (including incomes) and had the same problems.

My circle of friends has always been small but as they got married or had babies it contracted even more. Dates to get together went from weekly or monthly to "can we have brunch two months from now?"

I'm going to be the last of my friends to get married and I honestly think we'll elope because at this point there will be nobody left to invite to the wedding.

R.Y said...

I'm in my twenties and I felt like I related a lot with that article! I reposted it on my FB page and had so many colleagues commenting on the link, generally agreeing with it and offering their own perspectives. It was quite amazing.

I'm surprised and strangely happy that it's written by your husband!! Not in that way of course, but rather in an "Aha! I love both your writing, you guys are a dynamic duo" way.

Leah Hendrick said...

My husband and I just moved from California to Baltimore and knew NO ONE when we arrived here. We have put in a lot of effort and, after almost a year, now have a circle of friends that we like and are comfortable hanging out with. I think it was important for us to remember that most people like making new friends, its just that most people don't make the effort themselves. If you go the extra mile to mae a plan, most likely people aren't going to turn you down.

abby said...

yes!!! this is so true. i just moved to a new city and state as a newlywed 29 year old. it has been so difficult to make new friends . . . i think i'm really likeable! it has been really discouraging, but i take some comfort in the fact that i'm not the only one experiencing this.

the brunette said...

I was so excited to see this and to realize that your husband had written it! Very cool :)

I was nervous to read this article because I am about to move to a new city for a job where... well I know very few people. I was worried that it would tell me that it is a lost cause for me! But then I was happy to hear that multiple people talked about finding good friends at their first job (this is my first salary job post graduate school) and PHEW I felt a sense of relief! I am still in the 20-something sweet phase... hopefully :)

Clara said...

My boyfriend sent me this article to read, and I didn't realize Alex wrote it until you pointed it out! I love it even more now, ha! Yes, I think it's so true. I find it especially challenging to grow and maintain those deep connections. I feel like I meet so many people I love and would love to be close friends with (hello girl crush) through my work, but simply don't have the time to see frequently. It makes you realize how important it is to hold on to those deep friendships you already have.

Mia Stizzo said...

very cool. it'd be interesting to explore gender differences when it comes to making/maintaining friendships. my boyfriend sees his friends much more frequently than i see mine, which is a phenomenon i notice in other men as well...maybe it has to do with the quality of friendships?maybe because his friends are mostly single and mine aren't? maybe he has looser friend criteria? hmmm...

www.wishdownawell.blogspot.com

Megan said...

I'm going through this right now! I just moved to San Francisco for my husband's job (from DC) and am realizing how strange it feels to not have friends close by, or how to ask someone to hang out...Signing up for yoga and photography outings may help... fingers crossed.

If anyone wants to hang out in San Francisco....Hit me up! :)

Elisse said...

OMG! I read that article a few days ago and loved it. I had NO IDEA that was your husband who wrote it! That is so funny. I'm only 19 so I can't really relate, but I do feel that I understand how it is so much harder once college is over. My mom was actually telling me earlier this summer that I should try to make as many friends in college as possible because this is the time when people are most open to meeting new people and forming relationships.

Jennifer @ Belclaire House said...

Such a great article! It's definitely different making friends after college. I consider myself lucky to have a lot of friends, but after having my son and deciding to be a stay-at-home mom, I realized NONE of my friends were going to choose that path, and definitely not anytime soon. So now I'm in the process of making "mom friends." But the good thing is the ladies I've met are in the same boat so it's not as awkward, and it's crucial to our sanity. Also, my parent's closest friends are the parents of my younger sister's carpool group, who they met in their late 30s. They're my family now, and we vacation together and have them over for holidays so it is possible to have great friends later in life.

Mittenbits said...

My husband and I moved to Edinburgh a year ago and I can count our 'friends' on one hand- not including my thumb! I recently decided for fun to sell Stella and Dot jewellery (whose business model is social selling)- my master list was pathetic. It even had my sponsor worried.

oilandgarlic said...

So funny. I read this article and didn't even know your husband wrote it.

Anonymous said...

didn't realize this was Alex's article until your post here today. the article was a brilliant exploration, very original viewpoint and i haven't stopped thinking about it and thinking about how it applies in my own life. i value my friends deeply and the oldest ones are the people i can always come back to and it always feels comfortable and easy.

Hope said...

Eh, I don't know, I make friends with people at work.

Catherine said...

This article rings so true for me at the moment, recently moved to a new (& quite remote area for my husbands job) and on the brink of my 30th birthday it is definitely harder to make 'compatible' friends!It makes me appreciate and work harder on all my great 'old' friends! I never undervalue how important those relationships are...

Isabel Marques said...

thank alex for this article! I really related to it and it reflected my current situation. It even inspired me to blog about it!
http://smallappletree.blogspot.com/2012/07/friends-of-certain-age.html

Amber said...

I have total paranoia fear over inviting new acquaintances to hang out...I think a big part of what makes it hard is that school and college provided a natural way to get to know each other better. Now, if you meet someone once, you really have to put yourself out there. I've gone on "friend dates" that just didn't lead anywhere because I was turned off that they smoked or they were turned off that I babble or whatever. It really is hard, and I loved Alex's story!

Kasia said...

so true! except that I def think this starts in your mid to late twenties, whenever you embark to the "real world." Read a fantastic book about this a few months ago highly recommend it, it's about a woman's yearlong search for a new BFF after moving to a new city: http://www.amazon.com/MWF-Seeking-BFF-Yearlong-Search/dp/0345524942

Nina said...

Fascinating! My husband and I are now in our thirties and talk about this a lot. We completely relate to this article.

My family, however, is part of a small immigrant community and they have had a completely different experience. In fact, I think my mom and aunt found most of their closest friends in the last twenty years.

Our community doesn't view friends the same way as other 'westerners'; when you are younger, you are expected to be close friends with your cousins, not random strangers in school. This has helped my parents social life tremendously- they don't feel as alone as my in-laws do, even though all the kids live far-ish away.

Christina said...

I find that my husband & I have, in a way, "outgrown" many of our friends. We are the only married couple in our circle of friends that actually have careers, own a home, and are looking forward to having children. I find it hard to relate to our single friends who still live at home. They don't understand why we go to bed at 9:30 and don't like to go out partying anymore. If there are any ladies like me out there in their mid 20's (I'm 26) who live in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area would like to be friends, feel free to e-mail me!

Elizabeth said...

Such a good article. I'm not even twenty, but after moving out of state recently, I already feel like I'm only really making situational friends. I had a really good conversation with a close friend from high school about this. Thanks for posting this.

Eliza Ligaya said...

YES! I am only twenty two, but I have graduated and live out in the real world with my husband and it seems like nobody needs new best friends!

Kelly said...

This article has struck initiated a lot of discussion amongst my FB friends, all of whom agree that it IS incredibly difficult to make friends the older we get. And while I agree wholeheartedly, I just can't understand why, if everyone wants to make new friends, it is just not happening. Are we deluding ourselves that we are open to making new friends? If we want friends, we have to make the time and put forth the effort to make and develop those friendships, but so few ever become more than the casual acquaintanceships we all have and find dissatisfying.

As a 35-year old single woman, I have found the building of friendships to be more or less difficult depending on my location. From SoCal, I had numerous friends in a variety of life-stages. When I moved to Chicago for graduate school (much older than most of my peers), it was very hard as most people my age were moving to the 'burbs, having children and seemed to find it strange that I, a single woman, might want to be friends with "old married couples." The younger folks I met were mostly interested in different ways of socializing (pub-crawls, late nights, etc). I've since moved from Chicago to a remote-ish area of New England and I'm starting over with finding daily friends again. It's daunting, to say the least!

I appreciate the discussion this has generated and hope that it will encourage everyone to be aware of how we may or may not be doing all we can to find friends and be a friend.

s.eileen said...

this is a conversation i am constantly having. in fact i just had it this past weekend after a weekend that was more dreamy than real as 4 of us found ourselves intertwined as the product of being at a wedding in dallas together. and i wonder
will the connections last?

i have moved frequently in my adult life and find it increasingly hard to make friends, but i also have higher expectations. because i know kindred spirits exist, they are just harder to find (which is the beauty of them). and i hate awkward situations when all i can think about it is how much more interesting my book sitting on my bedside table is...

and i've been fascinated at how infrequently people ask questions. i sat in a circle with 7 people for 2 hours drinking cheap beer on a back patio with people i didn't know. and only 1 person asked me 1 personal question. i know that i only ask questions when i genuinely want to know more with the person i am with. and i have lots of them. but why do we keep hanging out with people who want to simply 'hang out' and not cultivate? what do we do with our time that stems more out of obligation than being intentional?

it is work. and we're "busy." but we also are lonely, though we never realize it because we are too busy checking out iphones even when we're having dinner with friends.

i work at finding ways to do something consistently with friends. and i hate that i'm [always] the initiator. and i give people space so they can initiate contact. but then, what's the point if they are still meeting me "half way". i run with a friend every tuesday at 6AM. i would way rather be sleeping, but then again, she's learning to know me well. and i count her as my dearest friend [here] because i know i see her every week and she equally values our time. we only met 4 months ago.

s.eileen said...

this is a conversation i am constantly having. in fact i just had it this past weekend after a weekend that was more dreamy than real as 4 of us found ourselves intertwined as the product of being at a wedding in dallas together. and i wonder
will the connections last?

i have moved frequently in my adult life and find it increasingly hard to make friends, but i also have higher expectations. because i know kindred spirits exist, they are just harder to find (which is the beauty of them). and i hate awkward situations when all i can think about it is how much more interesting my book sitting on my bedside table is...

and i've been fascinated at how infrequently people ask questions. i sat in a circle with 7 people for 2 hours drinking cheap beer on a back patio with people i didn't know. and only 1 person asked me 1 personal question. i know that i only ask questions when i genuinely want to know more with the person i am with. and i have lots of them. but why do we keep hanging out with people who want to simply 'hang out' and not cultivate? what do we do with our time that stems more out of obligation than being intentional?

it is work. and we're "busy." but we also are lonely, though we never realize it because we are too busy checking out iphones even when we're having dinner with friends.

i work at finding ways to do something consistently with friends. and i hate that i'm [always] the initiator. and i give people space so they can initiate contact. but then, what's the point if they are still meeting me "half way". i run with a friend every tuesday at 6AM. i would way rather be sleeping, but then again, she's learning to know me well. and i count her as my dearest friend [here] because i know i see her every week and she equally values our time. we only met 4 months ago.

Unknown said...

I loved this article. I recently moved to Chicago and I am finding it so hard to make friends. I don't even know where to start. Thanks so much for sharing this. It helps to know that a lot of people feel the same way.

kmdubow said...

HA! I just read this article and had no idea that Alex was your Alex. Beautifully written. The one comment I did have was that I found it harder to do this particularly when I lived in NYC. With so many things competing for your time, finding a second to have a drink with a new friend comes in last on the list. Its about making priorities. Thanks, Alex!

BookishPenguin said...

Wow, I thought it was just me. Because my "lifelong" friends WERE made in college, the downside is that they all live out of state! We all went away to college but then moved back to our prior home states (or new states) and, consequently, I rarely get the chance to see them. My best friend from college and I used to talk about how there should be a post-college college campus we could live at so we could continue the lifestyle as adults. There is something about it that simply lends itself to making friends, and I miss that dearly. What I wouldn't give for some new, all-encompassing friends right now.

Anonymous said...

I saw this link in Jordan's twitter feed. After I read it I sent it to so many people because it hit so close to home. Thanks to Alex for writing it! And you for reposting!

Liz said...

Thanks for posting this - what a GREAT article! Having just turned 30, I can totally relate. I feel like I have "pockets" of friends - college friends, childhood friends, work friends, friends who I brunch with, the friends with kids, friends who I drink with, etc. I can only hope that as I get older I'll get more pockets and not less.
p.s. Alex is such a talented writer - I bet you guys have the BEST conversations!

Unknown said...

Someone JUST told me about this article in a work meeting and I had wanted to read it, just didn't know how to look it up - so since you're one of the only 3 blogs I read daily it's awesome your husband wrote it! Thanks for sharing - hopefully there are exceptions, but with the way our lives are socially organized it makes sense. :)

Kate said...

I read it a few days ago and found it so engaging, and true! You and Alex are clearly made for each other as you both address such interesting topics in a truly engaging and relatable way.

Unknown said...

Holy Cow!!! I never paid attention to who wrote the article - and I had no idea that was your husband. Great, article - and it made me feel like someone gets it!!!
Thank you Alex

Anonymous said...

This may have already been mentioned, but you should check out the book MWF seeks BFF. It's about a girl who moves to Chicago to be with her fiance and has trouble making friends. She details all of the steps she takes to meet new people. I loved reading it and was able to relate to a lot of it.

--Airlie

line lem said...

Thank you for this article , It's so true , and because I'm french living in USA for less than a year it's even more difficult !!

I think american and French ( or europeans) have different way to become friends .
Because we don't have all the american way with college and roomates and springsbreak , it's different for us , you can easily make friends at the sport club or any hobbies and we are quite open to have new friends at any ages .
Here I can have accointance but not real friends , I think americans are really easy to meet but not so easy to become deeper friends
Sorry for my english ( grammar mistakes and stereotype !)

Carolina said...

I am in my middle twenties and yes it is hard to make new friendships after college. Most of my friends are getting married, having children, working hard and I find it so difficult to meet new people.

Cynthia said...

I live in New Orleans and have a very tight-knit group of friends that I made in my 30s. We all have busy lives, demanding jobs and kids, but we're still able to maintain close friendships. The following quote (see below) resonated with me because New Orleans, unlike other places I've lived, is a city that lends itself to spontaneity and intimacy. Furthermore, not to generalize, but people here tend to value family, friends, and special moments together over career and money.

For me, this is the key piece in the article -

"As external conditions change, it becomes tougher to meet the three conditions that sociologists since the 1950s have considered crucial to making close friends: proximity; repeated, unplanned interactions; and a setting that encourages people to let their guard down and confide in each other, said Rebecca G. Adams, a professor of sociology and gerontology at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. This is why so many people meet their lifelong friends in college, she added."

Ashleigh said...

It is so hard to make friends as an adult! Everyone has their own families and/or careers and its hard to find people that you have things in common with and connect with! I think about this often actually.

Dating guys is difficult enough but going on a "date" with a new acquaintance can be just as nerve-wracking!

Lindsey said...

@Megan in San Francisco: I also moved out here for my husband's job last year. Let me know if you want a yoga partner :)

Anonymous said...

Its also kind of interesting that if so many people feel this way, why aren't we all friends?!

Emma S. said...

OMG. I just graduated University and am moving to a whole new city with my boyfriend in a month while he attends grad school. I have no idea how I'm going to make friends. NO IDEA. I hope the people in yoga class are friendly...

Anonymous said...

wow. I am going thru a bad friend phase. A few of my closest friends moved away for jobs a while agao. I made some new friends but not those really close friends. I was wary of some personalities but kept the friendship and a few things happened to break up the group so I am feeling very friendless at the moment. It is so hard to break into a different group.

The Meaning of Me said...

Like the article said, as you get older your interests, priorities, and obligations all change, making it more difficult to dedicate time to finding or cultivating new friendships. Given a choice between special time with your kid who is growing up way too fast and hanging out with a bunch of near-strangers to see if there is friend potential...the choice is obvious for most.

And even in situations without kids, life changes whether we like it or not. That inseperable group of girls or guys from high school or college no longer seem to have the same interests. Those school experiences drive people together because they are sort of a captive audience, if you will. Once those lives begin to change and expand, the ties that held you together are no longer common to everyone.

My husband and I often talk about how the closeness and regularity of friendships from ten years ago have changed. Not that we no longer count these people as friends, but the landscape of the relationship has changed as all of our lives have changed. But we've also welcomed new people into our lives as well, so that is a great addition, too.

Guess what it comes down to is that friendship - like marriage or any other relationship - does take time and energy to cultivate. In today's world, people do not always have (or choose to have) the desire to work at it.

Great article - thanks for sharing!

That's Ms. Amy to You... said...

I feel that not only does it become more difficult to make friends as you age,but it's also challenging to keep the friends you have. Everyone starts to get married and have kids, and move away for jobs, and the relationship just sort of fades away. Much as a marriage takes work, so do adult friendships. And kids & jobs, and wanting to spend time with your spouse all wears on it, too. I don't think that there is any easy answer here.

Maria Matiopoulou said...

This is so interesting! Thanks for sharing it :)

Maria

http://www.unidentifiedlifestyle.com

alishalouise.com said...

I think I heard Alex on NPR the other day discussing this article! So cool.

This last move to a new city has proved my toughest yet for making close friends (working by myself from home + over 30 = lonely times). But I've really stayed at it and have a nice handful of lovely friends I meet for a variety of activities on a regular basis. You have to move past being hurt that you do the initiating. They will reciprocate with time.

I'm an extrovert and don't mind making the effort, but my husband is a real introvert and coming into couples friends has been a HUGE challenge. I have had to learn to accept that he's perfectly content with a small social circle and free time to himself in the evenings to do projects, watch movies and cook amazing meals.

Another huge upside to having an introvert hubby? We're expecting our first baby this fall and he's more than happy to take the lion's share of evenings at home so I can get out and socialize. I see it as a win rather than an obstacle now.

Hope said...

YES a gazillion times! I'm not surprised it hit a nerve - I sound like a broken record about how - with the dispersion of families/friends nowadays - it's very difficult to make true, intimate friendships. Thanks, Alex!

Haley said...

I wrote about this article on my blog on Monday! I loved reading it and had no idea that was your husband who wrote the article! I couldn't agree more with what he said, although it is kind of sad and frightening at least from my point of view to think we won't ever make those truly deep and true friendships, but it is definitely the case I"ve seen in my own personal experience. Wonderful article!

Aya said...

Thank you for this article! It made me both sad and relieved to read it. Sad because I relate to it so much, relieved that I am not the only one. Beyond my girlfriends from college, I feel like I have no friends. I lamented to my boyfriend the other day that perhaps having such good friends hinders my ability to make local friends because my standards are set and high. My friends from college and I are quite dissimilar and might not be friends were we to meet now, without history, without the opportunity of college to bring us together.I must say though, I set up "girlfriend blind dates" while living in China (I do think it's easier to make friends when you're an expat--something automatically in common) and made one of my best friends this way. We even met at a subway station--"what are you wearing? How will I recognize you?" Anyway, thank you for the article, Alex and for sharing, Joanna.

Sarah Marie Glaser said...

I confess that I just posted the link to your husband's article on Facebook. It read the whole article and it made SO much sense. It is cool to read your comments and see how much of a chord the article struck for others. A couple of my friends have already opened a dialogue on the Facebook link about it. Way to share a super poignant article. Thanks!

http://www.chezglaser.com

Anonymous said...

I was just going to send you an email asking your advice in making new friends when in your 30's after moving to a new city. What a relief to know my husband and I aren't the only ones struggling to make friends!

My Style Vita said...

I'm 25 and couldn't agree more with how hard it is. Never had a huge group of friends in college, so the 2 or 3 I still stay close with are all I have. And don't even get me started on how hard it is to ask someone to hang out! How does one get cute boy at gym to ask for your number? no clue!

xoxo Jessica
www.mystylevita.com

Liz said...

I'm in this boat too, moved to my fiance's homestate where I have 0 friends or family.

I heard a show on NPR a few months ago about this topic and they spoke to the suthor of "MWF seeking BFF" which was really good, though I have not yet picked up the book.

I liked the idea in this story about finding friends for specific needs: cocktail friends, book friends, exercise friends, etc.

Amy L. said...

My partner and I moved to New York City from the South three weeks ago to pursue careers in audio (him) and publishing (me). We are only in our mid twenties but have had the toughest time making friends. Everyone really IS so busy. Lunches I set up to make new friends are misinterpreted as networking lunches and end cordially. The worst part is when you are on the subway sitting next to someone reading one of your favorite books, dressed in an outfit you want to borrow and talking about topics you'd love to discuss. But you can't say anything to them. I think jobs are the only way to find people to be with, but that comes with time.

katilda said...

what's also funny, i think, is how those default friends from high school, etc, are still considered BFFs of mine even if we have little in common now...like girls that i wouldn't likely click with now will likely end up in my wedding party because we bonded at age 8. funny how that works! we pick our network before we even know ourselves. it is nice to have those old friends, though, even if we aren't alike anymore.

Megan said...

Just an idea-- maybe we could use this forum as a way to meet people in particular cities.. Seems like there's a lot of interest. What do you think Joanna?

Jessie Ammons said...

As a relatively recent college grad, I think another layer to all of this is that in today's market, oftentimes grads and recent grads just move back home or end up in really transitory positions for a few years. If those are supposedly the most fundamental friendship-forming years, then how does that all work? Constant transition is exhausting and certainly not close-friendship-inducing, and then apparently it only gets worse...

Anonymous said...

when I got divorced years ago I decided to travel around to see a musical act (musician) who was a friend of mine since I was 17. (I was married to one of his band mates)
Long story short I have met some wonderful people from every corner of the world and we regularly travel to various cities to see this musician. So much fun hanging out for a weekend in a new city with your pals. We even get together in each others city when were not seeing music. The phone, Facebook and e-mails keep us in touch and we've been doing this for years! I love music so it just seemed the natural thing to do. PS. you'd be surprised how cheep hotel room are when you put 2-3 in a room!

Heather / It's So Suburban said...

I can relate to this, I think it does get harder! I am reading MWF Seeks BFF right now, and I see others have mentioned it as well. When you are working, have kids and are naturally an introvert anyway, it takes so much energy even to just keep in touch with existing friends!

PoetessWug said...

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

Amber said...

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.

Julie said...

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

Adriane /// The A and B Stories said...

I was so happy to be able to contribute a little bit to that piece by Alex! And the article is amazing!

Anonymous said...

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!

Jenni said...

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.

Meredith said...

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.

Jasmine Brink-Li said...

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!

Lori J said...

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!

astrid irene natalie said...

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!

Trina said...

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.

Megan said...

@Lindsey in San Francisco: That sounds great! I'm in the Fillmore District.. maybe we're close?

fb? https://www.facebook.com/megan.mayerrothbarth

Any other SF'ers?

Allison said...

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.)

Carol said...

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.

Chimmy said...

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!

Notes from Holly St. said...

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!

Anonymous said...

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!

Kate {Modette} said...

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

Elizabeth Soule said...

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!

CMX said...

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!

Melissa said...

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?

VintageDanielle said...

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.

Anna said...

Oh my goodness. I read the article when it came out. I had no idea your husband wrote that. It's so true, and I'm making an honest effort to not fall in the same trap. As much as adults value their time for just family, I want to continue to gain new insights with new friendships... Too optimistic?

Anonymous said...

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.

Stacey said...

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.

Victoria said...

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.

Megan said...

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.

Megan said...

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.

Emily said...

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.

Rosemary said...

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!

Pomegranate said...

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!

Steph said...

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. :)

Melissa Jade said...

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.

iamyoursforever said...

nice xx :))


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aleksandra said...

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.

Freya Lily said...

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.

Freya Lily said...

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.

Stephanie said...

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.

wintunancy said...

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.

Anonymous said...

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!

sarah said...

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.

Hot Mess Housewife said...

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.

Ana Maria said...

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!

theshooz said...

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!

Anonymous said...

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

Fellow NYr.

Meg said...

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!!

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