How DO you make new friends as an adult? 母亲, 42, who’s lonely after struggling to form deeper connections asks for advice – and is told to ‘treat it like internet dating’, find value in online pals and look for work buddies
A woman who’s finding it hard to make friends in her 40s because of the huge emotional investment required, has asked for advice in a candid online discussion that resonated with fellow mothers.
In a post on the British parenting website Mumsnet, the unnamed mother revealed that after previous relationships fizzled out, she finds it ‘stressful’ to put the effort into building new bonds with people, despite feeling lonely.
She said that she’s a friendly and approachable person, but moving around frequently means that she’s struggled to maintain
‘I miss having a stupid laugh with people,’ 她解释. ‘But when it comes down to it, I don’t want the hassle of making friends again. Anyone feel the same?’
Commenters were quick to share advice and sympathised with how tough it can be to make new friends as an adult, but shared their strategies for making it happen.
A woman on Mumsnet revealed she wanted to make friends but finds it hard especially as she lacks the enthusiasm to put herself out there
In a post on the British parenting website Mumsnet , the unnamed mother revealed that after previous relationships fizzled out, she’s finding hard to make the effort to forge new friendships. 然而, she admitted that she’s lonely and misses laughing with pals
Explaining the situation, the mother-of-three explained: ‘I’m not great at “being” friends. I was bullied from when I first started infants (I was the wrong colour for the place I lived), and right through school for various other reasons even when we moved to a big city.
‘So I missed out on learning “how” to have friends as a child and more importantly, as a teenager.’
The mum went on to explain that even as she got older she always took jobs where she mainly worked on her own and on short term contracts, so she never could form friendships.
Giving a bit more background on who she is as a person, 她继续下去: ‘I am friendly. I seem to attract people, I’m funny, 温暖的, 种类 (and really modest).
Commenters offered advice, suggesting that the workplace is great for making a close friendship, while others recommended revisiting old pals
‘I find friendships really stressful now in the fact that I just can’t be bothered to do it all over again. But I’m so lonely. I again moved two years ago across the country, my third big move.
‘My youngest is 17 月, I do the playgroup thing again and a couple of other parents have started speaking to me. They are really nice, but I just don’t want to take it any further.
‘I miss having a stupid laugh with people. But when it comes down to it, I don’t want the hassle of making friends again.’
Some suggested she make it a project to meet new people or take up hobbies that will allow her to meet a new circle, without the pressure of actively seeking friends
Strategies for making new friends as an adult
Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapist and Psychologist, Kelly Watkins, 告诉 FEMAIL: ‘Friends can give a different type of emotional support that your partner or family do, they see you in a different light and we are often less fearful of being judged,’ explains Kelly.
‘Our friends also give us a different perspective and we are more willing to take our friends feedback and constructive criticism less defensively than we do with our partners or family.
‘Friends can help you to develop your independence so you are not co-dependant on your family or partner.’
Put Yourself Out There
Go to activities based on your interests like a walking group, dance class or reading group,’ said Kelly.’Activites are goo because you already have common ground.
‘Even online activities will allow you to connect with others, which could turn into friends.
Take Your Time
Kelly went on: ‘You won’t be in a good head space to make and maintain friendships if you are burnt out.
‘Dedicate a time that is suitable to you, whether that is one evening a week or every other week.
‘If you are making friends doing something you enjoy anyway this will motivate you to engage in the activity, which will have a positive impact on your mental health.
‘Schedule in time to message or call people. This will help to make you feel in control which will have a lesser impact on your energy levels.’
‘If and when you find people you connect with make an effort to arrange to meet up outside of the initial activity.
‘If someone invites you, accept when you can, say yes more than you say no, but don’t be disheartened if you don’t click with everyone.’
Kelly adds: ‘It may feel really difficult if you are not a social person but you can still make friends.
‘Use online groups or platforms to build friendships because these can be just as meaningful and you are in control of how much you socialise.
‘If your social battery is getting low you can just step away from your screen.
'最后, think of things you like that you can do with others that doesn’t require you to be really social like watching a film or playing board games. You can still make friends but the focus won’t necessarily be on you.’
Commenters offered their advice, and while many sympathised with why she doesn’t want to make the emotional effort, they said she needs to push past it.
One commented that it’s like ‘internet dating’, 说: ‘You only really click with one in 50 people so you just need to keep chugging away.’
持续的: ‘Are you in work or planning to go back to work I’ve always made one good friend at nearly every workplace. It’s a good way to meet a friend,’ one advised, while another said they’ve made a close friend they ‘love dearly’ in their mid 40s at a new workplace.
A fellow poster chimed in to say that treating it as a project ‘a bit like deciding to learn a language with duolingo or train for a half marathon’ ELLIE CANNON 博士说，那些感染冠状病毒的高危人群希望自己决定是否应该进行防护.
‘You know putting in the work will be hard, but its for an end goal,’ 她说. ‘Make yourself make lots of effort between now and the summer and then reassess if you have managed to find anyone you click with.
Another suggested an alternative approach, recommending that she take up a hobby or project she enjoys and seeing what arises naturally to take the pressure off.
The poster continued: ‘If you move a lot, and have a hobby that translate well online, don’t underestimate the value of online friendships. Some of my closest friends live on the other side of the world and I’ve never met them in person, but we speak once a week on video call, message loads, and send each other cards for special events. They’re every bit as close as friends I made in my own cities.’
Another suggested rekindling past relationships as an easier alternative to forging new ones.
‘Now that we’re all into online socialising, could you make contact with a couple of them for a Zoom get-together, or some such?’ 她写了. ‘That might make new friendships seem more worthwhile, if you know you wont totally lose them all again.’
One commenter suggested that she’s putting too much emphasis on deep connections, and said ‘it’s fine to just be friendly with people’.
她说: ‘I see lots of people socially. None of them are going to turn round and say I’m their best friend. Most of them will only vaguely know when my birthday is.
‘I’m happy with that. I like distance. I just don’t have the capacity to have deep relationships with many people.
‘I get that it means I’d potentially struggle with who to turn to in a crisis, but I’ve made peace with that.
‘Do you think you’ve put friendship on a bit of a pedestal?
‘Friends don’t have to be people who know your life inside out and vice verse – a lot of people aren’t looking for that.’
Another echoed the same sentiment, 说: ‘Maybe you just enjoy your own company? Nothing wrong with that.’
While a fourth noted: ‘You can read up about making friends. Not too late to learn if you really wanted to.
但对我来说, sounds like you don’t really want to. And that that overrides your feelings of being lonely. Which is all fine. Your choice.’
‘I do wonder if you have been sabotaging yourself. “我告诉他他那里有一个大水气球，我是对的, up to you,’ wrote a fifth commentator.
Others said that there’s no need to go after intense relationships if you’re not comfortable with it, and that there’s a value in having acquaintances that you get along with