making new friends when older

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In the last few years, I have been through a lot in my relationship/work life, meaning that I pushed away the few close friends I had and didn't bother to forge any new friendships. Now that everything has died down a bit, I suddenly feel really lonely. I do have a couple of good friends, but they live far away from me now and so I rarely have anyone to meet up with during my spare time, or to share my thoughts with or have girlie talk with.

When I was at school or university, the prospect of making new friends seemed easy but now I just can't seem to be able to do it. I pass the time with people I work with, but haven't really made a connection with anyone. Does anyone else struggle to make new friends? Any tips on how I could go about it?
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  • PeacefulWaters
    PeacefulWaters Posts: 8,495 Forumite
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    Join a walking group locally. Get fitter and meet people at the same time.

    I'm told there's a web site called Meetup where you can look at things that specifically interest you.

    Get back in touch with some of the old friends who are worth it.

    Get out on work social events.
  • Newdirections
    Newdirections Posts: 112 Forumite
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    Thanks! I've just had a look at Meetup - it looks very interesting
  • bellaboo86
    bellaboo86 Posts: 316 Forumite
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    Could you get back in touch with old friends and offer an apology?
  • Newdirections
    Newdirections Posts: 112 Forumite
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    Hi Bella, Yes I've got back in touch with my best friend and will be meeting up with her soon, so that is definitely a positive thing :) I have tried to reconnect with some other people but people move on and I do understand that.
  • selloptape
    selloptape Posts: 632 Forumite
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    Most friends I've made in recent years have been through work or courses, how about about volunteering, a part time job or an evening class?
  • barbarawright
    barbarawright Posts: 1,846 Forumite
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    If you join any sort of group - walking, running club, Meetup, reading group, the way to get to know people is to volunteer. Just turning up isn't enough as people don't necessarily know if you're new or not. But loads of places want volunteers - your local theatre or museum will almost certainly be looking. Don't expect to make best friends at once but, by and large, if other volunteers are planning a pub trip, if you look interested, you'll be asked along. It certainly can be done but *you* need to make the initial contact
  • Lily-Rose_3
    Lily-Rose_3 Posts: 2,732 Forumite
    edited 2 May 2016 at 1:01PM
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    I had a bit of an issue some 5-7 years ago with having hardly any friends. I had just a couple of friends who lived 30-40 miles away who I saw 4 times a year or so. I had work colleagues, but although they were friendly, they didn't bother with me outside of work. They were 20-25 years younger, and moved in totally different social circles, and would go clubbing and getting wrecked every Friday night. That wasn't for me.

    I had my husband and daughter, and we would go on holidays and day trips and for meals out etc, and we would see relatives every couple of months, but I never went out with friends. (Apart from the odd Costa with my 2 friends who lived 30-40 miles away.)

    I had dozen of friends in my teens, and 20s, and 30s too. Work colleagues, other mums, neighbours who became friends and would have parties. Some for the adults, some for the kids. I was asked out every other week. And often had people around for drinks.

    Then people moved on, we moved house, no-one had kids parties anymore, (as my daughter hit her teens,) and they rarely had ones for adults. And I found myself without friends by the age of 43-44. As I said, in the workplace, people were OK, but didn't socialise much. Only with their friends outside work.

    I went on courses and joined hobby groups, but found that people would turn up in cliques, some 2 at a time, some 3, some 4. They would all chat together and shut other people out. I asked people for coffee a number of times, but they were always busy. I really struggled for 4 or 5 years. I went from having multiple friends and a great social life (from my teens to the age of 43-ish,) to having no social life at all, and genuinely properly struggling to make friends.

    Then at around the age of 47 (some 4 years ago,) I decided to start going to Church. I thoroughly recommend it as a place to make friends. Unless you are a huge atheist, it's a wonderful place to make friends and meet new people. The amount of people I can genuinely call a friend now runs into a couple of dozen. In fact, I haven't had this many friends since I was about 21! (I still see the 2 old friends too!)

    Also, I can honestly say that it's not all people obsessed with religion who go either; some go for the company and the fellowship. I also go to a meeting group organised by one of the ladies there, that meets up twice a month. Between 10 and 20 go to it, depending on who can make it.

    I have met half a dozen women there who have asked me to parties, and out for a coffee, and out for lunch, and my husband and daughter and I, have actually been asked to a wedding in July, (The daughter of a woman I met at the group.) In addition, me and my husband have been out for meals a few times with several of the people from Church. And no, we don't sit there talking about Jesus, or praying. The subject doesn't come up. We just chat in general about anything and everything.

    So if you are really struggling, and hobby groups and courses fail; do give Church a go. As I said, even if you are not massively religious, you can meet lots of people, everyone is accepting and friendly, you won't find people excluding you, and you will eventually start being asked to other things.

    Good luck!

    (edited to say, going to Church at 47 was not the first time I ever went, it's just when I started going regularly. I moved to a new (small) town and was asked by the Vicar in the street I live (she lived there too,) if I wanted to come that Sunday. I went, and have been twice a month since, and made lots of friends. :) In my 30s/40s, I used to go to Church sometimes, but would go twice a month and then stop for a year, for various reasons. Then I would start going again. I have always had a faith, but I have only been going to Church so frequently for about 4 years.)
    Proud to have lost over 3 stone (45 pounds,) in the past year! :j Now a size 14!


    You're not singing anymore........ You're not singing any-more! :D
  • kloana
    kloana Posts: 431 Forumite
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    Are you on Facebook? It's common to add and have 'friends' on there that you might not have seen in a while. And as your Facebook friends post updates on what's happening now in their lives, it can provide a talking point for re-kindling old friendships.
  • kloana
    kloana Posts: 431 Forumite
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    Lily-Rose wrote: »
    Then at around the age of 47 (some 4 years ago,) I decided to start going to Church. I thoroughly recommend it as a place to make friends. Unless you are a huge atheist, it's a wonderful place to make friends and meet new people. The amount of people I can genuinely call a friend now runs into a couple of dozen. In fact, I haven't had this many friends since I was about 21! (I still see the 2 old friends too!)

    I'm a huge atheist and couldn't bring myself to go to church for that very reason, but I do think genuine friendships can be formed at church. I'm acquainted with a small handful of people from school who I follow on Facebook (don't see them face to face these days) who seem to have formed genuinely warm and good-quality friendships through church. They're only in their early 30s, too (not that it matters - I just know some people might perceive churchgoing as a very middle-aged thing to do).
  • pigpen
    pigpen Posts: 41,062 Forumite
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