Why It's So Difficult To Make (And Keep) Friends When You're An Adult

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Arranging to meet friends, the older you get, becomes less about spontaneity and more about 'let me check my diary' and settling on a date weeks - even months - in advance.

Factor in cancellations and friends disappearing off the radar because they have kids or got married, it's near impossible to maintain the friendships that were once the centre of our universe.

Making new friends would seem to be the answer, but for those of us living in cities it's not always easy (plus see all of the above for key obstacles).

Here are some of our favourite quotes:

(Arranging to meet up) feels so forced, when you need to plan like three weeks in advance when you're going to grab a beer with someone.


I've always imagined that the lives of people without kids seem trivial to people with kids (I'm saying this as a 33 yo with no kids).


Married folks move on to form a new group and your old group of friends fractures into marrieds/singles. And then people start popping out kids and it splinters yet again.


Children are the massacre of a social life.


I think because as we grow older it is perceived that everyone already has their own friends, and that making some more is triggered by something else (for work, physical attraction, etc.) and not by just actually making friends. And being the conscious beings that we are, we spend too much time thinking of what people will think of us when we try to make friends that it appears to be hard, when it shouldn't be.


A lot of the friends you made growing up were because you were 'stuck' with them. Many of the people you were friends with then wouldn't pass the 'checklist test' that most people tend to use in judging people as adults. You wouldn't be friends with them now if you hadn't met them when your standards weren't as high or when you weren't as judgmental.


You know how when you were growing up and your friend got a boyfriend/girlfriend and then you rarely saw them again? In adulthood, that's nearly everybody.


When we are little we make friends where we find them - you live next door? friend. Sit next to me at school? friend. Generally we have similar but limited interests. As an adult we filter out the people we don't agree with politically, socially etc. By the time we get to the few people left there's a very small pool of potential friends.


I think as adults, we're more afraid of being judged, because we do the same to others. How quick are we to identify a flaw in someone and then immediately cast doubt on their ability to overcome that flaw with some other good quality? It's difficult for most not to do that.

Personally, I just went through a break up and ALL of my friends are mutual. I was quickly made out to be the villain and so now I am pretty much back at square one when it comes to finding friends.


Maybe you feel uncomfortable planning something, because now it's an event. It's something that you've hyped up in your head, something that you're supposed to enjoy. Then you might think, "what if it's not going as good of a time as I hope it will be"? Then you'd rather stay home and guarantee a mediocre time, then risk a shitty time. Humans are comfortable in the known, even if the known is uncomfortable or even if the unknown could be better.


Seinfeld had a bit on exactly this issue. (It helps to read this in the Jerry voice...)

When you're [an adult] it's very hard to make a new friend. Whatever the group is that you've got now, that's who you're going with. You're not interviewing, you're not looking at any new people, you're not interested in seeing any applications. They don't know the places. They don't know the food. They don't know the activities.

If I meet a guy in a club on the gym or someplace: 'I'm sure you're a very nice person. You seem to have a lot of potential, but we're just not hiring right now.'

Of course when you're a kid, you can be friends with anybody. Remember when you were a little kid, what were the qualifications? If someone's in front of my house NOW, that's my friend. That's it.

"Are you a grown up?" "No." "Great! Come on in. Jump up and down on my bed."

And if you have anything in common at all, "You like Cherry Soda? I like Cherry Soda! We're BEST friends!"