I’ve long eaten my words (and attitude) from my 30s about friendship. Jerry Seinfeld captured it perfectly in one of his show’s monologues–
Oy. There was a season in our lives when we couldn’t make room for anyone new…or maybe we just wouldn’t.
“I’m sure you’re a very nice person, you seem to have a lot of potential. We’re just not hiring right now.”
Though unintentional, that about summed us up.
Fast forward 20+ years and three moves and I’m happy to say that’s no longer our attitude, practice or position. We learned the hard way.
What are your thoughts about making friends as an adult? Easier? Harder? than when you were a child? Can you see general characterizations/differences when you were in your 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s…? Are you open to new friendships? What do you do to invite them? Do you see yourself as closed? What are the biggest barriers to your making new friends?
Are you interviewing? Is your dance card full?
Funny you should post on this. I was just thinking through some goals for my year and realizing that I have a couple of toxic friendships that I just don’t have the time nor the energy to deal with right now. God is bringing new relationships into my life that are more uplifting than some of my old ones. I can’t let go of the old entirely, but it’s time to invest in the new too.
Toxic friendships…they exist, don’t they? Setting boundaries and knowing when to say when were two things I didn’t do well when I was younger. I learned the hard way, more times than I wish I did. It sounds like you’ve been doing some soul searching…soul sifting? 🙂 Life is too short to spend trying to fight an already-lost battle. Wisdom sets you free from that, don’t you think? (I’m glad YOU are a healthy friend!!) xo
I would love to make new friends, but my work schedule right now prevents it. It was much easier when my children were young because I was thrown into many more situations where I could meet new people. Being an empty-nester with a very demanding job precludes making new friends.
🙁 I hear you…and your comment “name” pinched my heart. Are there people to befriend at work? Are there people with whom you share life naturally – church? hobbies? – you could pursue? Not the masses, but the one? One person can make such a huge difference; and the sweetest thought is YOU could be that one person!! 🙂
Prayers that God will bring one good friend your way! I know the feeling. May God shower you with His love and grace!
I think it was easier when my children were younger. We moved when they were all in elementary school, heading into middle school, and it was more difficult then. They have stronger preferences as they get older. You don’t always sit around at their events and talk to the other parents like you did when they were younger. Life is very full with three active kids, which makes finding time to go deeper with other people challenging. The general busyness of people, sometimes not even something they can control, makes it difficult, too.
Your comment make me wonder this: aren’t we ALL craving connection? But it’s WORK when at different times in our lives it comes more naturally or easier. I really believe people are more open than it appears, and maybe more open than they realize. I wonder who used to be sitting around in the bleachers with me who was dying for a good friend.
Of course, that being said, I think my years of loneliness and looking weren’t nearly as lacking as I thought; there was a community I was a part of but somehow missed as being such. I was looking for it to look different than it actually did… 🙂
I think it is important to be open to making new friends during different seasons of your life. We are soon to be empty nesters (22 year old twins graduating from college & flying with their own hopes and dreams). We are finding that time spent with our current friends different. They all still have younger children at home so they are still engaged in sports activities, etc and we are no longer involved in the same things. It would be great to have a few friends that share some of the same things that we do (trials of watching your kids make mistakes & learning about life). I have prayed that God would help to put us in a place where we could meet new friends that we could share this season in life with & grow from it. And unfortunately there have been opportunities to invite new people into small circles and others have not wanted to seek and find those friends because their lives are full. So I guess what I am trying to say is that you never know what you will need at different seasons of your life. You may need a friend and not have one that you can really share the season of life you are going through (it could be empty nesters, moving to a new city, or losing a child). So you should be open to invite those people in at any time. You can grow as a person in Christ from others and the relationship that you form with them. All that being said I also want to say that I enjoy the relationships I have with friends that do have younger children. They often have stories to share about their lives that keeps us younger too through laughter. So I am not trying to seem unappreciative of those friendships (because I am thankful for all that I have in my circle).
You make a GREAT point–it’s healthy or at least good to have friends in varying stages of life, for different reasons. Each friend doesn’t have to be all things; there is value in every relationship.
I dunno…I’m in a rich, rich season right now. Empty nest, and people with whom I share life. I think BECAUSE of my previous void, I appreciate humans so much more :). Or maybe because I’m getting older, I’m looking at people in all their dimensions and trying to appreciate better what they mean in my life (and visa versa). It IS important to do life w/people your own age/season…so I DO hope you find that one :). Someone out there is already praying for you but they just don’t know your name. Yet :).
I have always been shy, so making friends as a child and a teenager was mostly related to who was nice to me. Many of my friends came from church in my teens and I was blessed with a lot of them through our church Youth Group. I still keep in touch with some of them today, though none of them live nearby. There are a few I would visit if I had the money. Over the years, I moved a lot. And I mean a lot !!! Though I was shy, wherever I was, I would strike up conversations with people in grocery stores, the library, church… wherever I was. It got easier. When I had my two sons in my mid-to-late thirties… I met the mothers of the kids my sons liked and we made some play dates… but none of those friendships lasted for very long… except one when my sons played football. In my forties and now it my fifties it is even harder. At church, even though I like my church in many, many ways… it seems very cliquish… a lot like high school. Not all people are that way, but sadly… if you are new… and don’t fit into any of the “pre-formed groups”… you do not get invited to anything outside of church and those I have asked over for tea/coffee or a variety of things I though they might enjoy… well most do not show up. They are settled in their ways. If you are in their same stage of life… you might make friends in the same way I did when my sons where in school… (as in if you have kids that do the same things)… but if your kids are over 18 and working or off to college… you are on your own. And if you are someone married to someone who is not saved… it is the same as being divorced… you are ostracized to a certain extent… and I have been the divorced mom too). I think it is so sad. I am blessed to have one childhood friend close by … she was my first friend and I think we will be friends to the end. I have another close friend from college who lives far away…. but we speak on the phone regularly, write real letters, emails and texts. She and I will be forever friends too. I have another childhood friend who was a very good friend until she got rich. Sad to say but now I don’t make enough money to be worth spending time with. We keep in touch sort of. I am sad because we were once so close … as teens though we lived a couple of states apart… we wrote letters almost every day. We both had our first child the same year and lived only an hour apart at the time. The only time she calls is when something is wrong. I am the good old shoulder to cry on. The football mom from when my kids were in high school lives about an hour away now… but we call or email about once a week. When we moved our friendship changed as I used to visit often… both of us have some health issues so the drive is hard even though only an hour. I honestly feel very lonely most of the time. A few months ago, though I had attended a women’s Bible Study at one of the women’s homes… most were around my age and stage of life… for awhile I have always felt left out…so I stopped going. I always felt looked down upon. I was married to an unbeliever and did not have the money to do all of the things they did. Very strange. At the last church I went to, I was accepted and had some friends but they were old enough to be my mother. I really enjoyed their company and wound up teaching a Bible Study for them. There were a few younger women who came too… but I still keep in touch with some of the women from there. We email and occasionally talk on the phone. From that experience, when I left the other study… I waited a bit and looked into what other home studies there were… I wound up going to a smaller one… made up mostly of seniors in their 70’s to 90’s. Some WWII veterans. My son, who is 21 and works nearby and lives at home goes with me. We are the youngest. But from the very beginning they went out of their way to make us feel welcome. I have made some good friends there, but it is hard for them to get out and about more than to church and to the study. I am working on getting together for dinner with a couple of them as they do not mind that we do not live someplace fancy or that my husband is not saved. But I still feel lonely for friends nearer my age to do things with. And it seems almost impossible to find a couple to do something with me and my husband… Christian or not. I am learning the truth of “What a friend we have in Jesus”… as He has become my BFF !!! That part is good, but I still long for someone to come over for tea/coffee or to shop with now and then. I do not even have sisters (only brothers) or sisters’in-law who live close enough to see. One of my s-i-l’s and I do email and text and talk regularly and pray for each other often. That started this year and came as a nice surprise as she asked me if I would be a prayer partner. She has friends from her job and church and is a little younger but it is nice. Still I long for a few good friends… and wonder what to do about it.
Prayers that God will send you one good friend to enjoy life with! Don’t discount the friendships of older people! I have many older friends. We talk, enjoy life together!
Wow…a lot to process. What I hear mostly from now is your current longing, and I understand that. Maybe pray that God gives you clear eyes of discernment, to see what you might have been missing; or, for you to accept where you “are” as a divine calling, to love these folks already in your sphere. God knows your heart and void, and he loves you completely, so if there IS void how is he working in it and through it? What is he hoping to refine in you? It has to be good, right? I don’t understand the mystery of it all, but I’m seeing where the good AND hard things ARE all good, ya know? But I sure do hope that “one” shows up in your life. A friend who’s right “there” can make all the difference in the world.
I am truly enjoying this thread. I, too, sometimnes crave making new friends. yet I feel like some have said, the job schedules or some that have friends still with younger kids. I on teh other hand, have children that are young and married and now with kids. Sometimes I feel this has separated some from me. Just a friend that can be there an dwe can hang out and enjoy life and the free stuff it has to offer us.
When growing up I was super shy and had few friends. I couldn’t hear good and just stayed to myself. Now that I’m older (50s) I make friends easier.
I have a wonderful group of ex-coworkers who meet once a month. We can talk about anything and it stays there, but we pray for each other. Nice to have such good friends!
I have some good friends from church. One in particular stays in touch out side of church. We do things together and pray for each other. We have cooked meals for each other & shared clothing!
It’s HARD. I’ve been looking for a few good friends for years. Right when I was finally starting to connect with one they had to move away. Different friends have different things in common, but I know some families have family friends that they do all kinds of things with and I’m pretty jealous of that. When you are young you do things with the people you have interests in common with. When you get older and you’re following your kids around the people at those events seem to have their own groups. And SO many social events revolve around alcohol, which doesn’t interest me at all.
Hi Robin – I’ve been meaning to reach out to “meet” you for a while but life has been crazy (of course, when isn’t it?), then I read this post (which I love) and figured this would be a great time to do so! I had the pleasure of meeting Tad a few weeks ago when I was in the area staying at the guest house. It was nice getting a chance to meet him and talk over dinner. You’ll have to let him know that I took his advice about eating at the Pink House when I was in Savannah – excellent recommendation.
Female companionship is important. No matter how fabulous our husband’s are, there is something to be said for having good female friends. The discussion above points very clearly to the loneliness we can feel when we aren’t connected.
Over the years I would have to say that the priority of my friendships has changed as I’ve moved through the different seasons of my life. Back when the kids were small, I had little time for the friends I had and quite honestly, wasn’t accepting any applications for new ones. As a working mom, my primary focus was on my husband and kids. My long-time friends were the recipients of the time I had left over. Fortunately I’ve been blessed with some long-term friendships that have withstood the test of time, even when they’ve been neglected.
Now that the kids are grown up and don’t need me as much, I’m able to focus on my friendships and give them the attention they need. Both reconnecting with old ones and making new ones.
I’m pretty outgoing so I’ve never had trouble making friends, but I have found that a good friendship sometimes takes time to mature. Yes, there are people we may instantly connect with but sometimes it’s more a seed that’s planted, needing time and the right conditions to grow.