I’m an Adult and I Have No Idea How to Make Friends

I have no friends.

Okay, that’s not entirely true. That’s actually a hugely hyperbolic statement. Who do I think I am? I do have friends. They are some of the greatest people to exist on this planet. I worship the ground they walk upon and the air that carries the vibrating energy of our group chat messages. My friends are the best.

It’s just that my friends don’t live in my city. They don’t live in my country. They don’t even live on the same continent as me.

So, disregarding the people I have only been able to virtually communicate with for the past year and a half, I have no friends.

And that’s a weird, uncomfortable feeling. For a lot of folks, you go through your first 21 years with a warm and fuzzy cushion of friends. You have your childhood friends and your high school friends and then maybe you have your college friends. You meet them in your neighborhood because your mothers arranged a playdate, or they sit next to you in first period band rehearsal, or you partner with them in some morning TA session and discover you both hate the same people. These are your friends, and they sort of just happen, and it takes very little effort on anyone’s part, because the paths of your lives magically create opportunities for friendships to ferment and brew.

And then you’re thrust into the rest of your life, the one that exists outside of academia and is for all intents and purposes “real,” and suddenly you don’t know how to make friends. You know how to make dates. Because really, you have the best friends in the world that any gal could possibly want. You’re not really looking to fill a gap in the friendship circle. You’re looking to fill other well-known gaps, right? You’ve got apps for hookups and sexy meetups and specific weird little kinks. It takes 17 muscles — which is nothing in the context of muscle movement — to tap twice on a screen, and those two taps are all it takes to gain yourself a sexual partner for the evening, or the rest of the year. But does that app find you a friend? No, not really, not unless it has benefits.

This is knowledge that has terrified me to my very bones. I know how to find a partner. It’s stupid easy to do, and it takes very little effort on my part besides downloading something on my phone or making a profile on my computer. But I have no idea how to make friends. None. I don’t even know how I made all my friends the first time. It’s not like I was following social cues or particular rituals. I didn’t find them on an app because they were 0.5 km away from my current location. I wasn’t thinking about the best way to have a meet-cute, or practicing my brooding looks so we’d lock eyes across a room and never let go. They just… happened. And now that I’m in a city with no friends and no leads and no classrooms full of shared experiences, I have no idea how to replicate those experiences.

“Okay, well, just go out. Meet people in pubs or something.”

But people who are drinking aren’t usually trying to make friends. Most of them would rather get laid. And if they’re there to ‘make friends,’ it’s kind of weird. Even in a country of friendly pubgoers, there’s a fine, fine line, and it’s usually been crossed by 10 PM. Plus, alcohol doesn’t make me feel more comfortable or friendly, it just makes me want to sing Bruce Springsteen and think about how much I miss all of my friends.

“Join a club.”

What kind of club? The magical more time club? Dude, I am working. I am working all the time. I am Bette times thirty thousand this month, I have time for nothing and I am fucking in an elevator or something, it’s hot in here. I am so busy that I can’t even remember what my outside interests are, or whether or not they would have an associated club.

“Do a sport.”

I cannot do a sport. I am bad at the sport.

“Just talk to people. It’ll naturally happen.”

I am impatient. And lonely. And sometimes I realize that saying thank you to the bus driver was the extent of my non-work social engagement for the day, and I feel really bad about it.

I am in a wonderful relationship. Being with that person is super awesome — there is no denying that we love doing things together and I never get sick of her, like, ever. But I’m an adult person, and sometimes an adult person wants to do a social activity with a friend. Or maybe that adult person wants a group of friends to just hang, or take a walk, or go to the pub and be silly. It feel so, so sad and kind of pathetic when I type it out, but it’s true. I don’t know how to make friends, and yet something inside of me desperately needs to make friends. It makes sense, but I still feel this weird little shame about it, like I’m not adulting right. Other adults must have lots of friends, right? And other adults must be able to just live independently and do cool stuff by themselves, right? I know it’s bullshit, but the crazy thing about life is that the bullshit sometimes feels exactly like the realest thing that’s ever been real, and it sticks to you quicker than mud.

So, I have a proposal: I’m going to try to make friends. I’m going to do it for me, and for the rest of us adults who are adulting in places without friends, in new jobs and new lives and totally befuddling social situations. But I’m going to do it with apps and technology, so that the process is replicable for the rest of you. I’ll record my experiences and rate my success at each stage. You’ll see me try four different methods, and you’ll figure out if that method might work for you, too. More than likely, this will be humiliating for me on multiple levels. It will no doubt get awkward. But this will be very entertaining for y’all, so I do what I must.

Here’s to meeting people, making friends, and successful adulting! And not spilling something on the other person when we interact. Prepare for spillage on this journey.

Full-time writer, part-time lover, freelancing in fancy cheese and cider.

Kate has written 131 articles for us.

170 Comments

  1. The time bit is really the killer. I highly recommend getting out of that trap where you work all the time. It leads to bad places. I think most of people’s 20s are lost to that for no real reason.

    I recently joined a roller derby league as a non-skating official. Many leagues are desperate for folks to do things like track penalties and help keep score. I’m making tons of friends (many of whom are athletic and gay!) and limited physical ability is required. You have to do you, of course, but stuff is out there, but you do have to actually do it.

    Best of luck, this is one of the legitimately hard problems of adulting!

    • ROLLER DERBY! I totally second this suggestion! I play derby, but leagues are ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS looking for volunteers, so even if you’re not athletic at all, there is something you can do. Good with design? Design bout posters! Good with electronics/tech? Volunteer to set up the sound system or scoreboard for a bout! Whatever you do, there is a place for it in roller derby, I promise.

      I joined derby 2 years ago, in large part because I thought I could meet people to date that way? I was dumb. Instead, I met people to be friends with, and they are awesome. (And yes, through derby I also did meet a few people who I have dated). Now that most of my school friends have moved away, my derby friends have become the vast majority of my adult friends.

      Fair warning though, derby is addictive 🙂

    • Haha I totally came on here to say that I found myself in a similar lacking-friends-and-clueless-about-making-them position a couple of years ago and have since remedied that by becoming a non-skating derby official (Which, hello OP Kate I’m with Dublin Roller Derby we have lots of queers you should totally come hang with us! Technically this falls in with your quest to make friends through the interwebs since that’s the medium by which we’re currently communicating)

    • I agree with Chloe. If you *do* make friends, somehow, how will you nurture the friendship without time? This is something I’ve learned over the past decade. I work. I’ve got kids. My kids are nearing their teens but for the past decade I’ve had close to zero free time, and the impact on my friendship circle has been catastrophic. For a long while the only adults I hung out with were at kids’ playdates, but now I’m starting to have hobbies. And while its not a social life, its perhaps the glimmering of one.

      Time is crucial for friendship; I realised a while ago that the few friends that have stuck around I get to see once every six months if I’m lucky. That’s no way to nurture a friendship. So work on the “no time” bit, expand activities beyond work. See how it goes. And while you’re figuring out the friends via app thing, perhaps you’ll invent an app for becoming more social (i.e. finding those clubs or events etc) along the way.

  2. This is so so so relevant to my life right now ! I’ve just had this conversation with my mom (she’s the one saying “join a club ! go to the pub! do a sport!”) and I usually end up in tears like “how the fuck do you make friends???”. Last time I was “friendless” in a city it took me 3 years to make 2 or 3 solid friends I genuinely liked.

    So I’m in a new city now for the past 3 months, here for 2 years and I don’t wanna be friendless for those 2 years.

    Here’s what I’m gonna try : meetup.com, and never saying no when somebody says to come join them somewhere.

    I’m excited to see what you have to say in your columns ! Let’s do this together 🙂

    • OMG, this makes me extremely sad. I moved to a new city 6 months ago and I am still friendless. I really hope that it doesn’t take 2 years. 🙁 Though I have started to get over my fear of being judged for doing stuff by my self. 6 months ago I wouldn’t be caught dead going out for dinner by my self let alone vacation by my self.

    • I am in this exact situation. I almost made one friend after 2 years… and then she moved to the opposite side of the country.

      I’ve honestly just decided to up and move to a new city where my interests align more with the general public (or at least my conceived notion of such). Meetup.com can be pretty cool, but I’ve been to 2 meetups this past week that were total bombs.

      It’s discouraging, but I keep telling myself “it’s not your fault, you’re a likable person, you’re just in the wrong place at the wrong time.” And then I come across posts like this and don’t feel so completely alone anymore.

  3. I feel like I could have written this myself word for word! I’m an American living in London and it’s tough. My friends are all in other countries and life goes on. I just haven’t met many people I really connect with, and I too am terrible at sports and joining clubs, etc. I did have a circle of acquaintances through my ex husband but since ending that relationship and starting a new one with my girlfriend, my first, I feel even further removed from family and friends back home. London is a big city and surely there are some friends out there for me! I look forward to hearing more about your experiences seeking out friends, thank you!

    • I’m also lonely in London. I have a wonderful bf but relying o one other person for all my social interactions just isn’t cutting it. I work full time with only one other person and I’m doing my MSc part time by distance learning so I really don’t have opportunities oto meet other people. I am also busy because of these things and don’t seem to have the time to put in the excruciating effort it take sto make friends in this city. I have had so many “we must hang out!” interactions but they never turn into actually doing something. So frustrating. So hello – you aren’t the only one out there! 🙂

  4. Oh hello something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately! I moved to this new state a year ago and recently had to stop being friends with the one friend I had made because I’m sick of her homophobic comments and generally negative attitude. But the thing is I do have friends, they just live an hour away. So I get to see them a couple of times a month usually, so should I just stick with that? Or try and befriend new people here?

    I’m hopefully getting a part time job, which I for some reason hope will help me meet people. Cause I did a sport last year and made 0 non-acquaintance friends. The tough thing for me is that my interests tend to diverge from what most people seem to enjoy doing around here.

  5. I relate to this. I have some wonderful friends, but virtually all of them are in England and I am based in Spain now. I haven’t found it easy to make friends where I am living – partly because people there tend to have the same group of friends from childhood forever and it’s hard to be an outsider, partly because of the limitations of my Spanish, partly because I work in an industry where people tend to stay a year or two and then move on. And I’ve tried things like Meetup, but that doesn’t seem to have taken off on the continent yet and the things tend to take place during my work hours…

    I am keen to learn more about the art of Adult Friend-Making!

    • I too am living in Spain at the moment and am finding socialising in another language fairly hellish. Like I cannot make jokes in a normal way and probably seem very preoccupied in all conversations at all times….a recipe for popularity haha

      • Yes, jokes are one of the big problems! There’s also the frustrating issue of usually being able to get my intended meaning across (with a little creative improvisation), but not in a very articulate or intelligent-sounding way. And if I’m trying to participate in a multiple-person conversation, the topic has changed completely by the time I’ve formulated my contribution to the previous topic. *headdesk*

        • Oh man yes, group conversations sometimes end in me thanking people for living though my lengthy explanations/charades. Mostly I go with laughing and nodding and hope for the best, which is okay (though possibly high-risk) but obvs that makes it hard to actually get to know people, and is also not always that appealing!

    • I made some really incredible friends while living in Madrid using CouchSurfing. There was always a weekly meeting happening at El Museo de Jamon or Templo de Debod with travellers from around the world. Some just passing by, but others having just moved to the city and looking to make new friends. My new friends and I started creating weekly language exchanges and our small group grew to a group of 20 or so people who all still keep in touch from around the world. If you haven’t yet, do try it. =)

    • Fellow English person in Spain, struggling to form my own friendship group too! My girlfriend’s Spanish and also older than me so when we meet her friends (de toda la vida) not only do I feel a bit out of it due to the language barrier, but I don’t have anything in common with them (although I don’t notice the age gap with my gf). So yeah, any time you’re in the Alicante region! 🙂

  6. Eugh yeah this rings true on too many levels. It does feel horribly pathetic/childish to admit you want more friends, so I’m super relieved to see another adult queer expressing this. Definitely keen to see how you get on and replicate your best friendship manoeuvres though.

  7. Kate if you weren’t on the Island next door and, I didn’t also work every minute of every day, I’d say lets hang and drink coffee and talk about whatever. Friendship to the max! I don’t want to leave the town I’m in because I never have time to see the friends I have here due to aforementioned work, and I fear I would never make any somewhere else due to any job I would get featuring similar commitment. But that limits my career path somewhat. Ugh. Being a grown up is hard. Good luck finding each other all you future friends out there.

  8. Thank you for this! I’ve been in a new city for going on three years now (huh, guess it’s not “new” anymore), plus I’ve been drifting away from friends back home for quite some time. I have no idea how to make new friends. When I was a kid I would just, you know, go walk by some kids playing in the yard next door a few times until they noticed me. You can’t really go hover around people as an adult. It’s frowned upon.

  9. Yes to this. For me I find an added complication is my friend making style – all the serious friendships I’ve had ignited pretty much instantly on meeting that person, so I’ve developed a fatalistic attitude and don’t feel able to deliberately cultivate friendships if I’ve known someone over a week without instant friend chemistry. Does anyone else get that?

    • Yes completely! It’s usually people with shared interests that I am passionate about…I’m working on coming to terms with this right now…and I suspect that I just need to do more of what I am passionate about again to get those same results.

    • This definitely applies to me. This is complicated by the fact that,for me, the people this has happened with I met in school. So now as an adult I have 3 friends, one of which does not live near me, and no time or ability to make new “adult” friends. Instead, I find myself with tons of acquaintances.

  10. I have been there,not so long ago! I’m not sure if this is along the lines of “join a club” or “play a sport”, but I started by making friends at work. I would make lunch dates or ask co-workers to help me network with other people in the field. That way if they don’t become friends, they at least become business acquaintances and you automatically have something in common. I do a lot of contract work so I don’t necessarily have coworkers, but I still find people to connect with this way.

    I am always honest in saying that I’m looking to meet more friends which often leads to getting invited to bbqs and the like. I’ve also found I had to say “yes” to anything and everything, even when I was tired or cranky or felt like I didn’t have time.

    Best of luck, and I hope you find some people to go for a walk to grab a coffee with or whatever else your little heart desires.

  11. I have been thinking about this exact thing SO MUCH lately because it is incredibly relevant to my life. I think what happens is when we’re younger, making friends is a thing you’re doing in your life. Like, part of being young is making connections and friends and finding people to tell your darkest secrets to and have sleepovers with and hang out with at lunchtime or recess or whatever. That’s just what you’re expected to do when you’re young. But as adults it’s like we’re expected to have that part of our life just be over. That’s it, you’ve had your time to make friends, and now as an adult you’re supposed to still have those friends and that’s it.

    It’s especially difficult for me, as I’m incredibly introverted and also a bit of a social nomad where I can make friendly acquaintances with people I’m with at the time (work, classes, etc.) but I don’t know how to follow up with that and try to actually keep those friendships going, so they usually just end and then I have to start all over again with whatever next thing I have going. It’s so hard because I used to be so good at making friends, and I had so many friends that were almost like long term partners without the romantic stuff because we were so close, and like, that was just a natural thing for me to do.

    It’s also been difficult ever since I realized I was gay as a teenager because now, even though I almost exclusively relate and connect with women platonically, I’m always thinking to myself “oh man I don’t want to have to come out to this person and make it weird” because hetero women are weird like that, you never really know how they’ll react. So I’ve noticed that I haven’t gotten close to anyone really in the years since I’ve figured it out.

    It’s definitely hard for those of us that don’t have the best friends from high school/middle school/kindergarten/etc. because we’re just expected to have those people, and everyone I’ve felt sort of close to already has those people and are clearly not looking to make another best friend in their mid/late twenties.

    I’m really looking forward to your findings!

  12. This speaks to me on such an intense level that I am actually crying at work because I am in the exact same position and I constantly feel like I am the only person in the world without friends and who is lonely and in want of friends.

    I am really looking forward to seeing how this goes and maybe seeing if I can replicate it in some successful way.

  13. i don’t sport either, kate
    no sporting for me
    not one sport!
    no derby for me, no softball for me, no ultimate frisbee for me, no tertiary frisbee for me

    i wonder what i could do with my life if i took all the energy i’ve put into complaining and feeling sad that all my friends live so far away into making new friends

  14. I relate to this post, and so many people in the comments, so much. I’ve often lamented how hard it is to make friends without built-in social networks. I have friendly acquaintances at work, but that’s it, and in general that’s how I want to keep my work relationships. But I have finally, in the last six months or so, made a few more tentative friends and a lot more acquaintances, and in all honestly I mostly have medication to thank for that. Sometimes social anxiety just can’t be worked through without help. But besides that, the main thing I changed is that I quit letting lack of time be an excuse. I’m not saying it is an “excuse” for anyone else; it is a perfectly valid reason to not do things. Maybe it’s more like I forced myself to prioritize making friends above some other things that I had previously made time for. I’ve started going to things like a local trivia night at a geeky coffee shop, and I want to explore volunteering opportunities in my city. It still feels like an uphill climb for me, but dammit I’m trying. I’m really curious how things like Meetup.com work for you, Kate.

  15. I definitely relate to all of this, although strangely I’m hoping that moving to a new city will be part of the solution rather than the problem. I’ve got a graduate job for next year, and hope that being alongside about 30 other people in the same situation (new job, new place) can translate into at least one or two genuine friendships.

  16. wow I am feeling this 100%. I’m very bad at cultivating the friendships I want and inexplicably boss at accidentally acquiring casual acquaintances who I don’t actually like.Realted fun fact, the other day I googled “do I spend too much time alone” and it turns out the Internet doesn’t actually know everything because google could not answer that question for me and I remain adrift

    • I have googled “how to make friends when you’re 30” and come up with just about nothing. It’s very disheartening to learn that not everything can be answered by the internet.

      • i feel like straight people who are 30 are married to each other and have kids and then the kids go to school and THEN THEY GET TO MAKE MOM FRIENDS. like school starts all over again and becomes a social network again. but i do feel like often gay moms and moms who are younger than the other moms have said they have a harder time making mom friends. so even that’s hard.

        anyhow my theory is really that i think that this space we are existing in is a space that wasn’t part of typical life stages until like 50 years ago. then you add the internet to that so so many people aren’t leaving home in order to work. and you make everybody really portable, right? when it’s so easy to keep in touch with people, it feels easier to move away from them than it did when i was younger and when someone moved away you had to like write them letters and it was such a big deal. (I mean yes, also I was younger, but it was like that for my parents and their friends too. They seemed better at making plans to see each other frequently, though, since that constant connection was so absent from their everyday lives.)

        I think we are living in a strange times.

        • Yes!! You are speaking my language right now Riese. I recently took a step back from many social networks in order to figure out how they changed my friendships. And I was horrified to realize that the more I see a persons face on a news feed the less likely I am to actually talk to them because they “feel” so familiar yet I haven’t really connected with them in ages. I feel like you have to make an extra conscious effort to reach out to people to realize how much we neglect our friendships sometimes :/

        • You’re exactly right about mom friends! Even when you’re married, if you have no kids and no desire for them, that’s one more friend-making option you don’t have access to. Plus existing friends, or people who could be new friends, who have kids are busy being parents and doing parent things.

  17. Hi ! It’s been 5 years i’m without any friends. I’ve kept an acquaintance – from a past life with far more friends… – I can hang out with, one time every 2/3 months or so… otherwise no friend. I’ve tried everything mentionned in the coments ( join a club, sport, start a project, hang out alone, go at parties alone !… ) Nothing worked. I’ve come to think I’ve maybe reached a point in my own personal developpement where I don’t interest people anymore… I still don’t know why.. Because I’ve always got friends before. I was glad to read a post about this issue. Because it’s a big taboo and you feel you can’t talk about it with anybody. So I never talk about it… plus you don’t want to get people in an awkward position where they feel compelled to do something about it when actually they don’t want to. Good luck to you and find me new tips on how to make friends ! 😉

  18. oh man. I didn’t really have friends when I was a kid and like, now I do, only because I am an insufferable introvert when I want to be.

    If it makes you feel better, when I was going through a time of being like “I have no friends how do I friend” and I had no time but money I would call pretty much every single person in my phone (like excepting people who did not live in the same city, otherwise I would just keep scrolling down and leaving voicemails) but that was probably my most desperate.

    I’m a lot busier now though and I do a lot of engaging with folks over text or social media, though I have told eleven billionty people that I will be more fun post-wedding and after I shake up my life/job plans so I am working < 50 hrs a week. Like 45 maybe.

    But in terms of MAKING friends, like, as an adult people who like you will act like they like you and not mind scheduling two weeks out or skyping while you both eat dinner or whatever. I feel like, maybe if you get friendly with folks that are the hubs of social networks, like find the people that make the plans and then they will invite you to their plans. That is where I have met literally all my friends the last 4 years.

    I also feel like, possibly if there are people you feel an affinity with but maybe are not close to are a good place to begin, either because you like their shoes or identity stuff or talking to them feels easy? I feel like it is easy to tell when people are making an effort conversationally. But maybe you're not a big talker? In which case, activity partners/writing buddies/"want to have a study date"etc all big winners. I keep wishing my friends would want to have sustained silent reading dates. Alas they do not.

  19. I think this is a common problem most adults can relate to. I am starting to get a closer group of friends, but its a work in progress, so I feel ya. Good luck and great article!

  20. I have this problem.
    Exactly.
    I’ve joined clubs.
    And played sports.
    And gone to pubs.
    Turns out, I just don’t really like very many people.
    Books and video games and animals and whomever I happen to be getting naked with are pretty good for keeping me occupied.
    But, maybe I should try the friends thing, too.

  21. Once kid-school, parental-organized activities, and college/uni are no longer the main focus of our lives it is for real such a struggle to meet people and make friends. You legit can’t just go up to people at a coffee shop and ask to sit with them. You just CANT.

    The struggle is real, and we are here to commiserate.

  22. (OMG YAY KATE IS BACK!)

    I’m constantly thinking about Aziz Ansari’s so-true-it-hurts bit on the topic of friendship and technology: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_RbMv7HUiO4

    I’m also on a personal quest to build some friendships lately, having lost touch with pretty much all but one friend over the last two years (due to folks moving, my work and travel schedule, and beginning a new relationship). This isn’t the first time I’ve had to start from scratch, but I have to admit that things feel a little harder than before. For one, there just don’t seem to be enough hours in the day — by the time I’ve taken care of myself, my dog, my relationship, and my house, it’s usually time for bed and I don’t always work even forty hours a week! And then there’s the issue of motivation. As a serious introvert, most of my need for interpersonal connection gets fulfilled by a couple hours a day with my girlfriend. And I’m finding that I am much more picky these days about who I invest my time in… I’ve even faded away from some friends who I considered family until recently, because I was no longer feeling fulfilled by spending time with them. So, it’s been slow progress, but I’m trying to keep taking baby steps. I’m excited to follow along!

  23. When I saw the headline for this I thought, ” OMG…someone else has this issue?” haha I feel that same way. I’m super social but somehow don’t know how to do the friend thing anymore? If I think about it too much I know the potential friendships can smell the fear- kind of like dogs? And it gets awkward- & not in the cute charming awkward funny way. Idk. Looking forward to this series! Cause I need some friends too, yo! 😀

  24. I’ve been dealing with the same predicament. I’m 35, married, have a 1yr old, and I have less time than you think to friend. But it’s so important.

    I’ve had, like you success online, some of my closest friends live in Chicago, and I’ve never actually seen their faces in real life.

    My efforts for the last 3 months have been: going to church (Unitarian Universalist), calling friends I haven’t talked to in over a year, and making friends with “the lesbian couple who lives down the street”.

    Best of luck buddy friending is hard.

  25. On one hand, I feel this because I’ve always been really bad at making friends since my friend-making skills pretty much stopped when I was three at “want to be best friends?” because the person I asked that of is still my best friend.

    On the other hand, all I need to do to make friends is show up at a river, and maybe bring some PBR, and wait for someone to show up, especially if I’m trying to run the river and it’s not just a play wave.

    But at the same time, how you feel about friends is how I feel about getting a date. I have no idea how adults go about doing that. If I go to a local bar, chances are the only people are going to be 40-50something dudes. And forget using apps–it feels like I’m one of like 4 queers in a 50-mile radius/the entirety of the Adirondacks, like tinder frequently/mostly tells me that there’s no one in my area, unless I’m close to canada and then everyone I see/match with is Canadian and nothing against them but a prerequisite of a passport to get a date is rather high, especially since I don’t currently have one. And this is without my puzzlement on how to move from “meeting someone” to “going on a date with said person”. And all my friends either are in long-term relationships that started in high school (or a few in college) or are constant asked out by people they want to date and can give me no pointers.

    • try being friendless AND dateless. its like ; where do i start first ?

      if i get a girlfriend i can become friends with her friends ( ehh bad idea)

      if i get friends maybe they’ll introduce me to someone (what are the chances?)

      anyway, weekends are lonely and just waiting for the workweek to start back again.going to the pub alone just feels WEIRD

  26. Also here to commiserate. I’ve been in my city for 3.5 year now and I’ve only made a couple of good, yet too-infrequently hung out with friends. I’m really hoping this changes. I also do not sport. And I enjoy drinking less than I used to. We shall see!

  27. I just read all the comments to see if someone was like “I LIVE IN OHIO AND I NEED FRIENDS” and then I could offer to be their friend, but no one did. So if anyone lives in northeast Ohio and needs friends, let me know.

    Seriously though, having friends as an adult is hard. I’m 27 and have a really solid group of people I’ve been friends with since freshman year of college, but it’s getting harder and harder to spend time together because they are all in serious relationships and it is tough to be the single person. No one wants to meet up last minute anymore. It was a very tough adjustment for me to go from seeing my friends nearly every day to once a week or so, and now once a month or so because their partners are taking priority. I’m happy for them, but it still sucks. The people at my work are fine, but it’s really tough to make friends with people so much older than me because they make jokes about how I’m just a kid or whatever and we don’t have a lot of common ground. I spend a lot of time talking about food/what’s for lunch/what’s on sale at the grocery store this week.

    Good luck on your adventure making new friends and let us know what you discover.

    • I just read all the comments looking for fellow Ohioans! I’m 27, in NE Ohio, and in need of new friends, but my irregular job schedule and my newly-developed social anxiety don’t help with that much.. #sigh

    • Aww, bummer. I’m 26, from NE Ohio, and have been here since graduating this summer…Unfortunately, in 1 week I’ll be moving 800 miles across the country to start a new job. A common theme I’ve found in NE Ohio is that every NE Ohio person I’ve tried to make adult friends with over the last few years us either new to NE Ohio or are natives who are preparing to move out of Ohio. Looks like I’m in the latter.

  28. MASSIVE COLUMN OF UNASKED FOR ADVICE, PLEASE DISREGARD IF UNWANTED:
    1.) You mention having no problem finding dates and/or partners- good for you! This puts you miles ahead of most of us, and can be parlayed into a huge advantage when it comes to making friends. While there’s more to life than being really, really, ridiculously good-looking, if that’s drawing people to you, that gives you a font of potential friends. I am unironically a HUGE fan of the ‘friendzone’- I have plenty of lovely friends who were people that I previously had crushes on, as well as friendships that came out of me turning people down. Just be kind and gentle, and don’t put up with folks who aren’t kind in return.
    2.) Volunteer if possible. This is hard, because the more awesome an organization is, the pickier they can be about volunteers. This can translate into having to undergo weeks of training and committing to a weekly schedule just to volunteer. It’s okay if you can’t swing that. Hunt down the lazier/more sporadic volunteer options- animal shelters, grocery co-ops, and community events tend to have more flexible requirements. I ESPECIALLY recommend non-profit theaters/performances- they always need house managers/ushers/ticket booth people, plus you usually get to see free shows for your trouble.
    3.) Do stuff you would have been doing anyway, but in a way that puts you in contact with people you might like. Or ask potential friends to join you. Frequent local businesses that are too small to have self-checkout lanes. *Don’t* go to the gym/laundromat/whatever at the hours you know it’s going to be empty. Going somewhere to grab lunch? Ask a co-worker to join you. Ask people over for dinner.
    4.) Ask for help. Both in the sense of letting your existing friends know that you need more friends, and in the general sense. Let people help you with things- people that like helping other people tend to be solid friend material. Let go of the idea of being an island of self-sufficiency.
    5.) Offer help in turn. To everybody you can. If you live somewhere that snows, shovel your older neighbor’s driveway. Or rake their leaves. Et cetera.
    6.) Remember that this is a hard thing that takes time and work for almost everybody. The tools required for making other kinds of valuable connections (finding a date, or a job) will serve you here. Put yourself out there, fight the fear of rejection, accept that there will be plenty of duds along the way, give yourself a break when you need to, and keep going. Good luck!
    MY QUALIFICATIONS: I have a stupidly large amount of friends, many of whom I made post-college. I’m someone who consistently gets “99% favoring introversion” on the Meyers-Briggs.

  29. I’d feel this, but yesterday someone introduced their self to me, put their hand out to shake even, after I helped them with which building the thing they were looking for was at and I just looked at them like WTF are you even doing and responded with,”Okay” in my flatest tone of voice before I could even realise what I just did to perfectly polite human they were backing away shocked and possibly startled at the sudden 180.

    So when ever you adults are out adulting and trying to make friends in stages of life were it is difficult take comfort you know how to human competently at least?

    • Humaning can be learned. I have a friend who is the type who will introduce himself like that to nearly anyone he’s talked to for 30 seconds, and the first few times I saw him do it I was like, “That’s a thing you can do?” I’ve started practicing it, and though I haven’t made any friends from it so far, at least I feel more like part of the world around me. Which is personally beneficial for me.

      • I know it is thing people can do (the introducing thing and the learning to human thing) but it activated some sort of protect-self-friendliness-is-a-potential-threat programming in my brain and I went into some sort of default like fukken robot not an organic being.
        Was pleasant human-y then went killbot ice monarch-y and all that happened to cause this change was that the non-threatening or even creepy person introduced them self.

        I know why my brain would do this, but the fact it happened so fast and felt like I had no input in my response tells me human-ing competently is much further away than just trying to be friendly or mimic others.
        Or finding others my age looking for actual friends and not a sex buddy.

  30. THIS IS SO RELEVANT TO MY LIFE. Except I also have crippling social anxiety so that adds an extra layer of challenges, but I’m working through it. I’ve been trying to use OKCupid to make friends, I think it might be going okay? Anyway – I’m so excited for this series.

  31. I relate to this absolutely. It is really difficult to make friends when you are an adult and people around you are one as well, and they already have their friends and you feel like you wouldn’t fit in. And also, it’s worse when you feel so comfortable being alone, but you also you want friends? it is weird…
    By the way, I love that you are back writing, you are amazing!

  32. Here’s something I’ve learned from a life in the city with it’s own description for hard to make friends (the “Seattle Freeze”). Despite being an introvert, I have to do it. If I want friends, I have to make time. I have to initiate. I have to invite to coffee. And if they reschedule, invite again. I give it about 3-4 invites to various things before I sorta move on. And if there was a social invite that involved feeling comfortably on the outskirts (like within my comfort zone, but in someone else’s social circle…like wine tasting with my sister in-law’s friends), I took it. Three years after going to these events, some of the girls I felt like transitioned to really being my friends. But it takes time and being around each other, doing things.

    I’ve also heard the advice to network with friends. Do any of your friends have friends of friends that they could set you up with in the city you’re in? Or acquaintences? Or their cousin is studying architecture and would show you around?

    Then, I really like meetup.com for trying things. I went to this eclectic women’s spirituality group a few times and really enjoyed connecting. It sorta fell apart before I found any friends, but it was 1 time a month and nice to start to see familiar faces.

  33. This was me 6 years ago, and it’s me again now. Last time I moved, my strategy was to convince a friend from earlier in my life to move to my city and be my friend, and it turns out that once you have one friend making more gets a lot easier. But now I’ve just moved again. I wonder how it will go this time around.

  34. I’d think a lot of queers can relate to the no friends thing. I certainly can. For a long time it was kind of depressing, but I guess I’m one of those people who found that it’s actually fairly easy to be friendless. There’s so much in the world constantly bombarding people to never be seen alone. Don’t live alone. Don’t eat alone. Don’t go to the movies alone. Hell maybe you should consult a friend before buying that skirt? Maybe it’s part of our consumerist culture or something, I guess if two people are doing something you’re spending more money. Like you certainly don’t see ads about a woman out and enjoying time by herself. I dunno, it’s all draining though and the need to have a constant revolving door of friends isn’t something innately a part of me (though I guess it must be for some people).

    Anyhoo I’m aggressively solo these days and I find people make up all sorts of excuses as to why I can’t do things alone (usually involving the horrors of lonely womanhood). But I enjoy all my little adventures greatly, especially not having to worry about someone else’s timetable or their food allergies or whatever. And if I want to share something with someone, that’s what Facebook’s for. I think I’ve even inspried a few other ladies I knew from high school and what do you know, I have a couple of other ‘solo adventurers’ to share stories with on our very occasional meets.

  35. This made me cry a little. I’m am so in this right now. I moved to ca from the east coast 3 years ago and all I have is work friends. I love them, but you know…It’s not the same. Now I’m even more scared of meeting new people, or god forbid, finding a partner. Because how do I explain why we never hang out with my friends? Cause I don’t have any and I’m a total weirdo red flag red flag!!

  36. This is so tough. I’m one of those introverts where people always tell me six months later or whatever that they thought I hated them. No! I just take a while to warm up! It’s awkward for everyone.

    I genuinely like spending a lot of time alone, & then suddenly I realize that no one but me has been in my apartment for six months. But this needs to stop. I couldn’t even read any of the gal pal posts last week because I don’t have that – my best friend is straight & lives in another country now. And I’ve been hurt badly by friends in recent years. There should be social rituals for getting dumped by friends. That’s another story, but it’s part of why it’s hard. I am not Lloyd Dobler in this moment. I would prefer to not get hurt. So I keep most people on the acquaintance level.

  37. I feel this so hard, moving around gives me like, friends-of-convenience where a lot of the time they’re not people I particularly like but if I want to go to a movie or party with someone I can call them. So ready to take the friendship challenge.

  38. I have a feeling we don’t live in the same city or probably even region because your photo gives me northwest coast vibes. Just in case though, I live in Chicago and I think you would be a cool person to be friends with. I am a rather awkward person too, but I am lucky enough to have run across people in HS who decided, seemingly independently of me, that they would be my friends and stuck by me even when I expected them not to.
    (If anybody reading this happens to live in Chicago & is looking for friends feel free to reply to this comment.)

  39. I have recently moved from my home in Europe to jakarta in Indonesia. I didn’t know a single person here when I relocated. I can’t say I’ve found it that hard to make friends… All you need is 1 and they open up a whole portal of opportunities. I found the meetup app particularly helpful (like a dating site for friendships).

  40. Ok weird and not fully formed idea… Universities have those make-friends-with-your-course-mates things for new students to meet online before they start uni. Autostraddle could have a meet-people-who-just-want-to-be-friends-in-the-area-you-just-moved-to thing… I know you have straddler meet ups already but this would be more informal and yet kind of formal enough to have a form ya’know. Maybe Facebook or not… It could even just be an open thread…maybe…

    *runs away from weird un-formed idea because of the awkward which is another reason I fear having to make friends*

  41. Ugh, I totally have the opposite problem. I’m good on the friends–I’m in the acting industry, and every time I go to an event, I leave with ten new phone numbers. I do, however, miss having friends outside the industry. Like, I love my friends, but sometimes I just want to do non-industry activities and talk about books/food/the perils of dating/etc. Also, I am supremely jealous of how easy it is for so many of you to find partners at the snap of a finger…I live in a super queer city, but it’s hard to find an adult who, y’know, wants to big kid date.

  42. Hey Kate, lovely article (as always) – thank you!

    Have you by any chance seen a site called Wusoup? (www.wusoup.com). The video’s a little on the goofy side, but the concept actually seems pretty solid to me.

    It’s basically like a dating site, minus the dating part. There’s sort of a friendly, open vibe – and from what I can tell (?) seems to legitimately be people just… looking for friends or to chat.

    Had tried OkCupid before but felt weird about it, and still had too many people trying to hit on me.

    Anyway only found out about it a couple days ago, so still feeling it out – but looks promising to me! Might be worth taking a look? Biggest problem at the moment is just there’s not a lot of people on there; think the site’s still new.

    Would be curious to hear what you think!

  43. OMG! This is me! I feel like such a loser sometimes. I invite people to do things all the time, but no one reciprocates. Or I go out by myself a lot, and I mean a lot, and I see people I know out, and still they never think of inviting me to do anything ever, ever. I keep wondering if I’m broke and I can’t see it. If I could see it, then maybe I could fix it.

    • Oh honey, this post makes me so sad. People aren’t specifically excluding you and there’s nothing wrong with you. Most people can’t empathise or put themselves in someone else’s shoes when it comes to friendship relationships. All I can suggest is try to find friends that are more worthy of your time because nine times out of ten those other friends won’t change and will continue to disappoint. Good luck and I hope you find some good friends soon 🙂 in the meantime feel free to email me, leandra.williams@intimo.com.au
      Leandra ?

  44. Philadelphia area people, hi! I literally have this conversation with my partner once a week. I have a great relationship but sometimes I do want to just chill with a friend or two. My partner is great at making friends but all of them are straight and as much as I think they are wonderful people I’d loooove to be around someone I have more things in common with and also don’t have to hear all the stories about their husbands and bfs…I can’t relate so I don’t have much to contribute to those convos. I’m 28, live in the Philly area and love exploring the city. I’m up for awkward first hangouts and moments of weird silence…I can deal with that to make a friend!

  45. So relevant to my life! My heart goes out to all of you lonely souls. Can we start a magical rainbow friendship club where we all get together and give hugs and draw with crayons or something?

    I had this great set up with a great job and a lot of good friends. Then my friends all picked up and moved on with their lives. Multiple instances of sexual harassment and discrimination have alienated me from my cowokers and my job. I bad at cultivating friendships with people who have friend potential, I kind of drift away because my low self-esteem says they aren’t interested in getting to know me. I also have INTENSE social anxiety that often prevents me from going to meet-ups alone. I end up sitting on my couch a lot, thinking that it’s better not to even try. I try to draw support from those people who I still love but who are very far away. They are good friends, I can’t complain. I am in therapy, too, so hopefully I can get myself back to a place where I’m not so scared of opening myself up to strangers and forging new friendships.

    • Bunny, you sound really awesome and genuine and hope you find some good friends soon:) if you don’t mind me asking where are you? I live in Canberra Australia.
      Leandra ??

  46. Hey! I read your dysphoria post, and then was super thrilled to find you’d written this one as well! I’m in DC, and I dunno where you are, but I’d love to talk if you’re looking for more online friends while you’re doing the whole irl friends thing. Accountability buddies?

  47. Agree. Retrospectively, making friends in childhood was a piece of cake. Adults with unaddressed pathologies ruin true friendship. I’m talking about people who don’t develop personally and are toxic. Maybe they gossip out of being insecure, maybe they don’t say what they mean or mean what they say. Maybe they cling to cliques and keep people to the outside. Bottom line, a share of the population is not going to make for true friendship.
    It’s a numbers game. That’s why it’s smart to have a plan. Join, join, join! Intuit and identify red flags just like in dating. Get out early if the red flags appear. Saves time. Keep looking for that true friend who leads to other true friends, even if it means no friends at certain times and in certain geographies.
    Personally I like to be best friends to myself, and enjoy ME. I like to bring my best self to wherever I am and let the chips fall. Sometimes that means bad ass, and sometimes things click like magic.

  48. I kind of have the same problem. I have 1 friend. I see him every 2/3 months or so, which is not very often.. I am a member of a sports club so 3 times a week I have those social contacts but those woman aren’t real friends though. Accept for our sport we have nothing in common..
    I guess my problem is that I’m just not a very social person. I think it’s scary to talk to new people. I do realize this is a major problem, and I’m trying to change myself but it’s quite hard.

  49. I VERY much felt like this earlier on. Here’s some things that worked for me, if it helps anyone!

    Finding something that piques your interest and going for it means that you will be in company of others who are trying something new/they love, and makes it a natural place to connect. Libraries are great for posters with free things going on. If you don’t meet anyone you click with, at least you’ll be doing something interesting!

    Broadening your idea of who might be friendship material – I feel that society has become very divided in terms of age especially, but in other ways too. If we don’t make assumptions about others, they may be less likely to make then about us. I’ve had really interesting friendships which have helped me grow with people who are very different from me. Hopefully it’s been good for them too!

    Many people are afraid/feel it’s socially unacceptable to just start talking to people. But many people will react positively if you do! Even just saying “Good morning” or whatever opens up the channel for conversation. Taking transit and walking, if you do either of those, are great for this.

    Compliments are awesome for starting conversations. Like something about someone you see? “That’s an amazing tattoo/ a beautiful hair-colour/ such a great book” is a wonderful way to begin talking to someone. And if they’re not interested in a conversation right then/too busy, you probably still made their day, and the world a little better.

    How about creative collaborations – put up questions or a partial drawing on a lamp post/coffeeshop board/ chalk board propped up by the bench you’re sitting at. Have something for people to write/draw with. See what happens! Ideas – “Who would you like to be for a day? What should be free? What’s your favorite place?”

    ANYTHING creative seems to create an energy that’s conducive for friendships. Loneliness makes us afraid – fear makes us lonely. By channeling energy outwards it helps to draw people to us. I definitely second the volunteering ideas people have mentioned above, as well as anything where you are working with others towards something. Plus, achieving something (happier cats/ a play/ political awareness/ etc) helps you to feel happier and more confident, which always draws people to you.

    Also do not be afraid to be yourself! It’s the only way to make genuine friendships. Just remember to allow others to be themselves too.

    You are all going to make amazing friends – there’s so much ahead of you! And you are going to be someone else’s wonderful new friendship too. So many people are going to be so happy you reached out <3.

    • Addendum – I realize that “being yourself” is dangerous and/or difficult for some of us according to circumstance. I’m sorry I did not include that above.

      In this regard I would imagine if anyone was able to write about making friendships whilst having to negotiate safety, that would be a wonderful post to have.

    • I feel like we would all benefit having you as a life coach, lol. Amazing comments, even if not easy to apply in practical ways when we are, as you mentioned, pretty much afraid of rejection.

      So yes, I feel like saving this and reading it everyday when I wake up is a good way to start :p

  50. For me it’s the complete other way around, I can never find a girl who doesn’t want to be friends with me. That’s all they want ‘I just want to be friends with you’ and never anything else and it makes me sad to my core and I’m wondering what the hell is wrong with me. But I love all my friends.

  51. Um, my method is probably not applicable to everyone.
    I’m a geek, so I attend events that engender discussion between complete strangers based on interest in/appreciation of X media. (That is, I go to conventions with an eye on the discussion-based panels, or to music festivals where you stay in line or hang out in the same area for hours before the event even happens.)
    So it’s a pretty low talking barrier. My current main friend group came out of being a bunch of music fans that frequent the same forum, and finally met up in person for an event, and then we decided to do other stuff together, too.

    The other case, and the type of friend where we could casually go out to eat on a whim, was, well, a person I met at an Autostraddle meet-up.

    But I’m also fine with meeting my friends only once every other month or less, so yeah. Aforementioned fellow fan friends, I actually stopped talking to online, once they became meatspace friends. Part of that was due to changing fandoms, but yeah. And I also have the luxury of keeping weekends free to do these things, which is not an option for lots of people.

    (The last approach is rather exclusive: I play an instrument, and the local musician community does monthly jams, which also led to volunteering for some gigs on request. Lots of this was purely fortuitous, due to the community having set up those unique opportunities, and me having the free time to attend them.)

  52. I’ve been in this exact situation countless times. I moved around a lot in my 20s, and in each new place I found it painfully difficult to make friends. I always managed to make at least one new friend eventually, but every time I moved again I had no idea how I’d done it before. It just sort of happened. So when I finally moved back home, most of my old friends had moved away (or maybe we had moved apart) and I needed to figure out how to make new friends. It took me a while, but I pretty much just went by trial and error (lots of error) and have finally found myself a group of friends which I’m comfortable with.
    I applaud your effort, and hope that by writing about your quest you might inspire someone in a similar situation to do the same. Go you!

  53. Ugh 100% me. Moved to the US to be with my partner 8 months ago and got no idea how to go about making friends. Not helped by the fact that I can’t drive and there’s no sidewalk or buses or any public transport where I am – although we are trying to move to the Triangle area, with its bounty of buses.

    And like, I make it twice as hard on myself cos as a visibly trans queer person, I’m wary of befriending cis het folk. There’s always that (big) chance that it’s gonna backfire. But bugger me if I can find any other queers here.

  54. I thank my lucky stars I made work friends that turned out to be some of the best people I’ve met in all my 35 years, because if a cross-country move taught me anything, it’s that making new friends can be the worst!

  55. I am so excited for this! I have had health issues that completely ruled my life for several years, and this meant losing touch with all the friends I once had. Now I am an awkward friendless adult and it sucks! I am far more interested in making friends again than I am in dating. I am still not really in a place where I can go about doing this, but I will be filing away the results of this experiment for future reference. Good luck!

  56. This actually makes me feel way better!

    I’ve lived in as rural Uk southwest town for about two years now and still don’t actually know anyone outside of work which really kind of sucks sometimes. All I want is someone with whom to watch a (bizarrely compelling) tv show about competitive hairdressing!

  57. I didn’t move cities, but I broke up with someone very popular in the local queer scene and found myself excommunicated for the best part of a year.

    I made new friends through a local herb study group, and through starting to put on local and touring DIY bands, and through that I made friends with the other people I was organising with, and also met someone who played in one of the bands we put on, who asked if I wanted to start a band with them – which we have!

    I guess I had the advantage of already having old friends in that city outside the queer clique, but I still made new friends outside of those networks.

    I’ve also made a few local friends through twitter, but I do hang out on there a lot and have a lot of friends all over on there. In the past volunteering and getting involved in activism has been a good way to meet people I got on with too, some of whom turned into friends.

    It’s hard though, making friends as an adult. I’m in Leeds, UK if anyone wants to hang out 🙂

  58. We’ve all been silent for too long. Thanks for giving all us lonely, awkward ladies a voice! And for being brave enough to say it out loud. I am truly looking forward to your follow up posts!

  59. Y’all don’t even know how relieving it is to see not only this article (which I feel to my bones) but all the comments with folks being like, “Yeah me too.”

  60. IM SO GLAD THIS IS BEING WRITTEN
    AND IM SO GLAD YOU ARE WRITING IT!

    In June I moved back home. Like my parents house. Like the place I swore I would not come back to because Long Island is a cultural wasteland. And it is depressing to see how many people from my high school are also hanging around their parents houses.

    Currently I’m talking to other queers on OKC who are in the same sad predicament I’m in. I’ve met one cool chick from OKC who lives all the way in the Bronx, which might as well be another state. I just want to go to a farmers market and reminisce about college.

  61. I totally feel this! And I’m so glad we are talking about it. I moved to San Francisco about a year ago where there are approximately a million queer women for me to be friends with, but they all seem to know each other already and I don’t know how to weasel my way in to the cool kids club.

    PS Kate I’m glad you’re back!

  62. I was so glad to see your name next to an article!

    And I totally get you. If you ever figure out the making friends as an adult thing please let us all know, because I have no clue at all how to do it

  63. I had various mental health issues that put me out of the friend-making game for a few years, and meant the friends I did have dropped off the radar, so now I’m yet another awkwardly friendless adult who’d really love some new pals!

    On the plus-side I recently moved out of my hometown and am psyched up for a fresh start… it’s just knowing how to go about it that’s the problem, haha.
    I’ll be looking forward to seeing what you come up with, Kate! Best of luck!

  64. To Kate and I guess everyone who’s replied to this moving declaration and intriguing experiment, I want to say how deeply moved I am by your and others stories and want to let you all know that you are definitely not alone. I have struggled with making friends at different periods of my life and understand just how difficult it is. If I could make one suggestion for all, it would be this, never give up and be true to yourself, take a chance on a stranger because you never know where and when you’ll make a friend. I’m Not sure where any of you live, but I love to meet new people and cherish the opportunity to make a friend if anyone is interested in a chat email me 🙂 leandra.williams@intimo.com.au

  65. It does feel embarrassing to have no friends or to admit you want friends. I haven’t had any geographically+emotionally close friends for about 5 years now. I have always been introverted and anxious, even as a child. I don’t really feel silly going out and doing most things on my own anymore but there are some things you just want to do for the closeness of having shared them with another human. I would definitely feel silly going like mini golfing alone.

    Being so awkward around people, it often feels like there are just very, very, few situations in which any human interaction will ever blossom into a friendship for me. I cannot social. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    Much luck in your journey. I look forward to following this series!

  66. I’ve definitely been struggling with this too. I moved to a new city 4 years ago and still haven’t made many friends outside of those I’ve met through work. Which are fine, but sometimes you don’t want to have to worry about if something you say/do will get around the office.

    Good luck! And I’m looking forward to what you learn!

  67. I feel so moved by the fact that this is a post with 137 comment, that is more than one hundred people feeling the same about friendship and the struggle of trying to make friends, and it is a way to prove that we are not alone, so from now on, if tomorrow or the day after that I start feeling sad or alone or like life is difficult, I’m gonna think about you -more that one hundred people- who had gone through the same, and I’m gonna keep going on and living the best way I can, because now I know I’m not alone. And guys, we can do it!
    Let’s do this 😀

  68. Meetup.com has been like an epiphany for me. Did it exist 10 years ago and I was just totally ignorant? There’s hiking, bars, avoidance of bars, other people who don’t want to go to shows or restaurants by themselves. Strings or no strings. Platonic or singles or poly groups. Free to join. Although if there’s nothing in your area, you could start your own group (not free, but not expensive either).
    Wholeheartedly recommend it, and hopefully I’m not just the second person to do so.

  69. I haven’t had precisely this issue– I have people to invite out for a drink, or to come to a birthday dinner, and a fair number of more acquaintance-type people such as you meet through clubsactivities and volunteering. I’m also perfectly happy to do many things alone (movies, but when did I last go see a movie?). However, I have spent time recently thinking about depth of friendship. I have had a more difficult time developing really close confidantes in my current location and more of a challenge staying in touch with those I had in earlier bits of life. And that’s one of the challenges of the “make friends with neighbors/coworkers/clubs” things: what really makes a friend? Is it another human who you talk to regularly and know a little about, someone who makes you laugh, or someone you would trust with complex problems?

    On another note, I’m finding that developing friendships in other age brackets has been helpful both in my 20s and 30s (women in their 50-60s and now those 5-10 years younger than me). They generally aren’t sucked into always* prioritizing the spouse in kid the way many of my friends in their 30s are. (*It may not be “always”, but there comes a point when you just yield til the kids are grown, especially if there are aging parents in the mix. Because not managing a few phone conversations a year means you aren’t on their list.)

  70. YES YES YES. Thank you. Can’t wait to learn with you.

    I have been having this exact conversation with all of my shiny sparkle people over the long-distance friend devices.

    ALSO, also being in partnership and happy in that, I have realized that up until now I have always FLIRTED my way into friendships with the attitude of like, “if it turns into something more, great!” and now that is no longer my attitude I am paralyzed in social situations…

    Where is the line between aggressively yelling, “DO YOU WANT TO BE MY FRIEND?!”
    and slowly creepily forcing people into friendship with me.

    Don’t know. Glad we’re all in it together.

  71. Hang in there, Kate. The comment threat is evidence that we have all — or mostly — been there, and it’s a bear. Friendship is an accident, and there’s no telling what circumstances are going to set you up for that accident. The hardest thing is not getting too discouraged during the window where it just isn’t happening. Sometimes you have to kiss a lot of frogs.

  72. I don’t have a problem finding new people to hang out with anytime (and I would still say that hobby based activities is the best for that) but I’m having a hard time making quality friendships; people I would feel comfortable asking for help in time of needs. that’s what sucks. it sure feels harder as an adult and when you don’t live where you grew up.

  73. omg making new friends especially just after relocating to a new city where you don’t know anybody is kind of my thing, aka everybody in my life refers to me as a “friendship witch.” today i wrote out some instructions for a friend who just relocated and didn’t know anybody, so maybe these will be useful to other ppl!!

    so here are my tips to making new friends in new places:

    the first thing you do is you ask your friends about their friends in that city. then you meet those friends, and they are now your friends. also: for about the first month you live there, it is ok to approach anyone at any event you go to and be like “hi i just moved here and i don’t have any friends, can we be friends???” in my experience this usually will get you to meet at least like two or three people and then you usually end up meeting their friends and getting a friend group.

    also okcupid is a good source for friends as well as dates!!

  74. This is such a real problem! So glad AS is talking about it – after school/university structure, or after moving cities, it gets so difficult to find pals as an actual adult. And its never really referenced – there are tons of comments from people relating here, but I’ve barely ever heard this discussed in real life. Also yay that Kate is back! Really looking forward to the followups on this.

  75. As someone who works all the time, as well – and someone whose closest friends and family are usually accessed online because they don’t live where I live, I can relate to your issue of not having the time.
    But you need to step back and ask yourself, if you don’t have time to try out clubs in an effort to fine potential friends, how or when will you ever have time to devote to developing friendships. Becoming very good friends with someone or several someones requires you to spend time on the relationship.

    The trick is to decide if making a friend is a priority for you and if it IS, treat it as if it is by allotting the time in your busy schedule to make it happen. It sounds as though it’s something you need so making it a priority is the same as making YOURSELF/your well-being a priority. If you can do that then when you DO find that awesome fun person who would make a great friend, you’ll already have a regular block of time to devote to getting to know and enjoy them.

  76. Find local music that you like. If you want to avoid bars, museums and parks frequently host free music events. Keep showing up at a particular band’s shows, and you will start meeting the other fans.

    Take non-credit classes at a nearby university or community college.

    Become a member at a nature facility or museum. You’ll get invited to members only events and you will meet some like-minded people.

    Be a regular volunteer someplace. Be consistent. Meet other volunteers and members of the general public. Pick something you love. Take your time selecting an organization or cause.

    Follow my website for good ideas you can do in your town: http://knoxzine.com

  77. Also, become a regular at a restaurant and sit at the bar. Don’t be overly concerned about drinking. There can be some excellent happy hour deals on food. I’d stop at place that was on my way home, and I made a few friends and lots of terrific aquaintences. Chips and salsa, soup, salad, good conversation. Go on the same day every week for awhile.

  78. Be proactive. That doesn’t mean talking randomly to every human:
    Meetup.com groups
    Facebook groups
    Work buddies
    Organise stuff, invite people to things, accept invitations if/when they come in.

    Easy-peasy

  79. I make most of my friends travelling, which has the downside of having most of my friends in foreign countries. I live in London and people tend to work here, like all the time. So unless you’re working with them, you’re not going to make friends. Big, metropolitan areas, paradoxically, are shit at making friends, despite the urban density.

  80. Oh Kate, you’re singing my tune! And the tune of the majority of people in my world.

    12 years ago, dissatisfied with the traditional ways to meet others (networking events, singles events, etc), I started hosting events I would actually want to go to. Turns out, other people wanted something other than a bar or a computer as a vehicle to relationships too, and now that’s what I do for a living! Give people a space to be themselves amongst others being themselves with no pressure or expectations and usually laughter, entertainment, and learning.

    Do you know Rachel Bertshe’s book “MWF Seeking BFF: My Yearlong Search for a New Best Friend”? http://amzn.to/1LwPRlm Sounds like your idea.

    Two things that’ve worked really well for me as far as making friends:
    1) GO SOLO. Though it may be scary to leave the security blanket of your significant other, best friend, roommate at home, it’s sooooo much easier to meet people when you force yourself to go to a party, event, activity by yourself. You just have to make sure you not only go but that you initiate. “Hi, my name’s Kate, I’m introducing myself to everyone…”

    2) CRAP YOUR PANTS WITH OTHER PEOPLE CRAPPING THEIR PANTS. When you do something scary, with other people who are also scared, the bonding that happens is immediate, intense, and lasting. This is why I created Fear Experiment℠, where you sign up to learn an art form that you’re not the best at (improv, storytelling, dance, a capella, or stepping), rehearse for three months with a group of strangers (you have to sign up solo), and then perform in front of 700. Same thought process for my creation of Life of Yes℠ Sleepaway Camps, basically adult summer-camp, where you go somewhere to do something with people you don’t know — talk about scary, right?!

    Thank you for being vulnerable and for being a voice. I’ve noticed that as soon as one person is courageous and shares something that’s not the easiest to share, others will raise their hands and say, “Me too!” And thus the foundation for community is created. Excited to see where your journey takes you.

  81. Hi, Kate,

    I teach people how to make friends (despite being crazy-busy), I realize you’ve heard the usual advice. Can we talk and see if this CAN be sorted out?

    If so, please head over to my website, there is a “contact us” link at the bottom.

    Cheers!
    – Paul

  82. I just graduated and all my friends are either where my university was or dispersed no where near me and I am feeling this lack of friends thing. it makes me feel better to know that I am not alone! still looking for my group of friends to go out and have fun with!

  83. I have trouble meeting someone romantically I’ve never been on a date or ever had a partner and I’m 26 and I’ve never had a gay friend just straight female friends it’s harder for some like me who are not hot and who have disabilities no one wants to be my boyfriend and I have only one friend who she has been my friend since high school I’m thinking this is just for lesbians since that’s all I see on here but I don’t know where to go I’m so lonely and depressed that just because I’m not good looking no man wants me and that I have disabilities no one wants to be friends with me I just want to know what it’s like to have more than one friend even tho I think she’s friends with me cuz she feels sorry for me cuz no one else would ever talk to me in life cuz they are embarrassed to be around me and I just want to know what it’s like to have a boyfriend and to feel love from another man please do you have any advice and if not it’s ok I’m used to people not wanting to deal with me I won’t blame you. Ps I live in the snohomish county Washington area just incase your advice includes location

  84. Hm on one level I just like being on my own which I know is selfish but…
    When it comes to friends I wonder how similar you have to be to your friends. I’m aspie & queer anyway and I keep picking up interests & I have opinions. Is this just part of being an individual or am I too weird for friends?
    Like last week. I met a couple of girls & we were giggling over boys but I was nervous to say ‘actually I’m trans masc and fancy women too’ in case they ran a mile. I always seem to have hobbies & interests others don’t and just being aspie/introverted/queer is bound to put someone off.
    I know the answer is prob gay bars but I don’t drink & bright lights really hurt my eyes. And then id be stuck w trying to find someone whose hobbies matched mine.
    So would anyone befriend someone who didn’t quite fit their clique? I started having these issues when I moved to ‘proper’ England at 15 and was bullied.

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