Gransnet forums


Friend envy

(98 Posts)
Willow500 Mon 30-May-16 06:56:15

I've been thinking about this a lot lately. I don't actually have any friends I could go out with for girlie meals or on holiday which makes me wonder if it's me or just circumstances. We left the town I grew up in when we were in our late 20's and although we made friends with the people on the housing estate around us when we moved away again we didn't keep in touch and I never really had a 'girlfriend' apart from one who lives in our home town 60 miles away. We used to spend a lot of time together when our children were little as they're the same ages but obviously when we moved that stopped and now she's surrounded by a great group of friends she goes out with regularly, goes on holiday with and who are always looking out for each other. I do have my sister in law but she also lives 40 miles away, works and has her own family around her. Our family are 2 hours away and on the other side of the world so we are literally on our own. My husband is the same and has never had a mate he could go to the pub with or a football match. We had friends from when he was in a couple of clubs - their wives are also in the WI I belong to but once we became carers for my parents they sort of drifted away and now I don't feel I belong in their circle any more and find it hard to find something to talk about if I meet them as they're all retired and several years older. I work full time from home so have no work colleagues to chat to either. I look on social media and feel envious when I see posts and photos of outings or what someone is up to that day. This makes me sound very sad I know and I'm not really that sort of person - I'm not depressed and generally quite upbeat but I do wonder if life would have been different if we'd stayed in one place. We were married and had a child at 17 so missed out on all the nightlife and partying that went on around us which is probably when you make your lifelong friends. It does worry me a bit when I think of the day one of us will be on our own and who we will have to turn to. Does anyone else feel the same?

Lisalou Mon 30-May-16 07:05:10

I feel for you, I have not yet retired, and have a ways to go yet. I have also moved around a lot and yes, friends move on; my experience is that you just have to get back out there. Meet your WI friends, you have nothing to talk about at the minute because you have been out of touch. I understand that they are older, but that doesn't mean you will have nothing in common. If there are people you like in the group, meet up with them. You may be surprised how much you can do together, when your work permits. If you do nothing, you won't make any new friends, if that makes sense.

whitewave Mon 30-May-16 07:26:59

I am the sort of person whose very happy pottering in my own company, but I do like to see friends for a chat and giggle. What I have learned is that you do have to sort of work at it. I have been reluctant to contact people in case they don't want to see me, but have realised that it works both ways, and if you don't make the effort your friendships will gradually disappear. Definitely a case if you don't use it you will lose it.

So now I make a point of seeing friends on a regular basis, by perhaps making a further date at the end of the last one or keeping in contact by email.

Welshwife Mon 30-May-16 07:31:18

I think this is a more prevalent problem than many people realise. It definitely happens when you move away but also has to do with circumstances. Also friendship is a two way thing and some people are not got at reciprocating it. DD and I have had this conversation and wondered why - we have both had friends in our lives but none that have transcended all moves etc. The people who have life long friends do tend to have remained living within a small radius and that is not always possible with jobs and studying etc. I suggest you google 'meetup' and the name of your town. When DD moved 250 miles away she had one friend nearby so she started one of these meetup groups - within a month she had 100 members. They just arrange to meet in a coffee shop, a pub, a meal, a cinema trip or going to something local. It is just to have someone in the same boat as yourself when you get there. No one goes to everything and anyone in the group arranges an outing. They pay £1 to go to a meetup as to keep the group on line costs for the website membership. She has made several women friends and that has been good for her. She does not tend to socialise with her work colleagues as they are a much younger group of people in the main and have different interests. Good luck with your quest and you are not alone with this.

Alea Mon 30-May-16 07:44:21

I think many of us can identify with how you feel. My 3 DDs always seem to be surrounded by friends, their partners and now children and they play a huge role in their lives. We left good friends behind when we moved here from London but eventually lost touch and children's commitments at weekends followed by DH's health issues meant we never established the same relationships in our village. Or maybe it was timing, maybe you make friends more readily at different stages in your life. Maybe I have not put the same effort in, due to circumstances. I often think things might have been different if we had stayed but we didn't and other good things have happened instead.
Whatever the reasons, bear this in mind few people post on Facebook that they are sitting at home watching TV/they have not been outside their house in 3 days/they can't just drop into a pub and see people they know/they feel lonely
Don't believe all you read.
willow you are not alone, but if you really feel you need company, other than the EXCELLENT company on GN go back to the WI and look for people who might welcome a friendly word. And when they are pleased to see you, you may feel you belong in that community flowers

Willow500 Mon 30-May-16 07:48:47

Thanks - I do agree you need to work at it which I confess I'm not very good at. We are trying to move house after 30 years here so if/when this happens I intend for us to join something each so that we can try and find mutual and individual friends. Welshwife your idea sounds a really good one and something I might investigate further. I know I should go back to the WI meetings but the place we meet is not local so it means driving in the dark which I can no longer see to do - poor excuse as my husband will take me. Maybe being an only child doesn't help give you confidence to meet new people either.

Willow500 Mon 30-May-16 07:51:07

Alea thanks - and yes - GN does help make me feel better grin

kittylester Mon 30-May-16 07:55:43

Willow, I'm sorry you feel like that and it was brave to put it on a forum. You are obviously not alone. flowers

Two things in your post strike me. Firstly, you refer to your 'home' as, I think, the place you grew up. Maybe you've not felt settled any where else so haven't put down roots. The other thing that struck me was you feel the need for a friend to have a good time with. I don't see my friends in that light. We are a support group as well as meeting for meals etc. You probably only get that after years and years.

I think there is lots of good advice here already but something to remember is that to have a friend, you should be a friend so it's worth making the effort with people you like.

Falconbird Mon 30-May-16 08:36:22

When my dh retired our social life became non existent. He just wanted to be with me which was flattering but rather worrying.

I kept up contact with my women friends and I'm so glad I did because they were there for me when my dh sadly died.

I've had to move to a new area and I've joined lots of things and I'm beginning to make friends. It is hard work sometimes and it doesn't happen overnight that's for sure.

You are not alone in your situation Willow but the answer lies in your hands. Could you join U3A or a book group, volunteer if you have the time - there's lots going on out there. I hope it works out for you. I've got the hat and the tee shirt unfortunately.

seasider Mon 30-May-16 08:47:49

Willow check if there is a Gransnet local page for your area. Many of them arrange meet ups.Could you join U3A? I believe they do lots of courses and activities. Could you volunteer somewhere? I have a close group of friends and we meet every few weeks but we have to make the effort. If I spot a show or restaurant we might enjoy I suggest it to them and they would do the same.

Newquay Mon 30-May-16 09:25:14

I agree with others-you do have to make an effort to have/find friends. It takes effort and commitment I find. DH doesn't really have friends, he sort of tags along with mine-I've told him if he ever has a party he could hold it in a phone booth!
I go to keep fit, sing in choirs, am in a French class so meet up with quite a few folks but the "real" friends I have go way back; one I met when we had our children at the same time (we always say we're bosom friends as we breast fed together) she now lives a long way away but we keep in regular touch by email/phone etc.
We've also always belonged to a local church-which is linked to all other local churches so meet up with folks at social events, quizzes, barn dances etc-and we have 3 friends who are close. We are all v supportive of each other and can see each in any combination of the group for whatever reason. We say we have to stay friends because we know too much about each other.
What I'm trying to show-in a long winded way-is you have to work at finding/keeping friends. No one will beat a path to your door so get out there! A smile works wonders and I've taught DH and his (lovely but hopeless sister) social strategies. We all went to family wedding recently with a lot of strangers so I reminded them to smile, ask if folks had come far and how did they know the couple. . . .

Seasidenana Mon 30-May-16 09:29:28

I have made friends by joining groups focussed on an interest or by regularly attending a music club. Why not check out what is happening in your area ? Volunteer for a local charity a few hours a week, attend a class or go to a regular event like a book club or whatever your own interests are.

Greyduster Mon 30-May-16 09:32:26

I have pretty much the same problem as you, willow so I can see where you're coming from. Since I stopped working, I don't have much of a social life now. I've had one good friend for thirty odd years who lives fairly close to me, and we talk on the phone and try and see each other about once a month, but she has a wider social circle so, until this year when she has been very ill, it was often quite difficult to find a day when we could get together. I am ashamed to say that I have, in the past, felt a childish resentment about this. I'm very glad for her, in truth, because she has really needed her friends the past couple of years. DH is not a man for "going out with the lads" though he did sometimes when he was working. These days many of the men that he knew have died, and he doesn't feel the need to go out and find new friends. We have a couple of sets of close friends that we've kept in touch with for a lot of years, since we all left the Services, but they each live a couple of hours drive away so, though we do make an effort to get together, it's only about three times a year these days. We are lucky; at the moment, we still have family, our health and the means to get out and about and experience things, but we are thrown very much on our own company most of the time. I go to an exercise group once a week, and when I go fishing, he will come along and go walking somewhere near by, but they are not activities that cultivate friendships. I agree with those who say that friendships need effort; you get out what you put in.

dizzygran Mon 30-May-16 09:34:38

Willow.. This is a really common problem and it is more difficult to make new friends as you get a bit older - but start with people you don't know so well - it's amazing how much you will have in common when you get to know them better. The WI is a good start - is there a book club - do they go on cinema/theatre trips or outings. If not why not start a club of your own as part of the WI. Try the local 10 pin bowling alley - they usually have a great special offer in term time - a game of bowling followed by a pub lunch is good fun and a way to get to know people better - no need to be good at it - just enjoy. Good luck

Nelliemoser Mon 30-May-16 09:36:48

Willow500 I feel the same a lot of the time apart from other GNrs and my knitting group members who keep me sane but do not provide a close friend. My good friend and confidant emigrated to Canada to be with her daughter about 4 yrs ago.

The rest of my tale is as Willow says. My OH can move heavy things about but is no use on an emotional level and has no sense of humour.

goose1964 Mon 30-May-16 09:40:46

I have no friends locally to me, I keep in contact with old work mates via facebook & meet up with old school friends 2 or 3 times a year. I am desperately shy ( would be called social anxiety these days) and the thought of joining a society to going to a group where I didn't know anyone is terrifying.

Emptynester Mon 30-May-16 09:51:51

Having moved from my home town when I got married and moved 250 miles away, and since lived all over the country including Scotland and we are now in Devon, I just think you have to work harder to keep those friendships that mean something to you. I did not know a soul in Devon when we moved here 41/2 years ago, but my husband and I got involved as soon as we had finished unpacking. It is not fun walking into that first meeting of anything, but the rewards are worth it.
If it's one thing the WI has taught me its that age has absolutely nothing to do with whether you can have an enjoyable friendship with somebody. A very good friend was 25 years older than me, but we definitely shared a sense of humour, that got us into trouble on more than one occasion, and just because she was older did not mean she did not have perfectly valid opinions

DanniRae Mon 30-May-16 09:54:43

I found I met lots of new people when I got a dog and visited the local park at the same time each day. Dog walkers seem to be friendly folk and you tend to see the same people and their dogs every day. Just ask them about their dogs, they will definitely want to talk then. This can lead to general chat and before you know it someone will suggest that you pop round for coffee or, you can do the offering! I am almost certain that this will work and wish you lots of luck xx

Minder Mon 30-May-16 10:03:48

I'm an only child (now 63) and I have moved from Yorkshire to Hertfordshire to Cambridgeshire and have made friends everywhere I go but that's probably because I'm a 'chatterer' - is there such a word?? I chat to people in supermarket queues but being online has definitely been good for me.
I joined an online WW group some years ago and got chatting to a lady who lives a 20 min train ride from me and went to meet her one day with her sister who I'm now good friends with and then I met their friends and it grew from that.
My husband has Alzheimer's and I went to meetings and met a lady there and we're still friends, that was 10 years ago. I was lucky enough to meet some wonderful nurses and carers at my husbands home and 10 years on I was invited to a House Blessing two summers ago.
A young couple in their 20's moved in next door to me a couple of years ago and I put a welcome to N**** Road on it and she came round to thank me - and ask to borrow a saw grin and although they're very young and I'm in my 60's, we have a really good friendship. I realise, if you are a quiet person, it can be hard but I do think you have to get out and about and start chatting to people - whether they think you're mad or not grin

BarbaraLornaHudson Mon 30-May-16 10:04:46

This correspondence has rung lots of bells. I think it particularly hard if you are single. And I am sure the answer is to make the effort. Don't be too proud to be always the one who rings up and suggests meetings. Ask that couple to supper again even if it is strictly speaking their turn.

cornergran Mon 30-May-16 10:06:41

It's all very familiar. If I find the answer for myself I will be sure to share it, for now I dont have one. It may help willow to know it's not just you - and there is certainly nothing wrong with you. Advice here is good, but goose is not alone in finding new situations really difficult. I try to remind myself of all the situations where I knew no one going in but felt very comfortable by the end. Sometimes it works! Volunteering has been my lifeline, always made to feel welcome and good company for a while. No real friendships have emerged, yet, doesn't mean they won't. Good luck to all.

faringdon59 Mon 30-May-16 10:10:40

I have been a single person for the last 10 years and have made two good friends in that time.
However, in the last year one of them has met a man who has now moved in with her. So we never meet up to chat anymore and the one time we had planned to go out for a meal, he tagged along as well.
The other friend (married) and I use to go out dancing most Saturdays, but in the last six months a pact has been agreed that her husband gives up his gambling and she gives up dancing.
So, sometimes you only have a friend until a man appears.
Have done a few holidays abroad solo, which I have enjoyed, but it is very costly as you are charged for two people!
Would be grateful if anyone on this site knows of any travel buddy organisations?
I have recently joined meet up which is an international organisation for socialising, but it's still not easy by any means.

f77ms Mon 30-May-16 10:12:32

You are definitely not alone WILLOW I think some people are just more sociable and make a big effort to make and stay in touch with people who eventually become friends . I am very much a loner type and am very happy with my own company , in fact I find myself groaning sometimes when the door bell rings ! Saying all that I do have a little job 2 mornings a week where I meet lots of people and that is my people fix for the week ! I know my situation is of my own making , I certainly don`t make enough effort to stay in touch with people . The suggestions about the WI and joining other groups are good ones and are full of people with the same aims and desires to be with other people and possibly make friends .

krysiam Mon 30-May-16 10:24:27

Faringdon59, I have used online company Archers Direct. For some of their holidays you can avoid the single supplement if you are willing to share with a stranger (of the same sex!). If there is no one to share with, you get the room to yourself. I tried this for a touring holiday to Florida, and shared with a very lively lady who used to be a teacher in the Bronx. We had a great time!

michel55 Mon 30-May-16 10:30:56

I think there is a possibility of wanting only new friends fitting a " Friend type " . It is difficult to make friends in the UK , I know ,I am french , and even after all these years in England , I have not found an answer , there is a lack of spontaneity and willingness to open up .
but good luck
One point , I would like to make about all the comments on Gransnet is why the need of using like DD,WI,OH and so on ...?? it make so difficult to read and for me looks strange why just not type what you want to says like dear husband instead of DH but I am sure you would use only husband
Relax and have fun