Gransnet forums

Lack of friends

(210 Posts)
Vauxhall58 Tue 12-Mar-19 14:29:23

I'm now in my 59 th year and I have a serious lack of friends and don't know what to do about it I do try I'm on social media and I've joined online groups to make friends but no luck I think I must be a unfriendly person I know being a only child doesn't help and having no children.
Hubby also doesn't like going out or doing anything I feel quite depressed sometimes thinking is this it
I work doing cleaning but it's also not easy to interact with people as it's for a company and not actually based in the place .
Anybody have any ideas before I give up completely x

Luckygirl Tue 12-Mar-19 14:34:09

Find something that interests you - join a group who do that.

Volunteer in a charity shop or similar.

Become a school governor.

Volunteer at local hospice.

MiniMoon Tue 12-Mar-19 14:39:29

I packed friends when I retired. I have lost touch with all the friends I had at school, and in the last place we lived. I made up my mind to go and seek like minded people.
As crochet is a hobby of mine, I joined the local Knit & Natter group, and now I'm plucking up the courage to join the local choir, as I used to be a reasonably good singer.
It's up to you to go out and meet people. You don't need your husband to go with you.

MiniMoon Tue 12-Mar-19 14:40:26

Lacked friends.

Carolina55 Tue 12-Mar-19 15:05:12

This topic came up recently in one of my newer friends get togethers and I appeared to be the only one still in touch with friends from school/college/work/neighbour (one from first primary days!) which surprised them but not me.

I find my friendships interesting in that they have ebbed and flowed over the years where we’ve been at different stages with different interests in distant locations and only minimal contact but I’ve never considered that we’d stopped being friends if you see what I mean.

Also I’ve never stopped making an effort especially when tough times arrive as they do for us all i e death, divorce and disaster. I consider my husband to be my best friend but I cherish all my very different (from me and each other) friends and love doing different stuff with them especially now I am retired. My two newest friends were made when I joined a gym on retirement so it’s never too late ladies!

gillybob Tue 12-Mar-19 15:15:45

I’m 57 and can quite honestly say I don’t have one single friend vauxhall58 sad

Yes I have my DH and two lovely grown up children and 4 wonderful grandchildren but it’s not the same as having a real friend that you can confide in, go shopping with, or meet for a coffee or drink. I blame having a baby very young , being a single parent and getting cut off from people of my own age, then working full time when my children were small so I didn’t meet other young mothers. Then working for almost the last 30 years in an all male engineering environment . I just never got chance to make friends .

M0nica Tue 12-Mar-19 15:16:25

There was a wonderful thread very recently, ah, found it Lonely one week on, (Go to forums, Chat, page 2) in which someone, who had posted as being lonely sometime before, describes what happened when they set out to make friends and shows clearly how it is not just what you do but how that you do it, and what the 'how' was.

Vauxhall58 Tue 12-Mar-19 15:41:56

Yes I've just read it I too have had highlights done and yes I chat to people on social media and I have a friend in Australia too but it's not the same as having a best friend to go shopping with to just ring up and have tea

overthehill Tue 12-Mar-19 15:44:50

Like you I am an only child and although my DH has 2 brothers (one in a home) and a sister we only see them twice a year and they live quite a distance from us.
I did used to have a set of friends which seems to have diminished over the years. I was always the one to make the phone call but it got to the point where even if they were invited they couldn't come for some reason or another so I decided to stop beating myself up over it and if they didn't bother to contact me then so be it.
We still have some loyal friends but not that many now.
We are lucky in having two adult children that we see regularly and two grandchildren but they are family and you mention lack of friends.
I used to work for the NHS so belong to the NHS retirement fellowship and they hold meetings, lunches, theatre trips, bowls, and other events. Of course you could only join if you worked there, but the U3A offers the same sort of thing for retired people and it might be worth joining your local group.
Minimoon mentioned Knit and Knatter and I to belong to a local group and have made friends from that.
In the better weather DH and I get away in our caravan. We belong to the owners club and through that have made friends from all over the country.
I think you have to be a bit proactive and maybe not expect to make firm friends straight away but at least get out and talk to people, it gives you something to look forward to.

M0nica Tue 12-Mar-19 15:45:48

I have made one very good friend through Gransnet.

overthehill Tue 12-Mar-19 16:22:31

Vauxhall you mention not having a 'best friend'
My experience with a 'best friend' is this. One at school moved on to someone else when I was off sick for two weeks.
The next one when I was at work deliberately dropped me I think because I went to a party at hers my then boyfriend acted up so I walked out and my friends boyfriend walked me home....nothing occured but perhaps she thinks it did (teenage angst)
The last best friend had an affair with my ex-husband.
After that I was done with 'Best Friend' although I do have one very good friend who sadly moved away so only see a couple of times a year.

Grandma70s Tue 12-Mar-19 16:22:41

I’m no longer mobile, so going out is not an option for me. I rely on a few friends I have had for years, but they are all roughly my age (late seventies). I wish I had some younger friends now. My interests are quite esoteric, which doesn’t help, but I can’t be something I’m not. Luckily I enjoy being on my own most of the time.

On the whole, my family (not local) are my best friends. I don’t think this is a bad thing.

M0nica Tue 12-Mar-19 16:54:26

I think it is possible to overestimate how many friends people actually have

DS and DDiL, seem to have a huge circle of friends, built from work and special interest contacts, they both work in jobs where the boundaries between leisure interests and work can be very fuzzy. However when you look at that social network in detail. The number of close friends they actually have; people they ask to be godparents, confide in, go away with and include in family celebrations is actually much smaller, probably not much more than 6.

I think the one mistake lonely people mostly make is in concentrating on wanting to make the one or two close friends and not realising that for most people, their social circle is made up mainly of the wider group and that the individual friends usually arise organically from that wider group.

Also, as Bam shows you need to make an effort yourself. I am still close to my best friend from school, when my children were small and from work and when I look back I can see that they were the ones befriending me, rather than the other way round.

The friend I have made through GN is special, because I decided that it was time for me to change and be more outgoing, I knew she lived near me, I knew she was facing difficulties so I PMed her and suggested meeting for coffee. I am so glad I did. But it could have not worked, we could have met once and decided not to repeat it. It is the risk you have to take and not be crushed if it doesn't work out.

It is not easy to go from

M0nica Tue 12-Mar-19 16:55:44

Ignore the last line. It is a widow or orphan.

notanan2 Tue 12-Mar-19 17:11:06

I hate how this thread will probably be filled with suggestions about how to make aquaintances which is NOT the same thing as making friends

Always happens with threads like this.

It is "easy" to meet people. It is not easy to progress and deepen the connnection and turn it into a friendship. There are never any tips about the latter.

FountainPen Tue 12-Mar-19 17:14:36

I have been a widow for many years, no family, entirely alone and your age. I had friends but most were married and didn’t want to do much other than meet up for daytime coffee. Getting them to come out in the evening was impossible. They would rather stay home and watch TV.

I needed something new in my life I could go along to in the evenings. I joined a club in the performing arts and soon became actively involved in running it. This has lead to so many spin offs in my social life that I am now rarely home.

You have not said what you are interested in. My advice is to think about what you like to do or would like to do and join something where you can be actively involved. You get out what you put in.

If your husband doesn’t want to do much don’t let that stop you having a social life.

No need for a best friend. Better to develop individual friendships, people with whom you do different things.

Today, on my way out, I spotted one of the local Walk for Health groups which are run by the local authority. A group of people all walking in pairs having a good chat. I believe one can just go along to these and join in.

No harm trying out different things. Some you will like, some you won’t. Some clubs and groups can be welcoming. Others can seem cliquey and unwelcoming. Don’t let negative experiences put you off. Just try something else. Go to something alone and look out for someone else who is also alone. Strike up a conversation. They may want a friend too.

Maybe start something yourself. Find a local pub where you could host a book club or something similar. People will come.

In the club I now help run, I especially look out for people who come along alone. I try to make them feel comfortable and welcome, introduce them to other people and have watched new friendships blossom.

Grandma70s Tue 12-Mar-19 17:17:18

People mean very different things by the word ‘friend’. To me it means someone really close I can talk to about anything. To others it just means ‘someone I know, an aquaintance’. I have a friend who talks quite a bit about her many friends, but I know for a fact that I am the only person she really confides in.

Carolina55 Tue 12-Mar-19 17:21:49

Agreed notanan2 - perhaps we should think more about being a good friend/being friendly than counting acquaintances.

I do think that if you like someone at first meeting etc you could tell them how much you enjoyed their company and would like to do it again sometime.

With my latest friendships it has taken more conscious thought to develop them than it ever seemed to as a child but no less rewarding for all that.

M0nica Tue 12-Mar-19 17:25:46

Because there are no tips to give. All my friendships, and they are not many, just grew organically from the wider pool of acquaintances, one friend was at boarding school with me, one I studied with, one I worked with, and one I was on a committee with, I was at school, work, and on committees with lots of people I like and know well, but only the one friendship. Even with the friend I contacted, why did we hit it off rather than say thank you and goodbye, I have no idea.

All I know is the more people you are acquainted with the better your chance of that group fining down to a group you are closer to than the others and finally someone you go and have a coffee with and it goes from there.

I do think you need to be prepared to mix and socialise with a lot of frogs before one turns into the friend you always wanted. My biggest failing is that I do not give the frogs enough time, I whizz through, decide they are not my sort and move on.

notanan2 Tue 12-Mar-19 17:36:08

All I know is the more people you are acquainted with the better your chance of that group fining down to a group you are closer to than the others and finally someone you go and have a coffee with and it goes from there.

Hmm I dont know. Lonliness is worse in a crowd than "alone"

Its all well and good saying "get out there and meet more people" if you are the type who can naturally progress some of those people into friends.

For those of us who dont find that that transition comes naturally, more awuaintances just = more aquaintances, and sometimes knowing a lot of people, but also knowing that none of them really care, is the loneliest situation of all!

Luckygirl Tue 12-Mar-19 17:36:26

I would not say that I have a best friend; but do not feel the lack of this. I have a wide circle of what I call friends, some of whom I confide in (and they in me) and some not. I do not see them as often as I would like, but I am a carer. They are always there on the end of a phone or to meet for coffee. Most I meet at the various activities that I go to.

I do know that there are a handful of people who would be here like a shot if I needed them. Likewise all my family.

I think it is possible to agonise unnecessarily over this issue and to imagine that others have best friends.

notanan2 Tue 12-Mar-19 17:39:27

With my latest friendships it has taken more conscious thought to develop them than it ever seemed to as a child but no less rewarding for all that.

It does. Its a conscious process.
The friends I made in my youth didnt require that as we were spending a lot of time together anyway via university/house shares etc.

Now, you have to somehow create those hours that convert an aquaintance to a friend. It is more difficult. Feels more forced & awkward.

M0nica Tue 12-Mar-19 17:46:36

notanan, it is Catch 22. Being in a crowd can be very lonely, but you need a crowd to make friend unless you are very lucky.

I was an army brat, 21 'permanent'addresses all over the world by the time I was 21, 10 schools. I became quite good at superficial friendships that ended when we moved. I never learnt how to make friends, as I said, with the ones I have, they have mostly made the friendship.

But what do I know is that the problem lies with me and I have to deal with it or accept it.

notanan2 Tue 12-Mar-19 17:50:32

Its a bit like dating, the whole business of progressing aquaintances to friends. And I guess there is only so much you can take before it becomes less lonely to not try...

Carolina55 Tue 12-Mar-19 17:53:34

Yes notanan2 - one in particular has been quite self contained and it’s taken longer for her to see how much she means to me but it’s been worth it as we are alike in many ways.

We are now at the stage where we can ring/meet at the drop of a hat when we’re both at a loose end and it’s lovely and a big part of being friends.