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Making New Friends

(169 Posts)
CyclingSenior Tue 20-Aug-19 09:13:42

I'm embarrassed to admit to my family that infact my social circle of friends has become very small over the past few years. I feel quite envious when I see groups of ladies who are clearly very deep in conversation or hear about a real friendship.
I used to have 'girlie' nights at the house and they were great and certainly everyone said how much they'd enjoyed it but I could count on one hand the number of return invites even for a coffee . Rightly wrongly I guess to some degree I just felt for me this needs to be a two way thing. My circle is small and one friend I do have has been to my home I guess in the past three years around a dozen times for mostly just quick teas bought in from the likes of M&S and sometimes I cook. I've been to hers once for a meal and that came about because she needed a hand with work related stuff.
She sent me a text in error asking her other friend round for tea and yes it hurt which feels absolutely ridiculous as I am the age I am. We have short holiday together maybe once a year and it's good.
I'm probably now at the stage where it's just easier for me to have no expectations of friends but I do enjoy company and although surrounded by family and husband it just seems healthy to want a positive social circle. I definitely get the feeling people want to keep me at bay if I'm brutally honest, I could only admit that online. Thing is I actually genuinely don't know why. I don't think I'm in their face or ott with contact. I'm in a job with quite a bit of responsibility so I'm quite assertive by nature and have never been one to be walked over, over the years I've stood my ground on a number of occasions and it's in reality probably earned me a reputation. I'm not aggressive assertive and I've been told that however I think regardless to how skilled at being assertive you are I just don't think it's done me any favours.
It's not a great feeling I'd have to say.

Luckygirl Tue 20-Aug-19 09:17:28

Most of my friends are through the things I do: there are choir friends, book club friends, and friends through a village help organisation. Very few are of the drop-round-for-tea type of friends.

Maybe curb your assertiveness a bit?! smile

gillybob Tue 20-Aug-19 09:19:32

Not trying to make light of your feelings at all CyclingSenior but I have absolutely no friends at all . Not one .

I am the opposite of assertive (a pushover?) and have been hurt by people I thought were friends in the past . It turned out I was being used to fill a gap when one or the other was away and they were using me as a way to make themselves feel better about their own lives. Complicated but upsetting when the penny finally dropped .

KatyK Tue 20-Aug-19 09:21:28

I think I'm a bit odd. I've never felt the need for friends, maybe because I have sisters. I have friends but it's always them who contact me to meet up. I'm surprised they haven't given up!

Pantglas1 Tue 20-Aug-19 10:05:36

Reading these four posts has been thought provoking!

I do have friends from primary school, secondary school, college, living in different countries, gym and most of them have sisters (I don’t) but it hasn’t stopped them making other friends.

I mostly do the contacting but I am probably the most organised (bossy?) and ideas person and there’s usually one like that in every group otherwise stuff simply wouldn’t happen, would it?

I tend not to worry too much when they can’t meet up due to other commitments as I know we’re all busy with work/hobbies /family/other friends or even just chilling on their own - a rare opportunity!

As I’ve gotten older I also don’t expect an awful lot from people- there lies disappointment!

M0nica Tue 20-Aug-19 10:08:23

I have often looked at those girl groups in cafes and restaurants, and felt mildly envious, then I remember back and realise that usually if I found myself in a group like that when I was younger, I usually felt very isolated and the odd one out.

On of my activities does meet occasionally for lunch and there I do feel at home, I have known most of those there more years than I care to remember, but it is the friendship of the group, not one where any of us meet outside the group. I have a few good friends, one from school, one from my children's childhood and one made recently.

I think advertising and magazines tend to put forward the idea of groups of friends going out regularly because the journalists, who write these articles, are by nature the kind of people who cultivate networks and friendships, so I think the picture they draw is skewed and not typical for most people, who have, what I would call 'street' friendships, chat to people they meet in their day to day life, at groups they belong to, but relatively few long term, intimate friends.

Elegran Tue 20-Aug-19 10:08:24

Your friends are not your (are they subordinates?) work colleagues - assertiveness may not always be the appropriate mode for dealing with them.

CyclingSenior Tue 20-Aug-19 10:10:38

Luckygirl - Oh believe me I hear exactly what you're saying. I often often think there's many many negatives to being assertive albeit I probably wouldn't have survived in my work environment or certainly it would have brought other major challenges.
I breath in a big sigh and yes I do often think 😬 having being assertive in the workplace is my problem as the vast majority of my social scene over the years has been work colleagues and its a small world so to speak..

Sara65 Tue 20-Aug-19 10:16:57

My circle of friends has definitely shrunk over the years, due to all sorts of reasons. I still work and look after my grandchildren, and I also have one very good friend who I know I could tell anything to, and completely rely on in a crisis, but I do feel a bit friend poor, and don’t really know how to make them, as almost all of my friends over the years, have been made through children, or where we’ve lived, or work.

CyclingSenior Tue 20-Aug-19 10:18:11

Gillybob.. Thanks for the honesty. May I ask ;
does that sit well with you having no friends?
Some people seem fine with it?

I just feel embarrassed and would probably never feel comfortable talking about it in anything other than online.

WadesNan Tue 20-Aug-19 10:20:06

I can understand where the OP is coming from. I do have a small circle of friends but it is always me who has to initiate getting together.

Since DH died 8 years ago I have been invited into a neighbours house once (my own invitations are politely declined) and these are people who would regularly come to us for BBQs and parties when DH was alive. I also feel as if people are holding me at arms length - I am not assertive at all and consider myself to be very easygoing.

Barmeyoldbat Tue 20-Aug-19 10:22:29

CyclingSenior, I am assertive, no doubt about that, life has made be so and I don't regret it.

I have friends I can stop and have a chat with when I am out and about. But I don't have friends popping in for coffee, lunch or just a chat, mainly because I am usually out and to be honest I am quite happy doing my own thing and being in my own company.

I have two friends I can count on but don't see very much as we all live fairly busy lives but we do phone another. One friend lives nearby and meet up every couple of months. I belong to a sewing group but don't socialise other than the group meeting. When you see groups of women out having coffee etc I don't think its a daily or even weekly event. Just be happy in your self.

CyclingSenior Tue 20-Aug-19 10:23:42

Elegran, in social settings on the day at the time all seemed good and vibes are good ; I'm definitely not leading the pack so to speak I'm more just tell me when and where and how much....

Sara65 Tue 20-Aug-19 10:25:02

Wadesnan

If you were my neighbor you would be welcome for a cup of tea and a chat anytime

CyclingSenior Tue 20-Aug-19 10:44:43

Wadesnan, thank you for kind words.

My upbringing in a rural setting meant we had people comi g and going in the family home often ; nobody came through the door without the offer of tea ; nobody was left standing on the doorstep that was considered really rude. I guess too its perceptions of what expectations are from being a friend or what is perhaps more just someone you occasionally have a chat with in an acquaintance friendly way.

KatyK Tue 20-Aug-19 10:47:11

My DH has no friends and he's very happy about it. He's outgoing and friendly but likes to just mix with family.

Lessismore Tue 20-Aug-19 10:52:18

Cycling, it's a rotten feeling. Nobody ever knocks on my door or phones me and yet years ago I used to wish both would stop!
I was in a cafe yesterday mulling over some stuff and another lady smiled and nodded. What to do? Should we just go for it and try to befriend random strangers?

Nellie098 Tue 20-Aug-19 11:42:28

Your friends enjoyed your girlie nights because you were a great organiser and groups like a leader but often the rest of the group don't want to take on this role and that's when things drift.
If you still want a good social life then why not join the Red Hatters. I have a friend who is a member and they are always out and about. Check if there is a group in your area.

gillybob Tue 20-Aug-19 11:56:29

Thanks for the honesty. May I ask
does that sit well with you having no friends?
Some people seem fine with it?

Well if I’m honest CyclingSenior it can feel quite lonely at times . I do a lot of “looking after” in the family and work 3-4 days a week ( also on my own) so my time is kind of filled (I’m not sitting twiddling my thumbs) but it would be nice to be able to meet a girlfriend for a glass of wine or a cuppa and have a natter, to share confidences, maybe go shopping and do “girly” stuff.

It is what it is though . I’m a miserable cow so I can’t imagine there being a queue of people even wanting to be my friend . grin

I did feel a bit envious when I went out with DH a few months ago and bumped into some old school friends who were all still in touch . They come from a VERY different background to me and all were chatting about exotic holidays and nights out I felt like a duck out of water . I also looked at myself when I got home and felt like bursting into tears . They had looked so glamorous and I looked like a clip !

CyclingSenior Tue 20-Aug-19 14:01:15

Lessismore....I think there is definitely truth in 'its not going to come knocking on my door'. I'm not shy and I do a variety of sports but I guess I see people my age within long established groups with decades of history.
Im just back in from a cycle 🚴 but have to say even chatting openly to you all you guys has helped.
I do actually quite often have fleeting conversations with others in cafes/ or out walking but of course within the limits of what's appropriate but no never do I think it would feel okay to pursue these situations for them or indeed me.

CyclingSenior Tue 20-Aug-19 14:03:15

Nellie, never heard of Red Hatters but I'll be googling. Thank you

Keeper1 Tue 20-Aug-19 14:07:39

CyclingSenior and Gillybob where are you based are there any others from the forum near you to arrange a meet up with. You both sound like lovely people and I am sure if you started some new activities you would soon start getting know other people and making friends. You won’t click with everyone but there are a lot of people out there in a similar situation.

CyclingSenior Tue 20-Aug-19 14:09:03

Gillybob

"I’m a miserable cow so I can’t imagine there being a queue of people even wanting to be my friend . grin"

Not sure if intentional but you made me laugh so I suspect your dry sense of humour would definitely appeal to others too.

SalsaQueen Tue 20-Aug-19 14:24:24

I'm 60, and apart from my husband and family, I spend much of my time alone (I work - in fact, I started a new job today!), and I've got 1 real friend, and I see her at least once of week, usually at a cafe (we don't go to each other's houses), and I see a couple of ex-partners of my 2 sons (one is 2 years older than me [grin[), for drinks/exercise classes etc.

I was never very interested in being with women - they all bitch about each other and criticise what the others are wearing, etc. I used to work in offices where the staff were all women, and they all used to gossip and whine.

I'd rather have men around (I've got 2 sons) to talk to. My new job involves being alone, (Warden of a sheltered housing estate), with the opportunity for social interaction with the residents - on a "hands-off" kind of way. That suits me at the moment.

CyclingSenior Tue 20-Aug-19 14:40:53

Keeper1

Thank you. Its such a tricky one where I live is really quite rural and more or less everyone will more than likely know someone you know or who knows of you. Its a bit OTT but I'd rather walk over hot coals than have to admit publically that I'm lacking in friendships. I think as a youngster that's fine or at the other end of the spectrum when friends have sadly passed but I'm mid 50s so I feel what on earth is it about me now that makes me unattractive as a friend.
I'm financially secure and always pay my way and more. I think I'm friendly. The one thing I've always wondered is it in part my accent. I'm from a working class background who married up one I guess and have worked hard to end up with a professional qualification and long standing career. I do however sound very 'local' so not remotely well spoken.
I honestly don't know but I am very aware that a 'needy' approach is very very off putting for any potential friendship. I'd say this has really hit home more since children have grown up. In truth I'd rather no friendships than one based on sympathy or indeed one where the I need to persuade contact.
Hope that makes sense