Making Friends after a certain age

Discussion in 'Teacher Time Out' started by Securis, Sep 27, 2014.

  1. Securis

    Securis Cohort

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    Sep 27, 2014

    This is something I think about some times. And you really can't talk about it with acquaintances that might enter your orbit periodically. Prospectively, this is your pool of available friends should that type of relationship develop. And this isn't about how to meet people or where to meet people. It's about the difficulty of transitioning from mere acquaintances to friends. Why is it so difficult to make that transition?

    I can imagine from my perspective being a transplant from a different region to new region that there are several possible reasons. First thing that I reason is that after a certain age, you've settled, filled your friend slots, and have an established routine based around your interests and your existing friend's interests. That means a person wouldn't have a whole lot of time resource and energy to develop new friendships. Another could be cultural misunderstanding and even prejudice. I'm sure with time, a few other reason may occur to me. What do you guys think? Why is it difficult to make new friends after a certain age?
     
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  3. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    I think a lot of that has to do with time. We don't have very much free these days.
     
  4. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I don't necessarily agree that it is difficult to make friends after a certain age. It could be that the group of people you're hanging around are maybe feeling sort of established in their current friendships and just aren't looking to expand their circle of friends. Not everyone is interested in making all friendships close. That's true for me, at least. I prefer having one or two very close friends and keeping others at arm's length. For me, it's just a lot of work to build and maintain friendships, and I'm not looking to do that if I already feel secure in the friendships that I already have, if that makes sense.

    If you're already hanging around people who have shared interests and whatnot, then it's pretty easy to make the transition towards a closer friendship--provided that the other person wants that level of friendship. Just invite the other person out to do stuff. If they want to hang out, they will. If not, then move on to someone else.
     
  5. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    It's difficult to make new friend after a certain age because people are set in their ways & usually already have their set of friends, so they're busy w/ them. I never had a group of friends so I'll gladly make new friends at my older age of my 30s & beyond.

    The latest new person I met was my mentor for grad school this past summer. Our personalities really clicked & we're about the same age. She seems to have all the friend she needs, but when we last saw each other, I said how I certainly hope we can stay in touch, etc., although I'm sure she's busy. She actually said that she'd make time, so we'll see. It's still easier said than done to start a new friendship & keep it going.

    The gal before her I tried to be friends w/, I suggested things to do & she kept saying, "yeah, sounds good", etc., yet she never brought it up after that.
     
  6. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Phenom

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    I became friends with someone recently because she is the relative of a friend of mine and when we met we found out we had a lot in common. I don't "get out" much so I don't just find new friends all the time.
     
  7. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    I was watching my kids play on the playground recently and one just walked up to another and said "do you want to be my friend?" and the other answered "yes" and they went off to play with each other. I remember thinking how I wish it was that easy for us.
     
  8. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    I tend to make friends pretty easily.

    I'd say 98% of the people I hang out with are educators.

    I tend to gravitate toward women as friends.
     
  9. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    In my experience, friendships drop when people start getting married and even more so when they have kids. In my last location, I was in an extremely tiny town so basically work was the only place to meet people. I was one of two teachers in the entire building who wasn't married. Most other people were at least a good 10 years older than me. I was 22 when I moved there and most of the people that I would consider friends were in their early 30's. Many of the teachers only liked to do things with other married couples, so I never got close to them at all. A few others I hung around with quite a bit, until they started having kids, and then they just didn't have time for anything but "play group" type of events, and if they did want to hang out they'd bring their kids and/or talk about nothing but their kids. I'm not judging- I understand that in their world that's the most important thing going on for them, but I'm in a different stage of my life. Now I live in a big city, so it's much easier to find people around my age who also aren't married and don't have kids. I definitely gravitate towards those people vs. people in my age group who do have kids. Right now I'm in my mid/late 20's, so there are plenty of child free people my age, but I do worry about how hard it will get as I get older, because I'm fairly certain I don't want children. One of my work teammates is 40 and she and her husband have chosen not to have kids, and I know she has a really difficult time maintaining friendships with people her own age because everything revolves around kid and family type events.
     
  10. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    waterfall~I completely agree with you. Since getting divorced, I don't hang around my married friends much anymore. Our kids might still play together, but as far as the adults hanging out at the same time, I just don't feel comfortable around them. I have made a lot of new friends since being divorced. We're all single and most of us are older. I think you're friends tend the change with the events that are going on in your life at that time. If I was still married, I'm sure I would have the same friends I did, but then I'd miss out on the friends that I have now....which are GREAT!
     
  11. Securis

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    You sure make a good case for the difficulties with which you disagree. I'm finding that what people are saying here is true most of the time. Even if it is a closed circle or differences in interest, or even life circumstances, getting past "arms length" isn't easy. Not impossible but still...

    Let me give you some history as to why I'm on this track lately. My wife and I have just had our first child, a tiny peanut of a little girl and cute as a button. We know several couples with children and she has some life long friends who live nearby. So no real need to open up the circle but since we're experiencing all this new stuff, she has been meeting with a new mom support group. Seemingly she hit it off with a few of the moms. After the meeting meetings, play dates, and BBQs. Fun stuff. You'd think the circle is open and seemingly it is. But then seemingly it isn't.

    It's very frustrating to see her struggle with what appears to be patterned after high school "mean girls" except it's "Meh apathetic girls". There's no guarantee of success in any endeavor but you would think chances are higher with a higher than average of time expenditure.

    I've faced something similar where I participate in a group hobby. We meet as a group once a month thereabouts and you would think that with similar interests we'd all have a lot in common. But apparently, others in this group meet several times beyond our once a month off and on so they're a lot chummier than all of us together as a group. It's such a weird dynamic. One that I'm unused to.

    Maybe the opportunity will present itself with more effort but it sure is tiring. Conversely, we may be subject to remaining at arms length to the rest of the world FOREVER!!!:rolleyes:
     
  12. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I was just saying that I don't think that it's necessarily age that makes people keep others at arm's length. A person at any age who feels comfortable with the number and depth of friendships he or she has would likely be hesitant to add more people to the circle.

    In any event, you can't force someone to befriend you, however much you might want their friendship. Sometimes it's just the wrong time or the wrong dynamic. A group of new parents might be especially hard to break into because having a baby is obviously a really big commitment and a new parent might feel overwhelmed at the idea of adding in new social relationships during that time. Heck, I get overwhelmed at the idea of starting a new TV show on Netflix right now--I can't even imagine putting in work to establish a new friendship. Perhaps others might see me as aloof or cold or something, but I'm really not. I'm just busy and wanting to spend what little free time I have with my family, not with people I don't really know.
     
  13. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    I'm finding that I'm more outgoing then I was in my twenties....and I'm well beyond that decade! It's not hard for me to make friends....heck, my mom is in her 70s and easily makes friends!
     
  14. Securis

    Securis Cohort

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    But as a matter of academic discussion, what factors do you think are at play that makes it easy or easier. I'm pretty outgoing when I decide to turn the lights on but I'm always friendly regardless. And my twenties are a couple of decades back also. What makes it easy for people to make friends?
     
  15. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    These are what I value in a friend:
    Good self image
    Openness
    Shared interests
    Good natured
    Easy going
    Trust
    Flexibility
    Caring, kindness, thoughtfulness
     
  16. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    Many of my friends have been a part of my life since my teens. Then there are those who met me through work. We range in age from 28-46. Married. Single. Divorced. Kids. No kids. We kind of mingle in and out of each other's circles. I don't make friends easily, but I stay friends with someone for a long time when I do.
     
  17. Securis

    Securis Cohort

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    So, having these values makes building a friendship easier? I find that I value all of those things as well. I think these factor in to making friendships of a certain type but making it easier versus it being harder, I don't know.
     
  18. Rabbitt

    Rabbitt Connoisseur

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    I make friends super easily, but I cannot seem to get that bestie. Everyone has that bestie, or sister, and I become the 3rd wheel.
     
  19. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I think that sometimes you just click with another person. I'm not sure that there's any more to it than that. If the connection isn't there, it's hard to force a friendship.
     
  20. Securis

    Securis Cohort

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    Welp, maybe someone will have the magic bullet but I know it isn't me. I know it's kind of squirrelly trying to understand people and how they interact.

    If I've given the impression that I'm strategizing a plan to trap a friend, that's not it at all. I'm only interested in understanding how something organic forms and what might prevent that or conversely ease that.

    I'm more convinced that friendships are more difficult to form throughout mid-life because of the focus on self, family, and self interests. You said yourself, when you are comfortable every other person you meet gets held up at the gate. Is that regardless? Meaning, it doesn't matter to you the quality of the person who could be your next friend? I understand being selective, but when does being selective transition into being too selective.

    I think I already understood the mechanisms (how people behave) before asking the question. Thanks for the input.
     
  21. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    Goodness, I haven't had a bestie in ages, maybe 8th grade. Well, the friend I'm thinking only went to the same school with me for 1 school yr, so I have no idea who her other good friends were. If not that, then definitely back in elem school.

    Do I wish I had one? Yes, especially since I'm an only child. The few people I know all have their set of friends. My boyfriend though can be considered my best friend. He's said I was to him.
     

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