In Discussions, Life, Parenting

How hard is it for you to make friends?

When I was younger I was painfully shy and had 3 friends my whole life (which was very difficult when you are placed in different homerooms and separated from your network, I might add)… which continued until I was in my last year of high school and I said:

“Why? What am I afraid of?”

After that, I was never shy again although I am still a little nervous around crowds of people who know each other intimately and I am the odd one out.

You know. Family gatherings, old school reunions (not from my school)… that sort of thing.

I don’t know anyone, and particularly in France, they don’t feel the need to make any stranger welcome. They just do their own thing, and if you happen to be there.. Okay. But they won’t reach out to try and connect and find common ground with you.

It’s not a bad thing, it’s just the way they are and the way they were raised. The good news with the French is once you are friends, you are friends, and treated like a sibling. It just takes them a longgggggg time to reach that point with you.

Heck, I don’t even know his extended family’s last names or anything about them (siblings, background, etc), and they are not inclined to offer that info.

I only find out things by prodding my partner.

Travel-Photograph-Lyon-France-Hill

During college, I made some friends, not many fake friendships, but a few very good, strong lasting ones. I am not the type to hold a big circle of friends to call upon and go out with constantly, and I’d rather have quality in my few, strong friendships than quantity.

..not that there is anything wrong with having LOTS of friends and wide social network, but as someone who is slightly introverted, I find it draining and exhausting.


I need to recharge and you can’t recharge if you are constantly out, expending energy on social situations.

I cannot be always out doing social things. I need to be ON. I need my game face, and I need to be the Outside Sherry, which takes more work and censoring than Inside Sherry… so I tend to limit my social engagements with others to 2 times a week or to not have any at all.

When Baby Bun came along, it became even easier to make friends with other parents of toddlers because we could just give each other a Wearied Nod and an Exhausted Smile and we knew what each other was feeling, mostly: When is this exhausting stage over, even though every older, wistful, rose-coloured glasses parent tells me to cherish these fleeting moments?

family-mother-children-father-parenting

Now I find it easy to make friends because I have a cute, clean toddler to break the ice… but before I had Baby Bun, I had no actual friends in the city to speak of, and frankly, the ones I have, are all mothers or fathers who have toddlers.

Is that really a true basis of a friendship?

What’s a friendship anyway? I get along with them, and as long as we have a few things in common, who am I to nitpick?

I have been friends with people on the basis of the fact that we worked at the same place!!! Of course, then we kept in touch and got along in other areas, but… still!

Workplaces are even less of a common ground in terms of values than toddlers.

Still, even without whom I’d call a cherished friend, I had my own wonderful network I would regularly talk to and so on, but I didn’t have… girlfriends to call and hang out with.

Sometimes, you just want to see and be with another adult in person, and phone calls or Skype just makes you all the more wistful for their company.

It made me wonder how hard it is for people to make friends at different stages of their life, and if anyone has felt the same way I have.

How hard is it for you to make friends?


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Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

I got out of $60,000 of debt in 18 months using TheBudgetingTool.com. Since then, I have worked 50% of my career (taking 1-2 year breaks), and quadrupled my income within 2 years of graduating, going from $65K to $260K (savings rate = 85%). I could retire today if I wanted, but love my work-life balance as a freelancing consultant in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). I also post daily on Instagram @saverspender.

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6 Comments

  1. J
    Jess

    I’ve struggled with making and maintaining friendships all my life. It was easiest during school/uni/work, because people are there by convenience, but I haven’t had many of those friendships become lasting friendships once we left the mutual setting. When meeting people, I’m always told how likeable/sociable/funny/etc I am, so it’s not that I can’t “get along” with people. It’s just that it’s been really difficult finding “my people”. Like a needle in a haystack.

    I actively disconnect from people when they don’t bring me meaning and happiness (their negativity/toxicity… people who don’t treat me like I treat them… or we just don’t have anything in common). While I stand by choice, it does mean I often feel lonely and feel like there’s something wrong with me. Why can’t I have lower standards or just make do with “so-so” friends? Part of my choosiness is that I’m also a slight introvert, and I don’t want to spend energy with people that doesn’t bringing me happiness. Being introverted also means I’m much more okay with my own company. It’s both a blessing and a curse.

    This article was a real eye opener for me. Now I’m more discerning about what types of friendships I have and managing my expectations…
    One last thing. I’ve often talked about this with my partner, and he hasn’t understood why it’s hard for me, because most of his friendship network is through his sport. He can invite 30+ people in an instant just by inviting his team. Even if they don’t have anything else in common or aren’t great friends in any other setting, they still have at least one thing to bond over. I’ve found since finishing uni and now currently not working, and I don’t have any groups of interest like sport, I’ve run out of natural places to meet people. I would recommend finding groups of interest to make friends. I have tried Meetup on and off, it’s a great resource for this exact problem, but like anything it’s hit and miss. I’ve been inappropriately hit on, I’ve made shallow friendships that didn’t last more than a few months, I’ve had incredibly uncomfortable social situations, and I’ve met some people where we get along so well and share values and interests but it’s just not the right time/right place.

    Thanks for writing this post. I find it really relatable, and though I’m sorry you’re feeling this way, it’s reaffirming that someone who’s perceived as successful as you are, also has very normal human needs.

    Reply
    1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      Thank you so much for what an honest, raw account of your own struggle.

      I really do feel like I don’t connect deeply with people I meet these days. I can count on one hand, ONE PERSON I have met in the past 10 years to whom I can call a new, true, friend. A true friend to call in time of need. She knows who she is, she is like my sister now 🙂

      The only other person is my best friend from childhood and we have only recently re-connected deeply.

      Reply
  2. r
    raluca

    I am in the happy(?) position where I don’t need any more friends. No, I’m not a Grinch :). What I mean by this is that I have a bunch of friends from highschool, a lot more friends from university and I have a family (sister and sister in law and brothers in law and parents) that we like a lot. We all live very close to each other. There’s rarely a week where we don’t see at least some of them.
    I think I make friends quite easily(see above friends list), but I also think that I need to work hard to keep those friends. I mean, a friendship dies if you don’t spend time with each other. Friendship dies if you aren’t there for the other person when they need you. With age come all sorts of responsibility and unless you really try, it’s so easy to forget that relationships are important and that they need to be prioritized as well.

    Reply
    1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      I wish I had a sister, in times of this…. I make friends very easily but it is hard to hold them. You get lazier.

      Reply
  3. L
    Lani

    It gets harder as you get older…I work long hours at my job, so my free time is limited. I tend to want to be with my close friends or family during that time. I also don’t have kids, and I am getting to the age where most of my friends outside of work are in a different stage of life.

    With such limited free time, I choose to surround myself with the people that mean most to me and the ones I relate to the most. Which means, I end up hanging out with 1 or 2 people. But when I do hang out with them, it’s all about quality. I turn off my cell phone, and I engage with them one on one. I am present when I am with them. After all, their time is important too! They deserve that much from me, as well.

    Reply
  4. E
    Erika

    I have an extremely difficult time forming meaningful relationships. I know quite a few people that I get together with on occasion, but I wouldn’t say I’m close friends with them by any means.

    Most of my current friends also happen to be my coworkers and we have very little in common outside of work. My career has also made it difficult to maintain friendships outside of work because most people don’t relate to the fact that I work most nights, weekends, and many holidays. You can only decline so many invitations before people stop inviting you.

    Thankfully I’m an introvert so the solitude doesn’t bother me very often.

    Reply

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