Making Friends in Adulthood: What’s the Trick?

Making Friends in Adulthood: What’s the Trick?


In high school, you sat for hours in the same classrooms or ran the gym for hours on the same sports teams. In college, you lived in the same buildings–“dorms”–where for four years, you didn’t need to do anything but walk out the door to find yourself surrounded with friends and acquaintances.

But many people are taken by surprise how the nature of friendship can change as they age. Alex Williams recently took on this phenomena in his New York Times piece, “Why Is It Hard to Make Friends After 30?”

It was like one of those magical blind-date scenes out of a Hollywood rom-com, without the “rom.” I met Brian, a New York screenwriter, a few years ago through work, which led to dinner with our wives and friend chemistry that was instant and obvious.

We liked the same songs off Dylan’s “Blonde on Blonde,” the same lines from “Chinatown.” By the time the green curry shrimp had arrived, we were finishing each other’s sentences. Our wives were forced to cut in: “Hey, guys, want to come up for air?”

As Brian and his wife wandered off toward the No. 2 train afterward, it crossed my mind that he was the kind of guy who might have ended up a groomsman at my wedding if we had met in college.

That was four years ago. We’ve seen each other four times since. We are “friends,” but not quite friends. We keep trying to get over the hump, but life gets in the way.

Read the rest of the article here.



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  2. There are so many distinctions on how to draw into our lives the kind of friends we desire. Unfortunately, many people seem to be stuck in a kind of rut. My old life is an example of this. I was struggling to make good friends and eventually fell into depression and loneliness. Did I make a conscientious decision to work on my social skills? No. Did I try to educate myself on how to make friends and master it? A little. Did I ever ask myself, “How am I responsible for my friendship situation? No. I could keep going on but I’m sure you get the point. We want a lot, but we change little.

    What are some of these distinctions I learned? Here are a few.

    That we are stewards of the social slots in our lives. By allowing people who are indifferent, chronically passive or apathetic to stay indefinitely in those slots may be inhibiting good friends from entering our life. These slots are meant to be teflon coated, not filled with superglue. Becoming more discerning in my friendships and learning to let go was one of the most important things I learned in the art of making friends.

    That we need to do things on a scale that will get results. Feeble efforts are almost guaranteed to lead us down a depressing path not only in friendships but in any endeavor.

    We may need to reach out way beyond the normal boundaries of our lives to find good friends.

    That hosting lots of events, attending other people’s events and taking our initiative in befriending others up to a whole new level we receive some serious benefits. Our social confidence grows by leaps and bounds, our social capacity grows and so to our social skills.

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