Making friends as an adult is a bit different and dare I say difficult, unless it’s just me who is rubbish at it?!
I am beginning to think, that as a parent if you don’t make friends with the other parents when your children are babies or toddlers, then you’ve probably missed the boat. Midway through the primary school years everyone seems to either have reached their friend quota for life, or they’ve gone back to working full-time and barely have time to drive between after school clubs and spend time with their own friends let alone spend time getting to know new people.
Then when they’re in secondary school like my own boys, you never see the other parents at all. You may never meet their friend’s parents unless you insist on meeting them when dropping your tween/teen off for a sleepover. A quick five-minute chat on their doorstep doesn’t really seem the time to try to broach the subject of whether they also wish they had someone to pop for a coffee with.
It was so easy when I was a child myself to make friends. You would literally say “would you like to be my friend?” and hope that they said yes or even better they would ask you. Simple done and dusted, that ‘yes’ was like an official contract of friendship. Or you made it even more official and sent them a note with the same question written down and two tick boxes, one for yes and a much tinier one for no. You knew where you stood back then.
Whereas as an adult it is more subtle and about hinting about whether the person might want to come over for, or go out for coffee some time? They usually say yes out of politeness and then ‘forget’ to ever set a time and a place. The good old phantom cuppa.
Tweens and teens who are now using Instagram, request to follow or be friends with all sorts of people who go to their school or are friends with their friends, and the child on the other end of it pretty much always accepts. It’s an ego boost for them to have or look to have lots of followers and friends. Who doesn’t want to seem popular at that age?!
As an adult it is a bit different. You um and ah about whether to click to add that Mum/Dad you know from school/football/friend of a friend etc as a friend on Facebook. Will you look like a weirdo stalker? Will they actually remember who you are? Then once you get up the courage to click ‘add friend’ they completely ignore the request. You can see them commenting on mutual friends’ posts, so you KNOW they have been online and seen your request.
The virtual version of the cold shoulder, they’re too polite to click to cancel your request as you’ll know, but they won’t accept. Because they think you (I am so talking about me here FYI) are a bit weird, that you talk too much, they have no idea who you are or they remember that one time when you were really drunk and kept telling them that you liked their face. Honestly when it comes to friend making I am my worst enemy, I just say what I think and forget that most people have more of a ‘filter’.
Or they accept your request on social media and then neither of you ever comment on anything the other person posts and you never message. You exist in each other’s friends’ lists, but eventually you both forget the other one is there or even who they are. Or you/they discreetly at some point de-friend the other and hope that they don’t notice.
This is possibly why so many of my friends that I do have (99% of them) are fellow bloggers that I mostly speak to online. I’m not sure if I seem more ‘normal’ online or if they are a little bit weird like me. Does anyone else get complete verbal diarrhoea when nervous or feeling shy? I wish I was one of the shy people who become quieter, instead I’m the person who seems extra confident and possibly just a bit…odd.
It is even harder to make new friends when you work from home and don’t have the work colleague relationships to fall back on. I’m always reading posts online in forums and social media how lonely people are, stay at home Mums in particular. I have read loads of blog posts from other bloggers saying how lonely they feel and how hard they find it to make friends.
If there are so many people out there desperate to make friends, why then is it just so hard to do?! Answers on a postcard please ha! Seriously though any tips for my readers who may be just as rubbish as I am at making friends?!
Also if that lonely seeming Mum (or Dad before anyone pipes up) at school asks you for to go for a coffee, maybe just be nice and go and see how it goes. Maybe you’ll make a new friend and maybe you’ll make their day just that little bit less lonely.