December 19 13

I am lonely.

I’m not alone, of course.

Just lonely.

When I was in school, making friends was easy. Elementary school, high school, university. You spend the majority of your days with others and you just naturally find your people. You find the friends to commiserate with, to work on projects with, to ogle over cute boys with, to go Doc Martens shopping with, to spend your free periods with, to spend hours on the phone while studying and watching Friends with.

When I worked in an office, making friends was easy. You spend the majority of your days with other editors and you find the friends who take you for special potatoes, want to talk about scotch and board games, the ones to eat lunch in the cafeteria with, the ones who’ll convince you to start playing softball.

In fact, I still have such good memories of friends I made when I was five and friends I made when I was twenty-five. I still keep in touch with many, and I often think about the ones I have lost touch with.

When you are 35 years old, you work from home, you don’t play an organized sport, have a best friend who broke up with you, don’t have time to volunteer or even regularly make it to synagogue, and spend almost 95% of your non-work time taking your children to various extra-curricular activities and working on a very exciting photography adventure, making friends is just not easy.

So I’m lonely.

Not alone. I have a lot of good people in my life—people I really enjoy.

But lonely.

There are lots of natural friendship factors working against me, I realize. My family doesn’t live near me—they don’t even live in the same country. Many of my people are scattered all over the world. I work too hard. My kids are no longer babies. Lots of my friends have jobs and kids and are just as busy as I am. We have moved a few times. We have switched schools a few times. We have couple friends who are no longer couples. We made some significant changes to our religious practices.

I don’t drink wine.

And, well, I am not a phone person. 

So, how does one go about making friends at 35? Is it even possible? I mean, I like to shop, to eat, to drink coffee, to see movies. I like to watch sports and go bowling—I am from Wisconsin, you know. I’m a good listener and a fairly decent advice-giver. I’m honest when you want me to be and less honest when I know you want me to tell you how good your bum looks in those jeans. I have a built-in almost-13-year-old babysitter. I like to drink, but would totally be your designated driver so you could drink—and I probably need botox more than you do.

ali-alchohol

And I would even become a phone person. 

 

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  1. I have no idea how to make friends. I was just talking about this with a co-worker. We were out for a going away party and I was like “we should hang out! It’s hard to make friends as adults!” She was all for it, but then people have lives and it feels so weird to now go up to her and ask her to hang out. Ugh. Sucks.

    I’ll just move there and then problem solved!

    [Reply]

    Comment by Kristabella on December 19, 2013
  2. Okay, I am way to overseas to truly snap you up… but would love to.

    [Reply]

    Comment by Kelly Bos on December 19, 2013
  3. If we could just live closer to each other I feel like it would solve a lot of problems. I too am lonely down here.

    [Reply]

    ali replied on

    Distance is dumb. End of story.

    [Reply]

    Comment by Jen on December 19, 2013
  4. Oh and let me tell you about how it took 13 weeks of gymnastics for me to screw up the courage to give another mom my phone number. It will take me another 13 weeks to actually text her to try to get together.

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    Meghan replied on

    Jen, you sound like DJ. It took him 6 weeks to call me after meeting me. ;0)

    [Reply]

    Comment by Jen on December 19, 2013
  5. When you figure this one out be sure to post about it! It’s one of the things that terrifies me about moving to another country with only my boyfriend.

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    Comment by shannon on December 19, 2013
  6. You are hands down one of my favourite people on the planet. Come over so we can watch Jem and drink Scotch!! My door is open. xoxo

    [Reply]

    Comment by Kat on December 19, 2013
  7. Ali our Jude Law date isn’t until the spring but there is a great Scottish pub near my place with a whiskey tasting on January 21st! You in? :)

    [Reply]

    ali replied on

    YES!

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    Comment by Sandy on December 19, 2013
  8. I feel you. I make friends now through comedy, but working from home with many of my good friends living in my computer makes it difficult.

    That’s why I love the phone. I can talk for hours. And I would totally call you all the time if I thought you’d talk!

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    Comment by Avitable on December 19, 2013
  9. I so relate this this. It is hard. I’ve only just met a mom of my kids’ friends and started hanging out with her. But it’s still so hard to build that friendship when you have a chance to get together once every few weeks.

    Also, I miss you and have. I advice. Just that I can relate and we need a junk food and Full House day with Gav reading the Internet. So bad.

    [Reply]

    Comment by Sam on December 19, 2013
  10. Whew. I welled up a bit after reading that because I am in the same boat…and I could have written this post. Not as nicely as you did, but, you know :)

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    Comment by Gwen on December 19, 2013
  11. Sigh. I have the exact same problem. Well except I have two amazing best friends…they just happen to live on either sides of the country, while I’m in the middle of it. It sucks. I have no clue how to make friends and I too, am lonely. Very.

    [Reply]

    Comment by Issa on December 19, 2013
  12. I hear you, sista. I really do. I do work outside of the home, and just 1 (growing) baby, but I’m naturally pretty shy and reserved, always have been, and I also know there aren’t a lot of people like me, not to mention it takes me quite a while to warm up to people, to trust them enough to allow them in. It’s really not easy. I’ve been reading your blog for a long time, and I think you’re wonderful, so let me know if you ever want to become long-distance pen pals, hehe. ;)

    [Reply]

    Comment by Lisa on December 19, 2013
  13. Man, I agree, this is super super hard. Having moved 4 times in the past 6 years, I feel like I’m constantly starting over with friendships. The best advice I have is too push yourself. I am naturally pretty introverted and it’s very difficult for me to strike up a conversation with people I don’t know. But the odd time you meet someone who you click with and I’ve learned it’s really important not to let those opportunities slip by. And if it feels awkward, it’s ok to say that! I think it is (or at least it should be) ok to say “Listen, I know we don’t know each other that well, but I’ve really enjoyed visiting with you. Would you like to have coffee/go see a movie/etc. some time?” And then follow through. Most nice people are totally understanding if you say you’ve just been dying for some adult conversation and it’s flattering to have someone say they like you. Right? And if they react weirdly, well, they’re not the kind of people you probably want to be friends with anyway! ;) Also, try something new that interests you. Volunteer for an organization that you find meaningful, try to get to know your kids’ friends parents, take a class and learn a new skill. Those are ways to start to get to know new people. And finally, be patient. It takes years to make really close friendships. But you have to start somewhere! I’m one year into my most recent home location and I feel like I’m just starting to scratch the surface of making new friends. It’s hard. I feel lonely too. Too bad I’m not in the same part of the province as you! ;)

    [Reply]

    Comment by Shannon on December 19, 2013
  14. I so totally hear you on this (she types while sitting alone eating lunch at the mall). Move to the Okanagan?

    [Reply]

    Comment by Angella on December 19, 2013
  15. Yes. Yes to all of it. Like you I can list the situational reasons why but it’s still the same result – not alone but lonely. If it wasn’t for social media, it’d be brutal!

    I don’t want a zillion local pals – just a few to really connect with. When you’ve moved a few times and don’t have a regular paid work job out of the home, it’s a challenge.

    And it’s even harder when you have different interests.

    [Reply]

    Comment by Sandra on December 19, 2013
  16. When those movies come on with all those ladies who are best friends, who always do stuff together, who’ve known each other so well, they might as well be sisters… I cry. I’d like a few people in my life like that.

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    ali replied on

    Exactly this. 1000%

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    Comment by Shash on December 19, 2013
  17. This post really hits home with me. I am also 35, newish to a new area, and no longer the other half of a couple. My ex husband and I were together since I was 17 years old when I chose to leave I lost friends. I think I am a fun gal. I would love to find someone to go to Target with.

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    Comment by amanda gee on December 19, 2013
  18. I’m with Jen, we all really do need to live closer. It would make things so much easier.

    xo

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    Heather replied on

    YESSSS Hurry up and come here to us.

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    Comment by Meghan on December 19, 2013
  19. I totally relate to this in many ways. Not to sound like a broken record, but if you guys lived closer I think our families would mesh well with all of our shared interests. The downside to that is you’d be ever farther away from family and I know how difficult that can be. Let us know if you ever find the proper balance.

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    Comment by Hockeymandad on December 19, 2013
  20. I’m your friend. I like almost all those things except the sports and the bowling and I would keep whisky in the house if you would come over regularly and drink it.

    That is, if you would want to hang out with an old lady.

    PS I get really lonely too. When I actually leave my house I will talk to just about anyone and I had an event that I went to myself because I couldn’t find anyone to go with me.

    [Reply]

    Comment by mara on December 19, 2013
  21. I was talking about this with a co-worker. It’s hard and it sucks and there’s a part of me that’s just totally given up. I console myself with the knowledge that there are people who think I’m hilarious and awesome SOMEWHERE in the world… Just not HERE.

    [Reply]

    Comment by Rachael on December 19, 2013
  22. 36 here and I feel the same way. I miss my college friends deeply. :(

    [Reply]

    Comment by Tammi Marie on December 19, 2013
  23. I don’t know, isn’t this just a natural progression of getting older and having families of our own? How easy is it to have close friends your hang with all the time, like we did in college? I think people tend to have acquaintances, or, really ‘good’ friends that they don’t see all the time. I am lucky that living in my small, beautiful town by the water in the outskirts on Montreal that I grew up in, I have many many people I would call friends. But, I understand what you’re saying, it’s that special bestie you miss, and I think the more often we get burned by a bestie, the more cautious we are in making one. So, my advice to you would be to get to know better those friends that make you feel good to be around, that share your interests, life style etc. and really work on getting closer to them. I think to an extent we choose how close we get to people. So take up that offer for a movie, a glass of wine, go to the theatre with a friend .. Hey, if I actually had ever me you in real life, I would want to be your friend. You have a great life and you’re an interesting person!

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    Comment by Sarah on December 19, 2013
  24. Or …glass of Guiness ha ha

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    Comment by Sarah on December 19, 2013
  25. I am right here with you on this one! I was just mentioning this very thing to my husband the other day. I miss having girlfriends like that too. And I take responsibility for it, I became a bit of a recluse. Hate the phone, but its going to be my New Year’s Resolution to put myself back out there, pick up the phone and make the effort.

    [Reply]

    Comment by Erica on December 20, 2013
  26. I too know how you feel. Had a few close friendships end recently. My best friend – my sister – lives in the U.S.
    I’m not a fan of the phone either – would much rather meet up for drinks or a coffee. Plus my kids always decide to sit on my lap when I’m on the phone and talk loudly.
    Everyone is always so ‘busy’ it seems :/ It’s tough!
    Coffee this winter?

    [Reply]

    Comment by Maria on December 21, 2013
  27. Hi Ali,

    This was a great post – so true for so many.

    I am not shy and will ask people I have met or gotten to know to get together outside of the activity or group where we met. I liked hearing the comments from the shy people who admitted to being afraid to say yes or return the communication. I have had some people not respond or take quite sometime to reply and thought that they probably just weren’t as interested in hanging out with me as I was with them. I realize now that perhaps they were just shy… I mean what’s not to like about me?! Ok kidding. I am not narcissistic.

    All this being said I do consider myself a catch of a friend ;)… (I really am an ok person, ask around. I believe we know some of the same people)…and would gladly meet you coffee anytime. I too work from home and sometimes miss the external socializing that comes from working in building other than the one I sleep in…

    Soooo you have my email. Reach out if you want that coffee…

    Lyndsay

    [Reply]

    Comment by Lyndsay Jenkinson on December 21, 2013
  28. Ah, it seems like a lot of people are in this same place, especially those of us in our 30s (I’m also 35). I don’t even have kids or a partner as an excuse for having no time to meet people. It’s just hard to do.

    Sigh

    [Reply]

    Comment by april on December 22, 2013
  29. […] Bike more. Emotionally eat less. Find a good hair solution for a hard water situation. Start the Making Friends project. Pick up more freelance writing and editing gigs. Use my camera every day. Actually bake […]

    Pingback by RESOLUTIONing. Ish. | Cheaper Than Therapy on December 31, 2013
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