The "It's too hard to make friends at this age" Thread - Social Anxiety Forum
 
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post #1 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-19-2019, 12:32 AM Thread Starter
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The "It's too hard to make friends at this age" Thread


This is more like a venting thread, but if it helps other people then hooray! I don't exactly diagnose myself as having SA but I have certainly experienced similar symptoms, yet surprisingly my years spent in isolation (due to an illness) have actually eroded many of those issues away. I no longer struggle to look people in the eye or engage them in conversation because I just don't care any more. I'm no longer scared of people.
However, I still struggle with rejection and the seemingly never ending cycle of not having friends. I recently tried to contact someone I went to high school with, who works in a similar field, this is rare that I initiate conversation and especially in regards to something career related, but I thought what the hell we should hit it off, right? He wasn't rude, pleasant enough, even mentioned networking, but didn't really ask me about me and my work, was more self oriented, and thus far the conversation hasn't progressed beyond simple chat.
I wasn't thinking that this person was going to be an automatic best friend, I was testing the waters to see if anything would come of it, but I'm disappointed that this isn't the first time I've tried connecting with someone and the conversation centers on them, and they seem disinterested in progressing things forward, even though the conversation is pleasant. I remember the last time I tried suggesting meeting up to someone I got rebuffed in an awkward terrible way so I'm weary to do it again. The problem mostly is that I cannot read someone's intentions through text alone, and nobody talks in person or on the phone anymore. I'm missing most of the tangible social cues, so how can I know whether people chatting casually with me on social media are happy to do so or are just killing time?
Why the hell are the 30's so weird for us and why do so many people in this age bracket just not give AF about making friends? I mean the internet is littered with articles about people crying about being friendless in their 30's, allegedly there are hundreds of thousands of us, so if they're out there then why aren't they trying harder? (Social anxiety sufferers aside )
I know what people will suggest, try Meetups or classes, but I went to a casual art class hoping that maybe people there might chat, everyone there that was my age had their earbuds in and were clearly not interested in socializing. I've been to concerts, festivals, places where the people go and nothing. Wth?
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post #2 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-19-2019, 01:17 AM
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I haven't figured this out quite yet.

I have made one friend that seems to have stuck from my course last year, but she lives in Manchester now, though I plan to visit her and we talk on whatsapp quite a bit, but really it just amounts to an online friendship. I have yet to try classes.. it seems like the best option, tbh, but my mood is so horrible atm I don't feel capable. We don't have meetups here.

Re your experience with classes, why limit things to your own age?

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post #3 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-19-2019, 01:24 AM
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Try to find an activity that requires interaction, instead of just an activity where people are around. I do board games and softball, and while I fail to make friends at it the opportunity is there and most of the other people there make friends with each other.

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post #4 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-19-2019, 01:37 AM
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post #5 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-19-2019, 04:50 AM
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People don't want friends anymore, they want fans and followers
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post #6 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-19-2019, 07:40 AM Thread Starter
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Ugh, I definitely wonder if social media has a play in it and people are just delusional and self obsessed but I don't want to be that dreary. I have tried other age groups but the younger kids around here (college town) are oftentimes super immature and annoying, and I've had good conversation with older people, particularly the elderly, but they seem to take this stance that I'm too young for them, like I'll try to initiate conversation with them and they only half engage and talk to me, I imagine, as if I were their grandchild lol. A very good friend who I only see occasionally lives in a big, bustling city, and she's complained of similar things. She's done the activity based meetups, board games, etc. and she says she's never made connections through any of it, people seem to go to these things if only to fill their time or they treat as a kind of entertainment. It's interesting to see the generational gap that exists, as I've never seen groups of 30's and 40's chatting in coffee shops, they're always alone and on their phone or computer, but I'll see hoards of old people socializing. I really hope I don't have to wait until I'm elderly to make solid connections with people. It's disheartening to overcome SA type symptoms, to get out there and try and fail repeatedly. And while I wonder what I'm doing wrong, I don't think it's just me, I'm pleasant, articulate and I often encourage people to talk, I'm not rude or pushy, I think people have just grown to be really, really lazy.
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post #7 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-19-2019, 09:07 AM
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I think part of it is that older people are retired, so their focus has shifted. People in their 30s are generally preoccupied with their careers and their families, so they already have a lot on their plate. They may not have the time or energy to make new friendships beyond the people they work with. By the time people retired, they're done with their careers and raising their families, so they're more interested in making social connnections. But they're also generally going to be more interested in people their own age because they have more in common with them.

I've said this a lot on here, but most of it is a numbers game. Unless you have SAD, it's easy to make friends when you're young and in school, because you're surrounded by people your own age. It gets harder when you finish school and you're out in the workforce, because your pool becomes a lot smaller. If you spend most of your time at home, it just becomes that much harder.

I don't think people's relationship needs have changed. People today have the same needs people had 100 years ago. It's just that they can get some of those needs satisfied through online interactions and social media so there's less urgency to make connections IRL. I think it's like the difference between a homemade meal (real-life social interaction) vs microwave dinner (social media). Homecooked meals generally taste better, and are better for you, but people are busy, and they're lazy, and a microwave dinner is "good enough", so they just keep giving in to convenience instead of putting in the extra effort to make RL connections. I think online dating has had the same sort of impact on relationships.

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post #8 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-19-2019, 05:36 PM
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Yeah, ever since I left school it's become more and more isolating. My teen years weren't great but I had 3 friends that gave me a bit of confidence and we had fun. The problem was I still wasn't good one on one so I didn't get married and they did. Nowadays I have no life, no friends, and feel no connection to pop culture. It's very depressing
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post #9 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-19-2019, 05:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by funnynihilist View Post
People don't want friends anymore, they want fans and followers
For real! It feels that way to me too. That IG life I've become more cynical in my old age. lol

It just feels like people have already established their inner circles by this point, so when I try to get close, I get left with some social media account and become another number on their friendslist with this expectation to follow or like their stuff. People seem to have a hard time opening themselves up or confiding anymore either. Like it's all about keeping up an image and being this, I don't know, lifestyle worthy example of someone interesting to model yourself after. People shouldn't have to worry about exhibitionism and then wonder why nobody gets to know the 'real' them.

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post #10 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-19-2019, 06:01 PM
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For real! It feels that way to me too. That IG life I've become more cynical in my old age. lol

It just feels like people have already established their inner circles by this point, so when I try to get close, I get left with some social media account and become another number on their friendslist with this expectation to follow or like their stuff. People seem to have a hard time opening themselves up or confiding anymore either. Like it's all about keeping up an image and being this, I don't know, lifestyle worthy example of someone interesting to model yourself after. People shouldn't have to worry about exhibitionism and then wonder why nobody gets to know the 'real' them.
Isn't it funny that the internet and social media were supposed to bring us together. It's done the total opposite. Everyone is isolated and just **** talks people online.
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post #11 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-19-2019, 06:15 PM
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As technology advances, I firmly think that you shall notice more people becoming socially isolated. As it stands now, more people would rather be left alone than I have ever witnessed in my life. At some point, even social media will start to dry up as people would prefer to spend time with an AI that matches your personality better than any person could. I mean, what do people really get from social media? Once that need is fulfilled, by a simulated intelligence, why would it continue to exist? It is very interesting to think about, a lot of people of course, will completely dismiss that, saying they would rather just deal with real people, but I think a large portion of humanity will be completely at ease with having NPCs filling the roles of friends.

I always think it is weird, to see these futurist visions of what life will be like, they always have people socializing with one another, gathering together at places, hanging out, and so on. In these worlds, it is like a utopia, where everyone gets along well together, and it is really just foolish.. I don't think people will ever get along well with one another, I think it is human nature, that people will find fault with one another. I imagine, more than likely we will be self confined to small boxes, hooked up into virtual worlds, and not likely to hang out with others at all, except when required to. I don't envision a future, with magnificent buildings, and people just frolicking together, I imagine most people would rather just hang out with a simulated intelligence, that never hurts them, provides a constant stream of entertainment, and fulfills all of the roles that people do.

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post #12 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-19-2019, 06:19 PM
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@DeliveryDude @zonebox Yeah it's interesting to me too. More people would rather cancel plans or choose to not make them at all in favor of watching films on Netflix all weekend. Not that I'm mocking it since I do this too lol moreso out of anxiety. But just that people are opting out of talking or relating to other people in favor of serving the self. Which we all need that sometimes, just I don't know, it seems like it's making us more isolated as a whole, rather than effectively bringing us together. Which is a shame since I want to work more toward moving outward and getting to know others.

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post #13 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-19-2019, 08:10 PM
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Ya I don't know how to make friends either after college; not so much in class but in the student housing dorm rooms. You would see new people every day in the break room and they are in the exact same position you are in. like I don't know after school when you have a job and maybe your own house, maybe trying to get a wife and kids no one wants to go out of there way and put in the time it takes to find new friendships.
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post #14 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-19-2019, 08:32 PM
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Well Im 41 and it does not get easier once you hit 40. Friends are tough to make. Have plenty of work acquaintances I chat with when im at work but no real "friends". Once you get out of school its just a lot tougher. People have their own careers / families and its tough to break through all that stuff.

Meetup groups do work well. Better then anything else I can think of right now. I play in a sports league which I have meant some cool people.
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post #15 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-19-2019, 09:02 PM
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I have fortunately been able to make some casual friends despite being an asocial, bitter, awkward, and abrasive fart.

It was a lot worse when young IMO. You're confined to a certain social group day in, day out, and you don't have the freedom or money to choose otherwise. You find your clique quickly or you're frozen out.
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post #16 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-20-2019, 02:02 PM
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Yep... I work around people all day running labs, workshops, and soon coordinating volunteers, and it's still taking a long time to get to know people at this job. The main women around me are in their early 20's and I feel more like I'm trying to anchor their nervousness sometimes.

A lot of the people I've "befriended" since really improving a couple years ago disappeared. One board game group would make excuses about plans, etc, after the first time we met if anyone brought it up. One girl flaked so many times I gave up. One guy just stopped responding. Only one person and his siblings stuck, but being dependent on a small group for friendship blows. If they can't hang out for a few weeks, welp.

People get busy, cynical, and have families.

I do find that "drop-in" hangouts for tabletop games, etc, are nice. Just a place to meet people consistently without paying 50-100's of dollars for things like classes. Many I go to are free.
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post #17 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-20-2019, 02:37 PM
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I'm not allowed to have friends.
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post #18 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-20-2019, 03:50 PM
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Friends, does anyone want to be friends ?






And all our yesterdays have lighted fools the way to dusty death
Out, out, brief candle! Life's but a walking shadow,
A poor player that strut's and fret's his hour upon the stage and is heard no more,
It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.
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post #19 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-22-2019, 05:50 PM
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Technically I don't belong in this section, but believe me, it's getting younger for this type of epidemic to happen. The only time that people want to connect is when it is something that benefits them. Even for the people I had known since we were in diapers it was the same way.
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post #20 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-22-2019, 09:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CNikki View Post
Technically I don't belong in this section, but believe me, it's getting younger for this type of epidemic to happen. The only time that people want to connect is when it is something that benefits them. Even for the people I had known since we were in diapers it was the same way.
I have seen this happen myself, sadly.

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