Making friends as an adult is so much harder than when you were able to just tell someone that you really like them and want them to be your best friend forever!
In my experience, making genuine friends as an adult is really difficult, even more so if you lack confidence and are not used to socialising. The problem is that most adults already have their groups of friends which they are then trying to juggle, along with all of the many other things in life such as work, motherhood, running a home and self-care, that adding new friends is not something at the front of their minds.
In everyday life I know a lot of people to speak to, should I bump into them, but that is as far as it goes. When it comes to having a few close friends like you see on tv shows, where they share life’s ups and downs and can depend on each other, I have none. Of course, I have my family, but in terms of friends, I do not really have any proper friends. There are people who I speak to at work, there are the ladies I meet with once a week to play darts and there are people from uni, but these are more associates than friends as I do not see or speak to them outside of work, darts or uni.
Maybe I give the impression to people that I do not actually want to be friends, as in the past people have made comments such as ‘you like to keep to yourself, don’t you’ which is ironic as I always try so hard to fit in and make friends with people. Or am I just so jaded from past experiences that I subconsciously put up walls to stop people from getting too close? I wonder if this is just me or if other people have the same problems. The main problem I find when trying to make new friends is that I do not understand how to turn the relationship from acquaintance to friendship or if the person in question even really likes me. They may just be being polite and putting up with me! So for example, I joined a ladies darts team to try and make some friends and all the ladies are lovely and I really enjoy my Tuesday nights, but we do not speak between Tuesdays and if we have a season break, I do not see or hear from anyone. This is where my little voice in the back of my head starts telling me that it is because they do not really like me! Now the logical me would say that I should ask them to do something and see what they say, but fear takes over as I think to myself, if they wanted to see me during the week then they would ask. Therefore if I ask them they will either reject me or feel obliged to meet up with me but be doing so out of politeness. This is where I long for the days that I was six years old and it was perfectly normal to just say to someone ‘Do you like me?’ and the answer would be an honest yes or no!
So if you manage to make some friends, what makes a good friendship?
I think that a good friend is someone that you like but they are not necessarily the same as you (opposites can attract). They are there for you when you need to vent, cry or just need a hug and they know that you too are there for them. They want you to do well and celebrate your successes with you as you do them. You speak on the phone or text regularly and meet up for coffee or whatever you like to do with your friends when you can as you understand that you each have busy lives. You respect each other but you also have fun and laugh together.
A good friend should not;
Make every conversation all about them and their dramas, never even asking how you are and what’s new for you.
Only want to do something with you when they have nothing better to do.
Expect you to make all of the effort in the friendship all of the time.
Only be around to share in the good times and then when you are struggling with something completely disappear.
Only be your friend while you are working together or in the same group, ending your friendship when it is no longer convenient for them.
Yes, I have encountered all of these friendships over the years and a lot worse but that is a story for another day.
Looking at my list for a good friendship I wonder if I am asking for too much? Are my expectations too high? If people really do have these great friendships then how did they become friends? Moving forward from this point I guess I have discovered that I still need to work on improving my own self-confidence and reducing that little negative voice of fear that hides in the back of my mind before I can really connect with others and strike up some great longlasting friendships.
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