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Making Friends As an Adult is Tough
I didn’t know how to make new friends after divorce. It was a surreal and intimidating experience.
The day I separated from my ex-husband, was also the day that I learned who my true friends were. Unfortunately, this also included family.
My best friends slowly disappeared into the shadows and kept their distance from me. Some family members stopped communicating with me.
I was that person who ruined the ideal happily ever after… for them.
This broke me, you know. I thought my friends and I would grow old together. That our kids would grow up as family, and that we would have that friendship that Carrie and her mates over at Sex in the City had. I was wrong.
Over the years before my ex and I separated, I confided in my friends. They cried with me when I was upset, and calmed me when I was angry.
I was surprised (and hurt) when they turned away. It was silent… but the message came across loud and clear.
Some days, I was weak. I longed for them. I missed us chatting daily, laughing about things only we found funny; and so I would reach out to them. They took my olive branches, and we would make plans to catch up; but every time, they let go of my branches and I would be left wondering if the momentary hope was worth it. So I finally took the message and kept my distance.
Making friends when you’re older is hard. You’re working, you’ve got family commitments, staying up late is difficult, and finding a baby sitter that your kids love is a test you’re bound to fail.
I mean, sure I’ve got friends; but not the kind whose disappearance from my life will make any difference. Gosh, I sound so sad! It may well be even harder than finding a match on Tinder – There is no app for you to swipe right!
We always tell our children that it’s good to make friends. We push them out into the great wide world and force them to share their toys, their cookies, and their friendship. Why then is it so hard for adults to make friends?
Asking a new acquaintance to hang out is weird. There is no less than awkward way of saying, “Do you wanna hang out?” If you do muster up the courage to ask them, you then worry about how it’s going to go.
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Friendship Requires Work
You can’t just sit and wait for a friend to fall onto your lap – and if for any reason they do; you’ve still got to make the effort and make it work. Is it worth it?
So, recently made a new friend. We hit it off – we have similar life experiences. We both have kids; we both have new partners; and we both felt like shunned members of society for leaving our ex-husbands.
For a week or so, we would send each other text messages – “How are you? How’s your day been? What are you up to? What about the weather?” I think we both new that we needed to get past that awkward phase and just do it.
“Would you like to meet up for coffee? Partner and children?” she asked.
Like an idiot, I panicked. “What do I do?” I asked Wayne. It was like a going out on a first date.
So we all met up for brunch. We chatted. The children were all shy around each other, but we used them and fawned over them to cover up moments of silence – as you do.
I think it’s safe to say that we all enjoyed our time together. We talked until we were kicked out of the restaurant. “I don’t mean to be pushy,” the waiter said, “but how long do you think you’ll need the table for?”
So we said our goodbyes, hugged each other, and made plans for another catch up.
When Wayne and I go home – like two teenagers, we talked about how it went. “Did I talk too much? Did that sound stupid? Do you think they had a good time?”
It’s funny when you think about it. I’m still giggling about how stupid I was being; but I do think that I’ve made a new friend worth keeping.
How Do You Make Friends After Separation or Divorce?
So how do you do it? I’m a stay at home mum and meeting people is not something that is an easy thing. Apart from my fur baby, Evie, I’m on my own the whole day.
7 Easy Ways to Make Friends After Divorce
- Join local community or interest groups – kinda like joining a book club! But be sure to join something that you are genuinely interested in.
- Volunteer – When you volunteer, there is a greater chance that you meet lots of like-minded people.
- Make a Friend at Work – have you given the people at work a chance?
- Attend networking events – similarly, you can sign up for networking events. You never know how you’ll get to meet.
- Have a play date – if you have little kids, organizing play dates can be a great way to meet other parents.
- Get active at your child’s school and join some committees – if you have the time to spare, maybe joining a parent committee at school might be a good option to try.
- If you have a dog, join a dog meet up – Going to the dog park can be a great way to meet people. As a bonus, your dog get to make new friends too!
How do YOU make friends?