Why is it when we get older we find it more difficult to make friends? As we age, it seems we find and connect with people less and less frequently.
Ironically, as we get older and start to face different challenges you don’t experience until adulthood, it is when we need supportive friends the most - friends that can relate to what you are going through and support you in the right way through it.
Becoming a parent is lifechanging. It is the most incredible, overwhelming, exhaustingly beautiful thing you will ever experience. One that only people who have gone through (or are going through) can possibly relate.
There is an awakening rawness when it comes to mum friends. One that others can barely begin to relate to.
Arguably the most important friends you will ever make are the ones you made, got support from and supported through a difficult time.
In a raw and honest post on Mother.ly, a mum explains the loneliness that a lot of stay-at-home mums often feel.
“While I knew I was lucky to have everything I'd worked for—family, a new apartment, financial stability—I also knew that I had never felt so lonely.”
For some mums, going to a mum group may be the only time during the week where they speak to other adults. They might look forward to it and it helps get them through the week.
“As I mashed some pumpkin and peas and settled my daughter in her highchair for lunch, I realized I didn't have a single real friend in the entire state. A week went by."
"The house became messier. The dirty laundry pile expanded. And when I didn't go to my Pilates class, nobody texted. I knew I had to do something.”
As the piece accurately states - as we grow our needs change. What we need from a relationship and a friendship changes and we grow and learn along the way.
“We change and mature as we navigate different stages of our lives. And the people that we are in relationships with also change. Friendship fulfills needs. So as our needs change, so do our friendships."
But as we previously pointed out, making new friends as an adult can be challenging. First and foremost, where? And secondly, how? Children have no inhibitions, they incredibly will walk straight up to a peer and say ‘want to be friends?’ I wonder at what point along the way that we lose that openness, that fearlessness.
But there are ways to make friends even when you don’t feel like it. Join a group in an activity you enjoy. Make sure it’s a face to face group and not a social media group. Although social media can be great for a plethora of things including support and inclusion, there is nothing like real human interaction. It is beneficial in an array of ways.
“If you do something you are interested in, then you will meet like-minded people. If you don't know what you would like, try lots of things. And if you are moving to a new city, get involved in lots of things quickly, and meet lots of people. Then you can reduce the amount of activity and focus on doing the things you love the most, with people you really connect with."