Female friendships as an adult

posted 2 weeks ago in The Lounge
Post # 2
Member
722 posts
Busy bee

Caroline1 :  

I can definitely relate to this, and I know others can as well, so it’s not just you.

I have had many new friends fade or flake over the years (not even just women, by the way), to the point that I almost expect it. I had a woman I was best friends with (saw each other nearly every weekend, every week for dinner, told each other everything) for five years fade out on me completely when she started hanging out a lot more with another woman friend and met the man she went on to marry two years later. When I asked her about it, she said she had no excuse, just said she’d been busy. She eventually moved and *poof* never heard from again, even though I tried to get in touch.

I have plenty of other stories of shorter or less close friendships who also just suddenly lose interest or effort for the friendship.

It’s to the point where I almost expect it of people – my personal belief is that it’s a combination of the stresses and exhaustion of adult/modern life and the self-absorption which seems to dominate a huge number of people. I find a lot of people just don’t put a lot of effort into friendships generally, so don’t necessarily take it personally.

It gets me down a bit, but the way I deal with it is two-fold – When it comes to an important event, like a birthday celebration, where I want my friends there, I put minimal pressure on people and on myself. I basically tell them (and myself) I’d love you to be there, and if you can come, great. If you can’t, c’est la vie. I tell myself that I won’t let people’s presence or lack of presence interfere with my enjoyment of the day, and that I’ll celebrate with whoever wants to join me and makes the effort to come. I’m usually pleasantly surprised.

I also treasure and value those few friends who do make the effort and who are true loyal and lasting friends.

Finally, you might want to consider looking for friends in different places. I’ve noticed friendships tend to last longer when you have deeper things, like passions, interests and values, in common.

Post # 3
Member
1191 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: January 2021 - City, State

Oh yeah, happens to me too. It’s so hard to make friends as an adult, I find it especially difficult when I don’t like things which are expected of my gender. So I enjoy action movies and rock music so find it much more difficult. I’ve managed to make a new friend this year though.

 

i sometimes really want to try harder to make more friends but I’ve no idea where to start 

 

huzzah! 

Post # 4
Member
1965 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: April 2018

Try inviting flakes like this to your wedding & then 18 months later you never hear from them. Then you think why did I even invite you?!

Post # 5
Member
911 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2019 - City, State

Just came to say that you’re not alone. I also struggle to make new friends. I also respect myself, and don’t keep shitty people around just for the sake of having someone to talk to, so my circle is VERY small.

It sucks, but a certain friend of mine has made a new friend (that just happens to live directly behind her on the other side of the backyard) and started “playing” socially with some light drugs. Nothing that I see to be especially harmful (weed, some of the THC oils, etc.), but she would never have tried that 3 years ago. This new friend is also sleeping with another woman’s husband, and has children who visciously act out in school. I’m currently debating whether or not it’s acceptable to limit my time with MY friend out of self-preservation. 

Adulting is tough. Best of luck.

Post # 6
Member
950 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2017

I find that you need to adjust your friendship expectations when you’re making friends as an adult. People are more busy and are more likely to put in the effort when you’re participating in a shared hobby/experience rather than just hanging out.  (Goes back to lack of time) I’ve done meetup on and off as an adult for for about 12 years now and I’ve walked away with 3 really good friends and about a thousand casual acquaintances.  Which i think is normal as an adult. 

Post # 7
Member
795 posts
Busy bee

Caroline1 :  I really know how you feel.

I think it’s hard to make friends as an adult and also hard to maintain friendships. I think also, we sort of get set in our ways and routine the older you get and it’s hard not to unless you make a concious effort NOT to do that. 

I wish I had a better answer than this, but all I can say is you are definitely not alone!

Post # 8
Member
1337 posts
Bumble bee

You’re not alone in this, during my late twenties I lost a lot of friendships. I met my fiancée when I was 25 and after a couple of years we began to save up for a deposit for our house, that meant I couldn’t yes to everything my friends wanted to do all the time, something as the perpetually single friend I had done from 18-27.

As time went on I realised that for most of these people if I agreed to do what they wanted, no questions asked, then they were happy and everything was fine, but if I said no due to money or suggested something cheaper to save money (which they were well aware of why I was doing that) suddenly it would be a huge issue and they would refuse. There was no give or take or compromise at all, it was their way or nothing. Eventually the friendships faded and I guess I was “phased out” as I wasn’t fulfilling the role they wanted me to anymore.

I still have my childhood best friend who I see about once a month and a few other friends I see less frequently due to our busy schedules and distance, but I miss having a friend I speak to every day and see every week. Making friends as an adult is hard, I feel like I’ve also now become sceptical of people and a bit jaded due to feeling like I was essentially “dumped” by people I spent 9 years of my life making memories with and investing in because I wasn’t their “fun time yes man” anymore. 

 

Post # 9
Member
1842 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2016

I recommend this book: https://www.amazon.com/Friendships-Dont-Just-Happen-GirlFriends/dp/1618580140/ref=cm_cr_arp_d_product_top?ie=UTF8 

I didn’t read it myself, but I went to a session about it. It was very insightful, and I want to read the full book too.

But it basically says that we have friends at different levels of closeness. The ones that you meet at a class or something through a shared interest might hang out with you after that yoga class or whatever, but once that shared interest is gone, they probably will be too. That’s a much lower level than a committed BFF who you see twice a year but pick right back up. And both of those are different than a close group who you see often. There were 5 or so different classifications, and the book describes how you can “move people up” a level and invest in your friendships.

Post # 10
Member
528 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2019

I agree that it’s very hard to make friends as an adult, specifically I think it’s harder for women than men. Here are my conclusions as to why. 

– Most adults already have their core group of people that are their support system. Be that a best friend, family relationships, a significant other. 

– These support systems take work and time and commitment and emotional energy to keep those relationships healthy. These are the people talked to probably daily, who need x time spent with etc. who when they need help you drop everything to help.

– So people with support systems while open to new friendships don’t necessarily rely on them as much, don’t value them as much maybe, and when any pressure from that new friend happens or their life gets busy at all, they drop the person or people that aren’t the core support system. 

– I wouldn’t say it’s fair or right, but I think when people get dropped by a newish friend it is because they aren’t valued that much. It sucks to hear but to me it feel obvious that if someone has a core group that meets their needs, and takes x amount of work to maintain, the new friends aren’t necessary and are expendable. 

– I myself have had friends that I genuinely had a great time spending time with, but never wanted a super deep friendship, but more of a light friendship that involved attending shared interest events with. Did I want to deal with their personal drama? Or be a part of their core support system? No. Does that make me a bad person? I don’t think so. I don’t think every friend needs to be a core one. 

 

Post # 11
Member
834 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2019 - Turkey

Same here, in my opinion almost all of the relationships has been come and go. I myself too have some close friends from high school. We started as a group of 5 and ended up 3 at the moment but regardless we always have good feelings towards each other and have each other’s back when needed. 

At the university I’ve had many “fake” relationships. Most of them were like friends with benefit minus the sexual references ofc. I’ve had some female friendships that felt like would never end but not so surprisingly people change and there are consequences of it. 

3 wears ago, we got really close with twoof my uni friends because we were all going through a hard breakup, and we bonded in a way that we’d talk everyday, visit each other, go to holidays together, swim at sea at night holding hands, us three girls.

Fast forward now, two of us got married now. The other girl pursued a fashion career and got into Instagram and stuff. So, she changed so much, that I don’t appreciate what she does mpt of the time. We’re split apart. 

I guess when you grow up it’s more easy to cut loose a person, that’s why there are friends, come and go. As much as I’d love to make more friends, I’m not actively looking for it anymore. 

Post # 12
Member
7413 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: October 2014

Adult friendships are a lot more passive than childhood friendships. Everyone is busy and has a ton of demands on their time, and friendships usually get de-prioritized since they’re not the same kind of pressure/deadline that work or other commitments are. You have to learn to accept that sometimes friendships get a little disconnected. As long as they revive now and then, everything’s fine. 

The  rom/com-inspired group of women meeting weekly to shop, giggle and drink wine together just doesn’t exist. And that’s ok. Losing track of each other for a while happens. Most folks reconnect eventually.

Post # 13
Member
2508 posts
Sugar bee

I’m only in touch with one high school friend (and barely) so I guess most of my friends I’ve made as an adult. But with only a couple exceptions, I’ve made them through school (college or grad school) or through work — which I think are easier situations because typically you’re going to be around these people for long periods of time for a bond to forge. 

I’ve never made lasting friends over things like shared hobbies – honestly that seems harder because hobbiess are rather superficial and once you stop doing the hobby, it makes sense to me that you may struggle to have things to talk about, or that maybe one person was mainly in it for the companionship of doing the activity together.

What about, instead of putting your eggs in one basket with these solo friends, trying out something like a book club, where you’d get together with a group of women? That might increase your odds of finding someone like-minded in a low pressure scenario, and presumably everyone there is looking for a greater sense of community. 

Post # 14
Member
722 posts
Busy bee

Some interesting points brought up in this discussion, especially by ariesscientist :  about friendships that are not about give and take and where you cannot be honest about your circumstances and how you feel.

I always find that’s a dead giveaway that a friendship is not going to last. If I have to behave in ways that I don’t want to, or feel pressured to agree to things, or cannot be honest with those friends, then I know the friendship is more superficial and probably somewhat weak.

With my true close friends, I can be myself and I can be honest. And they roll with it. Those friendships are also more equal – we both put effort into them, sometimes in different ways, but they’re always give and take, and we can say how we feel about things without fear of losing the friendship. Needless to say, there are not a lot of those friendships.

I also don’t keep around “friends” who are not up to par just for the sake of having friends. I give people a chance to show me who they are and what kind of friend they are, and I offer them my friendship, but if I can tell we are just not on the same wavelength or if they make a habit of flaking, I drop them off at the next stop.

Post # 15
Member
94 posts
Worker bee

It’s difficult for me, I haven’t been able to make lasting friends as an adult. I have gotten used to my own company and only celebrate birthdays etc with my parents and husband. Most of my “friends” I met at work but usually they have other friends already so I can’t rely on them to be there for things or include me in anything.

What really makes me sad is that I can never have even a casual male friend, even just someone at work. It always turns out they think it to be something more like sexual interest and then they start bugging you, dropping hints, even when they know you’re married and absolutely no flirting went on. Then I have to stop associating with them. 🙄

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