There appears to be an inexhaustible supply of people whom you can be friends with. From grade school up to when you start working. You meet new people, you get acquainted with their ways, and eventually become friends with some.
You’re in your mid-20s and is settled quite nicely in your cozy apartment at the heart of the city. You have exactly seven friends whom you go out with every Friday or Saturday night. During the weekdays you eat dinner or breakfast together, but not always the eight of you. Maybe there are just three, four, but never the entire gang. That’s for the weekends.
One day a close friend tells you she received a job offer from a company that pays well, the only catch is that it’s in a different country. And she already took it.
Another month passes by and another close friend moves out of the city to work three hundred miles away. And another, and another, and another.
At the end of the year only two close friends remain. And they’re a couple planning to move out of the country soon.
The weekends you’ve always looked forward to suddenly becomes empty.
And then there’s you.
You win some, you lose some, and that’s okay. That is how friendships work. It’s also normal if you and your friends somehow drift apart because of the distance, but of course you can put some effort to keep it alive.
Friendships Require Maintenance
photo credit: *k59
Have you ever played Sims? In Sims, in order to have friends, you need to constantly invite them over and watch TV, play games, swim, cook for them, and talk to them. As you do these activities the “friendship” bar gets filled. But with inactivity, you’ll notice that the meter goes down until you’re no longer friends.
In the same sense this is what happens in real life too. You have to make an effort to talk and engage in activities with friends.
And if you don’t want to see yourself alone…
You Have to Make New Friends
How do you make new friends after finishing school and outside of work? That’s a little hard, no? Turns out, it really is hard.
You see, in order to develop friendships there are three things required:
- Proximity. You need to live close by the person you want to be friends with.
- Consistency. You need to see them daily and do things with them repeatedly, bonus if you can do unplanned things.
- A comfortable place where you can let your guard down. Without this you won’t develop anything close to intimate.
These three are the reason why it’s hard to find new friends as you grow older. These are also the reason why it’s extremely easy to make friends in school and at work. Imagine if you are in your 20s and you are working from home.
photo credit: BryonLippincott
As you grow older it is only natural to have fewer friends. Unlike when you were in your teenage years where everything is just like playing; all the time in the world was in your hands. In your twenties you’ll find that instead of spending a couple of hours daily having fun with friends, it drops down to just a couple of hours a week. As you get older time gets more valuable and rarer. In this case, your circle of friends contracts.
The only way to ensure that you won’t find yourself alone is to make new friends through and through. And don’t forget to connect with them daily or at least a couple of times a week, that’s what the internet is for.
You have to put effort.
Featured image by Collin Key.