So, how do YOU make friends in real life?

@TessWhite (3147)
United States
February 15, 2009 12:15am CST
My son and I are perplexed by the whole friendship thing. When he was a teenager he had all sorts of friends. But out of high school and now a single dad of two he finds it hard to meet and make friends. To be honest I know how he feels. When I was younger and working I had girlfriends I'd do things with, or couples my husband I would socialize with. But now that I'm disabled, stuck at home and not working I find it almost impossible to make friends. Especially since they all kind of abandoned me when I divorced. Son and I both agree neither one of us want to find friends in bars or clubs. Nor do we think chatting up strangers in the supermarket is probably a wise idea. LOL So, how do YOU make friends? How do you meet people? Where do you meet them? And how do you start up a conversation to get a friendship going?
6 people like this
27 responses
@Opal26 (17694)
• United States
15 Feb 09
Hey tess! Quite franky, I'm with you and your son! I don't have the answer to the question either! I am also disabled and don't get out much anymore. And since I'm not working I also don't meet new people to socialize with. I have a few friends, mostly people I know from the neighborhood or that I have known for awhile. But, I don't have money to go out and do thing so I don't really see them much. I honestly don't really care much either. I will talk to people when I'm out, but I'm I don't go around trying to find friends at this point in my life.
3 people like this
@TessWhite (3147)
• United States
15 Feb 09
I miss socializing. We always had friends over for dinner, card games or bbqs. My girlfriends and I would go out to dinner as a group, or go to craft shows as well. Now nothing. It is harder when you stay at home, there is just no chance of meeting new people behind these walls.
2 people like this
@MsTickle (24976)
• Australia
17 Feb 09
I think we have to accept that times change and so do people . Making friends is so hard when you are older. I moved to a new town and tried to make friends. I found people to be friendly enough but I have only made one friend. She already has two "best friends" who are closer to her age...she is 15 years younger than me and has just had her first baby so I see even less of her now. While people will wave and say "hello - how are you?" that's about all I get...other than the ones who are not friendly at all and one or two are just nasty and one or two are quite two faced. That makes it preferable to stay within my four walls...lol. The people in this community have known each other all their lives or for a very long time. They have things in common with each other. I come from a whole different world it seems. If you want to try, join some local groups that you are able to access, both you and your son can do that. Even if you don't make any actual friends you will be able to socialise a little and have a sense of belonging. Good luck to you my friend.
• United States
15 Feb 09
I'd take courses at the local community college. You can either learn something useful, something interesting, or sometimes even something useful and interesting. Just as a side benefit, you'll probably meet lot's of people.
3 people like this
@TessWhite (3147)
• United States
15 Feb 09
Not a bad idea. I know in the town I'm moving to (where I grew up) there is a vo-tech school there. I took classes there years ago. Maybe I'll look into that when I get there. Thanks.
2 people like this
@guybrush (4662)
• Australia
15 Feb 09
It's true that making friends is all about 'networking'. When I was working I had colleagues - some of whom were friends, and after I'd left work and had children, I made friends with the mothers of my children, who I met at playgroup, school, etc. Once our children had started high school, however, we all seemed to lose touch. I went back to work when my youngest started high school, and made new friends there - but now I'm at home again I'm only in contact with one lady I met at my last job. Mostly now my friends are online - and I've never met them in person at all. It's very hard to know where to meet people - but there are bookclubs and adult education classes which your son could attend in the evenings (if he could find a babysitter) - and he'd meet people who had similar interests. I agree these days we would be looked on with suspicion if we tried starting up random conversations with strangers ... it's a very sad dilemma. If your son's children are small, he could start conversations with other parents at the school gates, or at school functions - and maybe he could volunteer to work in the canteen or help out in the classroom.
3 people like this
@TessWhite (3147)
• United States
15 Feb 09
Thanks for the ideas. Hopefully son and I both can make ourselves some new friends soon.
2 people like this
@ElicBxn (60053)
• United States
15 Feb 09
well, I met most of my friends thru star trek, doctor who or other sf clubs find something of interest - say books or crafts or whatever, and then see if there is some kind of social arrangement - like a quilting bee or the like to meet people at some knitting places have "knit and b*tch" nights some bookstores have a place to list about book clubs of various interests - mystery, sf, romance look around town at things you like to do and see if you can find other people that enjoy the same things
3 people like this
@TessWhite (3147)
• United States
15 Feb 09
Thanks for the suggestions. Guess I have to be patient until I get moved to my new place. Then I can look for such things.
3 people like this
@CatsandDogs (13964)
• United States
15 Feb 09
Making friends is hard to do when we don't work or go anywhere and it can get a bit lonesome, I know this because I'm "handicapped" (I hate that word!) I'm legally deaf and it's hard for anybody to see how severe my hearing really is. A lot of people take it as if I'm "stuck up" which couldn't be further from the truth. Because of this, I've retreated inside myself and stay home most times. I hate having to explain myself and I hate having to defend myself and find staying home much better than dealing with "people" in the mainstream. Now if I wanted to meet new people who are "good" (doesn't mean everybody though) I'd go to church and church funtions or go to some support groups, one that would be something that interests me. One idea I find is a good one in which I thought about doing myself but don't think we will now thanks to our next door neighbor being a butt towards us, and that is a neighborhood party/getting to know you party. It's a wonderful way of making new friends and they'd all be within your neighborhood which is even better! You know, I just might do that afterall. I shouldn't let one awful neighbor stop us. In fact, we'll be the bigger persons and invite them too! LOL Now wouldn't that be something! LOL
2 people like this
@TessWhite (3147)
• United States
15 Feb 09
I think your idea of a neighborhood party is a fantastic one. I might do that once I'm settled in my new home. I think you should have one too - and yes, invite the awful one. LOL Maybe they will turn around then. :)
2 people like this
@CatsandDogs (13964)
• United States
15 Feb 09
Cool! Thanks! lol I think it would be a neat way to get to know your neighbors and maybe bring some great friends. What could be better than having friends within reach? lol You know, you could tell them they could invite a few of their friends and family too. That way you widen your horrizons a little bit. I think I'm going to do that too, this spring. It'll be fun! If you do it, let me know how it turns out, ok? I promise to do the same.....
1 person likes this
@sweetyethot (1738)
• China
15 Feb 09
Friends dont come easy for me.Since I have a narrow communication circle,I dont have many chances to meet strangers.I can know some guys through the introduction of my old friends.But its really difficult to meet them again coz we are actually not friends but acquaintances.I think making new friends need not only skills but also a lot of time.We should keep in touch in them.Otherwise,its quite easy for us to lose them.
2 people like this
@TessWhite (3147)
• United States
15 Feb 09
Sounds like me. Thanks for sharing. :)
2 people like this
• Philippines
16 Feb 09
I totally agree with you, making friends needs to invest time and sometimes money involve lol...
1 person likes this
@forslahiri (1042)
• India
15 Feb 09
Hi, We meet many people in life.Some only stay in life for longterm.Only a handful among them remain as Friends forever.They know U thoroughly, Ur wavelength match with their's- completely.They stand beside U specially in Ur rainy days.They lend their hands without an expectation,silently sacrifice for U.'They r friends'.very rare to find, but wait.they'll come & stay.... like angel. =Lahiri,Kolkata,India.
@TessWhite (3147)
• United States
15 Feb 09
Well thanks for your input. I do know what a friendship is all about. But, my topic was mainly asking HOW do you make friends. But, thanks anyway.
2 people like this
• India
18 Feb 09
Hi, FRIENDSHIP happens(like Love),can U make it,Really?
@huaduo (40)
• China
15 Feb 09
My friend is mainly from the same school, in particular from the same grade. I make friends with not only girls at my age, but also boys who are humuorous and honest. We are having fun all the time.
1 person likes this
@TessWhite (3147)
• United States
15 Feb 09
That works great when you are young and in school. But when you are almost 50 like I am, it gets a bit harder.
2 people like this
• India
17 Feb 09
Hello my dear TessWhite Ji, I fail to understand your logic, you have 69 friends here as per your profile. Why don't you introduce or spare few to your son. Further, your son should consider his two children as his friends. May be that, what one can disclose to his/her friends may not hold true with relations. But you can always share your secrets here. may god bless you nad have great time.
@TessWhite (3147)
• United States
17 Feb 09
You fail to understand my logic? Its hard if not impossible to invite my 69 people from my friends list to a bbq. Do you bowl? How long a commute would that be for you if we were to go out to dinner as friends? As my topic header and discussion expressed, I have no problems making online friends. Its making real life friends we have trouble with.
1 person likes this
• India
17 Feb 09
Real Friend - It is difficult to find real friend in our life
Hello my dear TessWhite Ji, Now I realize, where the hell I went wrong. I do understand, it is very difficult and it is only lucky for some one, who have real life friends. Who would know more than me, One of my friend,with whom, we played in birth-day suits, stabbed at the age of 65 yrs I have great scar in my life. It is better not to have such friends. A real friend is a "friend in need is a Friend Indeed". may god bless you and have great time.
@nini89 (670)
• India
26 Feb 09
Hi friend TessWhite! some people make friends very easily but some dont make friends that too easily. I also dont make friends easily as i am a habbit of less talking. People having the talking skill will talk to the strangers and anyone else they find. While travelling in trains or buses we meet everyday the same person and starts making friens with that guy. I have more train friends as I travel everyday by train in same timing. so the people in the compartment is seen every day and had discusions. For you as you at home and not working presently it is difficult but you can contact your old friens and have chatting with them. Wish you all the best and have a nice day.
@TessWhite (3147)
• United States
26 Feb 09
Hi, thanks for responding. :)
@paula27661 (15900)
• Australia
17 Feb 09
I was in a similar situation several years ago. I separated from my childhood sweetheart; we were together for 11 and half years since out teens so we virtually grew up together. When we divorced I found myself on my own and, because all our friends were indeed his friends I had no one. I was depressed for a while and eventually I bit the bullet and I rejoined civilization by joining a bush walking club, from there I joined a social club and over time I had a nice circle of friends. It was not easy. I went through a "no friends stage" when I decided to stay at home to take care of my daughter but made quite a few friends through the local playgroup. I think friendship is not something you can force: I see it like a chemical reaction between people. Just be yourself get involved in something you like and if you are a nice open person you will make the right friends at the right time.
@TessWhite (3147)
• United States
17 Feb 09
Thanks for your response. Yes its hard losing friends when your relationship ends. I also lost mine at the same time because I became disabled. It seems my so called friends weren't really friends in the first place - since they couldn't handle having a disabled friend.
@bellis716 (4807)
• United States
17 Feb 09
Tonight, a woman showed up at our yoga class after being absent for 2 1/2 years. She said she had to force herself to get up and get out of the house. She had not been attending because of various problems, including the fact that her disability had worsen. Staying at home feeling sorry for herself only increased her feeling of depression. She took the first step to climbing out of her shell and returned to the outside world. The first step is just to go where there are people. It is best if they are gathered for a purpose, and it is something where you can participate. Study groups are good. I go to bible study three times a week, twice with the whole church and once with just the ladies and have made many friends. The yoga class that I mentioned is for people with MS. There, I've found a different group of friends. Take a class of some kind. Our high school has evening classes for those interested in various things. I've taken a computer class there. They also offered language skills, various kinds of dancing, and all kinds of crafts. Having something in common makes starting a conversation easier. Taking a class gives you something in common with the other class members.
@TessWhite (3147)
• United States
17 Feb 09
Thanks for the response. I don't go to church, its not my thing since I'm not Christian. But I can check into the class idea. :)
@fifileigh (3621)
• United States
16 Feb 09
join clubs and social events in your area. colleges and malls have many monthly events, and many are free. hang out in coffee shops and public places, and try not to look pathetic and lonely. just pretend u r very busy and u r taking a break with a snack and u people watch.
@TessWhite (3147)
• United States
16 Feb 09
"and try not to look pathetic and lonely. Ummm yea, not sure how to take that comment. If I "pretend I'm very busy" how in the world would that make me friends just people watching?
@hug14me (124)
16 Feb 09
I know what you mean about meeting "friends". I find it hard to talk to people. Making comments on things I read online is one thing, but to have to interact with people. There is always the fear that they don't like you or think your stuck up when really your shy and tongue tied. What do I say to people that would be ineresting. Then there is trust. How do you trust someone you just met? Let's face it looks are important. It's the first thing people see of people. What if your not attractive? People could shun you just because you have a scar or limp etc. I think fear of the unknow is what holds people back. What will this person think? What would that person say or do?In order to make friend, you have to be open, available and outgoing. Not easy for everyone. You have to be open to talk to people anywere. This includes out in a social setting. Maybe join a club or groups of special interest. If you have an interest in something someone else does too, you have a common ground to expand upon. What about old frinds? Could they be unsure how you want to proceed with your friendship after your divorce? Sometimes a different approach is good. I feel the number one important thing is to be truthfull. I wish you and your son luck. I hope you and your son find lots of friends.
@TessWhite (3147)
• United States
16 Feb 09
Thanks for responding. My divorce was 10 years ago, and those friends are now in a different state than I live in now. I don't usually worry about what people might think of how I look. I'm a middle aged grandmother with hair slowly turning gray. I DO walk with a limp thanks to a serious injury two years ago. I could also stand to lose a few lbs. But, I'm not about to let any of those things stand in the way of my true personality. I can pretty much talk to anyone these days. But talking to them after the first meeting is the hard one!
@catdla1 (6005)
• United States
16 Feb 09
It's unfortunate that the friends we have with similar backgrounds to us (at least at the time we make them) tend to be transient. We're married and have married friends, if we get divorced suddenly we're social piranhas or something! You don't hear from any of them, until they've gone through their own divorces, and you get a call out of the blue. Ok, I've had my rant...lol. I don't blame you for not wanting to make friends at bars or clubs. I frequently chat with people at the grocery store, but that doesn't go anywhere. What are you supposed to say? "Nice melons, want to go out for coffee?"? The most I've ever gotten at the grocery is some good recipe ideas. For me, I like to find friends with similar interests, as opposed to similar social or economic backgrounds. I've joined a couple of reading groups at our library and our local gardening club. Most areas have clubs covering all sorts of interests. In these tough economic times, start a coupon exchange club yourself! Most libraries are very welcoming to clubs using their facilities for meetings. Serving jury duty is a good way, but unfortunately that can't be requested. For your son, he should see if there's a chapter of Parents Without Partners in his area (www.parentswithoutpartners.org). They are absolutely wonderful for single parents! I was a member in the New England area when my son was growing up.
@TessWhite (3147)
• United States
16 Feb 09
Thanks for your understanding, and ideas. You're so right. I can't ask strangers at the store for phone numbers. I actually DID give my phone number to one lady at a restaurant when we had stood in line for awhile chatting waiting for a table. I gave her my number - and never heard from her. LOL As for the jury duty idea - I get out of those when I'm called upon. Too difficult with my health issues. But the club idea at the library is a good one. I'll check into that. And I had forgotton all about parentswithoutpartners. I'll suggest that to my son. Thanks!
@greysfreak (1388)
• United States
16 Feb 09
I have trouble making friends in real life also. Some of my closest friends I have met online, and in turn, met in real life. But they also live far away. So I don't see them that often. And the one friend I have left from high school, I do even talk to her much anymore, even before I moved 13 hours away, she had moved in with her boyfriend about an hour away from where I lived. But till last December I was still in college, so I had a few people I hung out with at school. But since graduating, and moving from Maryland to Tennessee, I don't have contact with anyone, except my mom and dad, who I live with. We live way back in the middle of nowhere, so that makes things worse. I really want to go back to college, partly to get another degree, and partly so I can try to make friends. Even when I was school I had trouble making friends, but it was easier than "real" life. So I guess I'm really not the person to say how to make friends, but I just wanted to say that I completely understand. I am really shy, and usually assume that nobody likes me, so I am too scared to approach people. When I have, usually it would be in class and I'd ask the person sitting next to me a question about the class or something, actually, at least one time I ended up making a friend that way, we ended up hanging out a bit, she even helped me by modeling for photos I needed to take for my photography class. Yep, I had like 2 people to take pictures of for that class, as well as a few classmates in that photography class who let me photograph them. The thing is, I think I am a good friend, and a good person. But I have had so many bad experiences and kinda assume that people only want to be friends with popular perfect people. It gets really depressing.
@TessWhite (3147)
• United States
16 Feb 09
Thank you for sharing. What you don't realize is people aren't looking for "other popular people" because everyone at one time or another feels like you do. They are shy, or don't think they deserve to be someone's friend. I have no problem being outgoing now that I'm older. I used to be a virtual doormat and wallflower. But I learned it got me no where. I can chat with just about any person I run across. My only problem is I don't know how to turn those chats into true friendships. For your sake I'd suggest finding a hobby you like and looking for groups that share your interest. This may help you make friends near you. Good luck. :)
@ehlana88 (330)
• United States
16 Feb 09
See that's the reason people feel so disconnected. Why is chatting up someone at the supermarket a bad idea? If someone can't reach a shelf or is struggling trying to pick the right one why not talk to them? Most of my friends that I count as close and lovely I've met randomly through out my life. One I DID meet in a supermarket. He was picking up diapers and I dropped a ton of baby food. We picked up my mess and got into talking. When you are younger you are more open to meeting people, exploring the world. As you get older your circle or idea of "approved" ways of meeting people gets smaller and smaller. I meet people everywhere.
@TessWhite (3147)
• United States
16 Feb 09
I don't have a problem helping someone in a store, or saying hi, isn't it a beautiful day etc. Sometimes I've talked for several minutes with strangers while we waited. But, then we go our own way. Its not like I can ask a stranger I chat with in the grocery aisle for their phone number. LOL I think my real problem is I'm just not out there enough to find new friends.
1 person likes this
• India
15 Feb 09
we do often come across many people in our lives but some are really special and they do become a part in our existing life I feel friendship is special;l thing weren't two people meet up all of sudden and start sharing up our feelings with them the way I make friendship by understanding and knowing the person first and then try to build up friendly relationship I don't believe that friends could be made by our choice u can meet them any where any time and any point of your life and as u start interacting and knowing that person u try to share each and every bit and time with that person
@TessWhite (3147)
• United States
16 Feb 09
Thanks for responding.
@GemmaR (8527)
15 Feb 09
If he gets any spare time he should do an activity like an evening class or something, then he would get to meet other people with the same interests. Or take the kids to a playgroup (I don't know how old they are..) or a playground and get chatting to some of the other mums and dads. Making friends is really easy, you just have to be in the right place at the right time and have the right conversational techniques!
@TessWhite (3147)
• United States
16 Feb 09
Thanks for responding. I'll suggest your ideas to my son. :)
@Citychic (4078)
• United States
14 Sep 09
Hi there, Well the best way to try to make friends in real life is to go out where people are hanging out at. Whether it be at restaurants, movies of shopping. These are the places where I usually meet people at but you are right, once we become adults and have to take on family responsibilities it does seem to become a bit more difficult to meet nice people and to make true friends. Sometimes you simply have to make friends wherever and however you can. If you can get someone to sign you up for weekly outings, like at a community center that might be a good place to start. Happy mylot!