A while back my cousin Asia and I discussed the difficulties of making new friends as an adult. I remember in my youth we were instant friends, and as a teenager you just called them and began talking. Or for one of my friendships, we wrote letters for years (still have hose letters and that friendship!). Later on I made friends through Skye’s friendships, since our children hung out together. However, since I’ve become an adult making friends seems awkward, uncertain, and unsure. Outside these situations, my circle has pretty much remained the same, unless it was reconnecting to an old friend.
It’s like as adults, we freeze in our circle and not much changes in the friendship department. Or, it could just be myself and Asia that have frozen in this strange friendship gap. But I have to ask am I, or are we, the only ones who are going through this?
Just to add a little academia to this, (and yes this is well researched, believe it or not) friendships are changing. According to a study done in the June 2006 issue of the journal, American Sociological Review, Americans are thought to be suffering a loss in the quality and quantity of close friendships since at least 1985.
The study reports that:
25% of Americans have no close confidants,and the average total number of confidants per citizen has dropped from four to two.
Over the years I’ve met some great people, but didn’t know how to follow up. Do you call, is that the right thing to do? Do you send a text, do they feel the same about you? Are they too feeling awkward about reaching out? If I do call, what will we talk about, I mean, we don’t know each other. Is it weird if I ask for their number, what if they didn’t really want to give it to me? Usually, I do nothing. I don’t call, text, or anything. Plus, what if I don’t hear from them, does it mean that I thought more of us meeting then they did? I’ve been told by one person we are too old to make new friends. People should stick with who we already know. I don’t agree with that at all. I think we can make friends for a life time. I’m not looking for a million friends, just a few good ones.
That same study reports:
Americans’ dependence on family as a safety net went up from 57% to 80%. Americans’ dependence on a partner or spouse went up from 5% to 9%.
Research has found a link between fewer friendships (especially in quality) and psychological regression. So, I now realize I am not the only one! So what do we do?
Really, every person I come across is not my friend, but once in a while you get a vibe that lets you know this person is a kindred spirit. You sense this person has a lot in common with you. Maybe, you just want to get to know them better!
I believe friendships keep us grounded and whole, they provide us outlets to adventure, therapy, relaxing, and most of all, be ones true self!
Unfortunately, I’m just not sure how.
Can you tell me though, as an adult, how do we make a new friend? So….. I’m asking, will you be my friend?
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