Will You Be My Friend?

Today,with thanks to Siobhan, we’re discussing something we’ve touched on before at AOW.  It’s the thorny issue of making friends as an adult – and incidentally, in my humble opinion, one of the very best things about this blog.   We’re all here to talk to each other, and learn from each other, and the friendship comes naturally from that.  

But what about if the person involved isn’t part of this community, and it’s not so easy?  What if you’re a fully-grown adult still asking that question about whether the person you like is a friend, about whether you’ve crossed that boundary?  Why is it so difficult to lay ourselves on the line and offer ourselves in friendship?  What do we fear?  Over to you, Siobhan:      

I know AOW has written about this before, this issue of making friends as an adult.  I’ve seen it in other places too and I have no idea how we do it.  My parents I know made friends through church and us as kids but what if you have no kids or church?  How do you make friends then?

 

I am so low in self confidence in this sphere and I doubt myself and others all the time.  In work I know I know what I am doing and trust that others respect me, but if those work colleagues might be friends I get pretty lost.  Are they just nice to me because we work together? When they said they wanted to go for coffee does that mean we are friends or not? Did they really mean it or were they just being polite? I always assume the latter and have almost certainly lost friends that way.  Making friends terrifies me at work so normally I just do not bother.  If someone seems friendly I back away until that is a ship that has sailed.  I try to get out of the burgeoning friendship before they do.  It is horribly self-defeating.

 

I am about to move to a new city, and though I know some people there we will have to make the leap from online to in real life friends and I find that scary too.  When I wrote The Cult That Made Me Me I was writing about a group of friends I made where they were mostly internet friends first.  From there I have some of my best friends and my husband, but the nerves were very much there and the fear that they were just being polite as they are a very polite and kind lot.  But as I have been invited into confidences, invited to weddings and so on, I have gradually come to realise that these are my friends.

 

I am still scared though.  I think I come on too strong as a friend but it is only because I am so excited!  Is there such a thing as playing hard to get with friends?  Do we really have to do all that nonsense?  As adults can’t we just go back to the simple way it was when we were kids and we just said “Will you be my friend?” and then once that was answered in the affirmative just got on with being friends?  Nowadays that seems creepy though – the child-like honesty too bald or too child like to be taken as a simple attempt at honesty.  I’ve tried something like that and it was not entirely successful.

 

I know I am not alone in moving to a new place, or in feeling scared about how to make friends, or if I am leaving as many friends as I think I am so I am writing this to find out how other AOWettes have dealt with this, are dealing with it.  Is it really this hard?  Or do we make it hard by overthinking? Is it really that hard to meet people?  Will you be my friend?

Categories: Family, Friends and Relationships
82 interesting thoughts on this

82 Comments

  1. Posted January 22, 2014 at 8:02 am | Permalink

    It is so hard! I moved away from home 14 years ago, leaving all my friends there and suddenly having to try as an adult to find new ones. I was lucky when I first moved it was to the Isle Of Man and the nature of the island was there was lots of what the locals referred to as “come overs” so we were all in the same boat and slowly through meeting at work we developed friendships and one of those girls had been my best friend ever since.
    Since moving to Scotland though in 2006 I’ve struggled big time, I met people through my uni course but those friendships didn’t last. I have what I would call acquaintances through work and one girl who I would call a friend but we don’t socialise much out of office hours… I have two very close girlfriends both met through work but to be honest and it hurts a little to write it down but that’s about it. I’ve struggled to meet people, people who have time in their lives to fit in someone new. But that’s not my only problem, I talk loads to people on twitter etc, have met a few but then that little bit of doubt creeps in….do they actually like me…maybe they think I’m weird….maybe they are just being nice to me because they feel they have to. It’s a mindfield making friends as an adult!

    I hope you settle in quickly and make that leap to developing your online friendships further xx

    • aDizzyGirl
      Posted January 22, 2014 at 9:47 am | Permalink

      Claire, I’ve met you. Please don’t have doubts, you are really lovely and fabulous! Email me anytime you’d like to meet up again – I’ll get free train travel in my new job so can easily meet anywhere that suits you x

      • Posted January 22, 2014 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

        Thank you, I was really worried writing that comment that I would look like a loser. I need to be more confident and believe people do want to be friends! Thanks for the offer I will be in touch xx

    • Siobhan
      Posted January 22, 2014 at 10:05 am | Permalink

      Claire you are LOVELY (I have also met you) and I really liked you from when we met and that is why I went and found you on twitter and follow your blog, it is because you are so lovely. x

      • Posted January 22, 2014 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

        Ok now I’m going to get tearful. Thank you for saying that, as you said sometimes it would just be easier to say ‘will you be my friend’ and a simple yes or no like when we were kids. I often struggle thinking whether I fit in, especially when you are breaking into a new circle of friends. You are blooming lovely xx

        • Posted January 22, 2014 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

          I think you’re weird ;) You are one of the most lovely, thoughtful people I know, so please don’t think otherwise x

          • Posted January 22, 2014 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

            You are all just to blooming nice!! Love all the AOW ladies xx

  2. Katielase
    Posted January 22, 2014 at 8:12 am | Permalink

    I find it tricky to make close friends, I’m not very good at being myself with people I don’t know, I’m much much better at being the person I think they want to talk to. It’s a skill I developed at school, when being myself would have done me more harm tham good at times. I learnt to be what was expected when necessary, to avoid attention.

    Even with this amazing community of women, I have found myself thinking “do they really consider me a friend? Do they really like me?”. Even when I’ve been invited to weddings and 1st birthday parties and so much cake I literally cannot count it. In the end I remembered something I once said to my housemate at Uni. He’s one of my best friends but he never calls me, because he doesn’t think I’ll want to hear from him. When he first admitted this, I just exploded “do you really think I’m such a nice person that I’d be your friend out of pity?” Honestly? I am a lovely person, it’s true, but I’m not quite so unselfish as that. I doubt many other people are either.

    It’s hard to trust that people like you, but I promise they do!

    KL xx

    • Siobhan
      Posted January 22, 2014 at 10:07 am | Permalink

      I find it hard to be myself too, but I increasingly find it hard to be anyone but the person I am (which also has down sides). I am so glad I finally met you, as you were like you and that was great.

      I like that way of looking at things – I don’t ask people to meet up just to be polite. I don’t say to my friends they can call me and not mean it and I am super nice, so why would someone else not mean it? Thank you x

  3. Posted January 22, 2014 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    I just want to start by saying how brave I think you are in starting over somewhere fresh. I consider myself a fairly confident person in social situations and it would still put me on the back foot. Think of all the potential though! Somebody you’re about to meet could end up in your life til you’re old and grey. How exciting is that?? It’s like dating all over again… scary, yes, but ultimately full of possibility.

    Having said I’m pretty confident, I must confess I haven’t always been like that. I was terribly shy at school and must be one of the few people I know who came away from university without having made friends on my course – after four years too. It’s definitely a skill you can learn, and something that gets easier as you get more comfortable in your own skin. That means getting better at dealing with rejection, and also better at spotting the negative idiots masquerading as friends and keeping them at arm’s length.

    Making friends when you’ve got a baby is easier in some ways, but definitely comes with its own issues! A whole other post right there…. I could go on and on!

    Px

    • Siobhan
      Posted January 22, 2014 at 10:08 am | Permalink

      I’d be keen to see that whole other post if you ever have time to write it? x

      • Becca
        Posted January 22, 2014 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

        Me too actually Penny. I feel like I’m in a place right now where I have (after much soul searching) limited my friendship group to those people who are loyal, realiable and who are not emotional robots/emotional drains. Whilst I know that these girls (and boys) will be friends for life, we are obviously at different stages. We might, at some point, think about having children, and my friends aren’t in that stage yet. I’m a bit worried that I might come across as totally needy for “Mum friends” and it will be a total turnoff. At the same time, I want to make sure that I don’t neglect friends who don’t have children because, having been in that situation, its rubbish and I also wouldn’t want my life to suddenly become TOTALLY children-centric (although realise would change beyond belief).

  4. Posted January 22, 2014 at 8:27 am | Permalink

    Ah this post rings so true with me at the moment, and it’s lovely to hear it’s not just me who finds it hard!
    I’ve recently (5 months ago!?) moved to a new town, where I don’t know anybody. I work from home so sadly don’t get the automatic work-collegues-that-might-be-friends group of people you usually get lumped with. And I’m really struggling to make any sort of sociable connections let alone friends.
    I joined a running club, but a bit of a horrible FB message from one of them last week has put me off going back there. I don’t know if it was meant to be horrible, but naturally being the new girl I felt as if perhaps they didn’t want to be my friend after all, and that I shouldn’t be entering races and stepping on toes.

    Where to look for friends, I have no idea. No WI in the vicinity with an average age of under 60, nor book club etc etc. I’ve looked, honest.

    L x

    • Gemma R
      Posted January 22, 2014 at 9:21 am | Permalink

      I have a friend who moves rather a lot and seems to always make friends through Park Runs – do you have any near you? They seem to make it very easy as sociable and have mass post run trips for breakfast afterwards. Parkrun.org,uk

      • Posted January 22, 2014 at 9:26 am | Permalink

        I have done parkruns, none I’ve been to have ever been sociable though!

        • Posted January 22, 2014 at 9:28 am | Permalink

          in fact, on second thoughts they have been quite antisocial and super competitive. I love competitive, but not outwardly, aggressively so which is what I’ve experienced before.

          • Katie
            Posted January 22, 2014 at 9:39 am | Permalink

            I’ve done ParkRuns that were really friendly and welcoming. It’s possible though that this was because I was hanging out with the slow people, who are less likely to be competitive (if they’re running at my pace, they are clearly going to win anything, ever)

            That said, I think you should persevere with running club, you’ll always come across people who will be a bit arsey, but you’ll still find the awesome people too. And running seems to give you such joy.

            KL x

            • Siobhan
              Posted January 22, 2014 at 10:13 am | Permalink

              Laura I hope you can persist because of all that Katie said, but I think it does take time, at least it is a bit for me and that is even with the blogging/AOW community up here, particularly when working from home. I find it can be pretty isolating, which is why I get something from my London weeks as I get to see people in an office and chat about things. I’d hang out though if you were closer as you seem so nice and I would love to know you better x

              • Posted January 22, 2014 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

                Laura, you are lovely and any nastiness from anyone in running group will be nothing but jealousy – not a reflection on you as a person. I’ve seen your pins in pictures – there’s a lot to be jealous of ;) I very much suspect the ‘new girl’ romping in home as the first female upset their precariously balances apple cart….x

                • Fran M
                  Posted January 22, 2014 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

                  Laura, do you know if there are any groups for people who work from home near you? Near me there’s a weekly group run at pubs / cafés / hired warehouse space with a quiet area and desks. It means that freelancers can get together and chat, network or just have a coffee break with some ‘colleagues’ and a change of scenery once a week. Might be worth a look – http://www.uk-jelly.org.uk/

    • Posted January 22, 2014 at 11:34 am | Permalink

      L one of my good friends is from your town…will message you her email and she says she knows of a craft club!

      Px

    • Posted January 23, 2014 at 9:42 pm | Permalink

      If you have a car, you should come over to nottingham city WI! I have met some of my best friends through that group. There’s a website with details of meetings, but we also have outings and offshoot clubs with book club, cake club etc. Derby isn’t far from Nottingham at all, come along! X

      • Posted January 24, 2014 at 10:38 am | Permalink

        That’s the WI I’m a member of which I’m not not feeling so brave about. So, makes me think even more that I’m doing something wrong!

        Oh to not be so shy and ‘thinky’!

  5. Posted January 22, 2014 at 9:11 am | Permalink

    Oh it’s so hard, isn’t it? I was in this position a few years ago, starting over, and I just made myself be brave. You have to be intentional about it as an adult. It may not be quite as simple as asking ‘will you be my friend?’ in the playground, but it doesn’t have to be an awful lot harder than that. In that first year of being brave I asked a lot of people for a coffee, a drink, to come to a party, and some said yes and some said no. At least 95% said yes though, and with some it was just one coffee, and with others it turned into more and now some of them have become firm friends. With the twitter / blog / internet communities you are part of you have a strong starting point! So, will you be my friend? :)

    • Siobhan
      Posted January 22, 2014 at 10:10 am | Permalink

      Yes please! And I will be painting the chairs flouro soonish so you can try them out for tea. A friend at work (yes friend at work) suggested getting a blacklight too but I thought that might be overkill xx

  6. Posted January 22, 2014 at 9:15 am | Permalink

    I struggle a lot with these thoughts, too. Before meeting people for the first time I’ve started giving myself a talking to – no one has to invite me for coffee, or arrange a cake meet up when I come down to London, or, indeed, even have a conversation with me. Even though my brain sometimes tells me people are just being nice, I’ve come to realise that, actually, maybe they do want to be around me. I would never invite someone I didn’t want to get to know to coffee etc, so why do we automatically think that’s what other people are doing to us? As Katie said, no one is that selfless that they’d pretend to be friends with someone out of pity.

    As for ‘playing hard to get’ – be yourself, Siobhan. If people don’t accept you for who you are right from the start, they won’t ever accept you. It’s weird that when it comes to romantic relationships we understand there are some people we have chemistry with, others it will never work with. Yet when it comes to friendship somehow if someone doesn’t like us, we often think it’s because there’s something wrong with us instead of the fact we just aren’t meant to be friends. Again, I keep telling myself this – there are plenty of fish in the sea, and if someone doesn’t like who I am, that’s ok because there are plenty of people out there who will like me for who I am.

    You are so brave to move away in the way you did. I admire the way you’ve thrown yourself into meeting some of the people you’ve been chatting to online. As someone whose met you, you come across as genuine, kind, supportive and generous – a wonderful person to know and an amazing friend to have. I wish we lived closer so that I could meet you a lot more.

    • Posted January 22, 2014 at 10:01 am | Permalink

      Its true C-Bird (I don’t know, I’ve had too much coffee!), why would you bother going for cake or coffee with someone you didn’t have to if you didn’t want to? Work I get is different, but socially? nah! lifes too short! I am so grateful every day that we arranged to meet up – T even asked me the other day why you weren’t at our wedding! I had to remind him it had only been a year!! xx

    • Siobhan
      Posted January 22, 2014 at 10:24 am | Permalink

      Crysta – CHEMISTRY – yes that is the point of it. With friends you have that chemistry and some people are perfectly nice and you have plenty in common but no chemistry and that is okay, you don’t have it with everyone. I still get a bit upset about that but when you look at it that way it is not so bad. I only ever felt rejected in ‘romantic’ relationships where I felt there was chemistry and maybe had misunderstood? So why not have the same approach to friendship?

  7. fbird
    Posted January 22, 2014 at 9:44 am | Permalink

    I find I’m quite good at the more superficial bits when you first get to know someone, but have very few ‘close’ friends (by that I mean people I actually say what I’m thinking to rather than filtering), most of them ex flatmates/workmates and of course my husband.

    There are two really important things I’ve learned about friendships over the years. Firstly, you need to have something in common for them to work. Most of my current work colleagues don’t fit this category, which is why I don’t feel like I’ll be keeping in touch with many of them if I leave. (To caveat: friendships will exist outside of this category, but as you get to be an adult making new friendships, it’s far more important as you don’t have a shared or common ‘history’.) And secondly, friendships take time and effort. Sometimes I’m really bad at doing this (and I suspect that is true of most of us). But things like asking people to coffee, or round for dinner, will help. I wish I used twitter more… I worry that anything I might tweet might be too banal, or alternatively that I might ask a question and get no replies!

    It must be really difficult to start afresh in a new place as an adult. You deserve to find good new friends and I hope you do (and am sure you will). x

    • Siobhan
      Posted January 22, 2014 at 10:28 am | Permalink

      I filter a bit with pretty much everyone because some of the stuff in my head no one needs to know (seriously it is like a zoo where all the animals have broken free in there sometimes). Or I filter to make my thoughts more understandable to someone who is not me, but that is different too.

      I never had a “gang” (until I met the lovely people through here) just individual friends but I think that is because I really like what comes out of long one on one conversations. They give me a lot of pleasure, which is not to say that I can’t be in large groups, I just find it easier to focus on one person at a time :) Maybe there is some of that? I think that is something that makes perfect sense (at least to me)

      Oh and I tweet banal stuff all the time and sometimes I get no response to a question just because no one sees it at that time but it is worth jumping in to twitter because for me my feed is all lovely people being lovely for the most part due to following people I actually like.

      And thank you xx

  8. Posted January 22, 2014 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    You are amazing lady, and brave. I remember talking about this with you face to face and you know what? the minute we opened up about it to each other was the minute I knew we would be friends forever. I believe being friends is about being yourself and being accepted – something which is HARD. however, I’ve not met a single AOW person who I’ve felt I can’t be myself with – AMAZING.

    Be yourself, let your love of all things music and skulls (!) shine through and people will love you.

    I never thought that this time last year I would meet all these wonderful people.

    So much love xx

    • Siobhan
      Posted January 22, 2014 at 10:29 am | Permalink

      Bloody hell Bex! You only went and made me cry! I am so glad I met you, you are very special x

  9. HayleyB
    Posted January 22, 2014 at 10:13 am | Permalink

    I understand completely Siobhan as I am in the same boat. I seem to be getting worse with age though, less confident, less sure around new people, more nervous in reaching out. I work in a small firm, with mathematicians, men all 20+years older than me – not really friend making territory. I even find myself staying away from Twitter now, despite trying to make connections on there last autumn.
    I don’t know why, I have moved around lots, so am used to starting in new places (both as an adult and a child). It is hard. I don’t have the solution, sorry. But if you find yourself down south then I’ll be your friend!

  10. HayleyB
    Posted January 22, 2014 at 10:38 am | Permalink

    Ah, bless you Bex, thanks! You are so lovely to people on here and on Twitter. I am in Surrey, near the Kent/Sussex borders. You are in the big smoke aren’t you?
    I realise now it sounds like a ‘woe is me’ comment above – not my aim – I just wanted Siobhan to know that there are lots of us feeling exactly as she is.

    • Posted January 22, 2014 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

      no woe is me at all! I am indeed in the big smoke! we must arrange a middle ground cake meet up!!

      • HayleyB
        Posted January 22, 2014 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

        That would be great!

        • Posted January 22, 2014 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

          I think there are quite a few people in that area so it would be great to have a middle ground cake-meetery of some kind.

          • Siobhan
            Posted January 22, 2014 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

            Hurrah!!!

  11. Ro
    Posted January 22, 2014 at 11:14 am | Permalink

    Such a good post and I so identify – I’m starting to wonder if I’m just a very boring person or have terrible conversation skills as I seem to be doing so badly at making close friends these days.

    We moved to a whole new far away country around a year ago and have had to start from scratch. To begin with we both found it quite easy to meet people through our works and it being an expat kind of place, all new arrivals are in the same boat looking to make friends.

    At the time I was still grieving, needing to spend time with just my husband processing a thoroughly sh***y few months and, in hindsight, not very open with these new potential friends so while we got to know people a bit, very few have become close friends. I now feel a bit like everyone else has got their friends and I’ve missed the chance. I’m now pregnant and realising just how thin on the ground my support network here is and not quite sure how to grow it here in a few short months! I have taken to inviting anyone pregnant or with babies round for cake (cake is key I feel) but think I also need to get myself on twitter to try to long-distance-befriend some of you lovely folk too…

    • Siobhan
      Posted January 22, 2014 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

      I think you’ve hit the nail on the head (not in the bit about being rubbish, in the bit about not being in the right place) so I don’t think you should beat yourself up over it. I think you can maybe try some new ways to meet people and not feel you missed the boat, and do make some long distance AOW friends – some of the nicest people I’ve never met I’ve got to know through here :)

  12. deltafoxtrotcharlie
    Posted January 22, 2014 at 11:55 am | Permalink

    It strikes me that we need to recap the ‘what’s my excellence’ post right now because there seem to be lots of people thinking ‘why would anyone want to be friends with me?’

    If you’re reading this blog then you’re in all likelihood an intelligent, interesting woman who has stuff to say about stuff – who doesn’t want people like that as their friend?? I certainly do!!

    Anyone local to North Oxfordshire, drop me a line!

    • Siobhan
      Posted January 22, 2014 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

      I loved that post! I like your thinking! x

    • Another Sarah
      Posted January 27, 2014 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

      You’re so right!

      I used to live in Banbury until last summer (now in Birmingham). Where abouts are you? I don’t whether you’re new there or settled but I know my much-missed group of friends loves to make new ones!

  13. Posted January 22, 2014 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

    Oh Siobhan, you’ve summed up exactly how I feel. I’m due to move to Aberdeen at the end of March, and I’m so worried about making new friends. I haven’t got a job yet but my husband is already there, so it’s not an option to stay where I am. He’s so good at chatting to people & makes friends really easily, but I am so nervous about leaving my support network at home & having to remake one there. I think I’m extra worried because the industry, & that I am like to be. is in is very male dominated & although I like my male friends I’m concerned I won’t have the same female company I have here.

    I really hope you settle into Edinburgh – I think we both have to accept these things take time & lots more effort on the part of the newbie, because people can be really lazy & don’t necessarily think to include people because they are comfortable with the way things are. Furthermore, I’m not sure if this is brave or a bit desperate, but if any AOW-era live in the NE of Scotland, would you like to go for a coffee?! x

    • Posted January 22, 2014 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

      Lynsey – I’m in Aberdeen! I am slightly strange, but I always love a cup of tea and some cake, and Toby gives good cuddles! x

    • Siobhan
      Posted January 22, 2014 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

      I hope you meet people. I am often towards that way (but only ever as far as Montrose) due to family stuff. There are so many lovely people out there to meet so I do hope you find them x

  14. Posted January 22, 2014 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

    I moved to a different city with my husband last year and I’m really struggling. It’s sort of comforting to hear that other people can feel the same way too.

    I joined the WI to see if I could meet new people through that, but after feeling proud of myself for feeling so brave for actually going to a meeting, I’m feeling a bit deflated now (for several reasons which I don’t think I should go into here…). It’s probably just my silly brain overthinking, but when you’re putting all your braveness out there, it just feels so very hard!

    I thought I’d met someone at the WI who might become ‘a friend’ (y’know, someone to meet for tea and cake, or go to the cinema with…) but after a promising start, it just seems like she just saw me as a potential customer for her jewellery franchise business and when I didn’t buy anything from her…

    I’m looking at craft classes, that kind of thing, but I’ve pretty much lost much of my braveness! I’m quite shy and lack confidence so it takes so much effort to do these things. It seems even if you have things in common with people that they already have their friendships A-OK, thank you very much. Sigh. It makes me feel pretty sad and I wonder if it’s my fault in some way? What am I doing wrong?

    • HayleyB
      Posted January 22, 2014 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

      I’m sure you are doing nothing wrong at all! It’s just hard. Are you on twitter? Could we find some AOW-ettes close to you?

      • Posted January 23, 2014 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

        I am on Twitter, call myself midcenturylass (which makes me sound like I’m 50 yrs old! I’m not. Althought I feel it today…)

    • Siobhan
      Posted January 22, 2014 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

      I doubt you are doing anything wrong. At all. Don’t let someone silly sap your braveness. You were brave and that was great. That she was not honest was her issue not yours. You were brave once you can be so again and yes – maybe we can find folk near you x

      • Posted January 23, 2014 at 6:48 am | Permalink

        Thanks. I feel like Winnie the Pooh with my bravery sometimes! I’m on twitter and sneakily follow some AOWs….

        If we lived in AOW Town everything would be so much easier! Until that happens, I’m in Nottingham.

        • Becca
          Posted January 23, 2014 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

          there’s loads of people in Nottingham. L-Sten. And I’m there quite A bit

    • Posted January 23, 2014 at 9:51 pm | Permalink

      Lucy noooo!! That’s so upsetting. I demand that we go out for a foray in nottingham’s vintage shops to cheer you up asap. Caaaaallll meeeee x

  15. Liz
    Posted January 22, 2014 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

    So much of what everyone has written rings true for me too. I wrote a post on these very pages nearly 2 years ago the loneliness of getting physically further and further apart from friends as all our lives move in different directions and the gaping whole in my life that this was leaving.

    In the intervening two years I have become very good friends with the wives of Mark’s friends (whatsapp messages in the middle of the night kind of friends). I had a baby and got supremely lucky with my NCT group; they are stars everyone of them.

    However, I’ve now started a new job so everyone is new and after a year of quite frankly socialising everyday am finding myself back in a hole where I feel very lonely. My days off are different from the rest of the girls, which is a pain, and no one at work wants to hear about the antics of a 1 year old. Which is part of my other issue, I feel my identity over the last year has become so entwined with motherhood that I worry I’m really boring! I want me back.

    Anyway, Siobhan I think all the comments you’ve received have well and truly proven that they way you are feeling is in no way unique, we all seem to go through the same thing. So therefore it must be a case of tracking down the people who are also feeling the same in your new home. I hope that you find them easily and when you do just be yourself and I’m sure they are going to love you!

    xx

    ps – if AOWers are in the Essex direction I would love to meet you!

    • Posted January 22, 2014 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

      I’m in East Herts if that’s any good?

      • Liz
        Posted January 22, 2014 at 7:22 pm | Permalink

        I’m in Brentwood so not far away! Also easy to get into London x

        • Posted January 23, 2014 at 9:19 am | Permalink

          Excellent, that’s about half an hour from me. Once I’m not surrounded by boxes anymore you should come round – will happily swap cake for stories of one year old’s antics (who would also be very welcome). (Awkward bit – are you Liz McW.. on twitter?)

          • Liz
            Posted January 23, 2014 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

            Yep, that’s me! Sounds lovely. Hope all the settling into the new house goes well
            x

  16. Posted January 22, 2014 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

    Excellent post S! It’s also kind of heartening to see so many people thinking the same thing. Making friends as an adult is HARD – there are people I get on very well with at work, but friends? Is it possible to cross that boundary in an office, to have real friendships? I don’t know. It’s a different kind of relationship. We’ve just moved house and long term I would love to get to know more people in the area but commuting during the week does make that a lot harder to arrange (it’s like the opposite problem to working from home!).

    I’m also quite a reserved person in general (I think it must be a self-protection mechanism!) but I love AOW Cake-Ups because I feel like I can be that quieter person when I need to be and nobody minds (or you’re all just very polite!). The power of internet friendship shouldn’t be ignored.

    • Posted January 22, 2014 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

      Frances, I LOVE the term ‘AOW Cake-Ups’, this should totally be a thing (perhaps we should get T shirts…)

      I’m lucky in that when I moved cities 2 years ago (gosh, that time has flown!) several of my best friends from uni were already in or very close to London or in the process of moving down. While they still remain my closest friends, meeting the friends I’ve made from AOW and from another internet community I belong to has been an absolute delight as I feel like I learn so much and am constantly challenged by all these different people (step forward Gem and Amanda for revolutionising my reading habits…) though I do always worry that I am oversharing too much when I meet people for the first time. But you all would tell me if I was doing that, right?? RIGHT?!!

      Hope you’re enjoying Scotland Siobhan and see you back in London soon x

      • Siobhan
        Posted January 22, 2014 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

        I love how open and frank you are Anita – and Frances I love that you are quieter and only chip in when you have something to say – it is always worth hearing. I think everyone has their strengths, I am so lucky that my city straddling (ahem) means I still get to go to the London based AOW Cake-Ups x

        • Posted January 22, 2014 at 7:24 pm | Permalink

          ‘City straddling’ just made me snort with laughter. Quiet AND mature. I’m a keeper.

  17. Posted January 22, 2014 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

    Although I can’t relate to the whole “moving to the other side of the country” part of this post I can relate to a lot of the comments. I’ve found that I overcompensate for the fact that I think I’m quite boring and end up leaving and just thinking I was a giant ass instead. Not ideal. Actually made worse now by the fact that in addition to all the neurotic thoughts I already have I am constantly questioning my parenting and getting all self conscious because I’m wondering what the other people are thinking about what I’m doing with / feeding / dressing The Peas in and also then wondering if I’m talking about them too much, or maybe not enough, and maybe that’s weird too? I think I have issues.

    I’ve been pushing myself to get out and meet new people though and to try and overcome the social anxiety that just seems to be getting worse as time goes on. So if I’m a babbling wreck when you meet me rest assured it’s only because I’m nervous, not because I am actually a babbling wreck. Or maybe I am. Maybe that’s part of the problem!? Hah!

    It’s amazing what past dysfunctional relationships will do to you!! xx

    • Siobhan
      Posted January 22, 2014 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

      I think being away from social situations is a thing that can then make it harder to get back in again. I am more than happy to hear about your children and I have no kids so will not judge as I have no idea how I’d do it. I am also, more fundamentally really looking forward to meeting you. x

    • Posted January 22, 2014 at 9:50 pm | Permalink

      Steff I am floored that all this goes through your head. I was SO excited to finally meet you in October and so happy we got to chat, you were everything I hoped you would be. I can’t believe you worry about what anyone might think of your parenting. Every time I struggle with an aspect of motherhood I think about how you had to do all this BUT DOUBLE. You are inspiring, woman! And your fruity custard recipe is the bomb – going down a storm in the house this week. Be proud of yourself love, you absolutely deserve to be.

      Px

      • Posted January 23, 2014 at 9:28 am | Permalink

        Penny this is possibly the nicest thing anyone’s ever said to me! xx

    • Posted January 23, 2014 at 8:12 am | Permalink

      I’m brilliant at babbling when I meet new people, it should be an Olympic sport. I’d prefer someone to babble back to me rather than form perfect sentences and make 100% sense..! Maybe we could start a Babblers Club?

  18. Emily
    Posted January 22, 2014 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

    This is a great post Siobhan and it sounds like you are doing a wonderful job of making the most of your new home city. Although I’ve only met you recently (at what should definitely now be called AOW Cake-Ups), I can add to the other ladies assurances that you are friendly, lovely and interesting to talk to. Making new friends as an adult is a difficult thing and something we all seem to be guilty of beating ourselves up about and letting our insecurities get the better of us.

    I have moved cities twice in the last five years (R is a scientist so we go where the next contract is – where are the permanent jobs?) and have struggled to make my own group of friends. I can’t complain as in both Birmingham and now London we had one or two friends already there and R’s colleagues are a friendly, sociable bunch, but I don’t have that support network that I regularly see. It’s partly my fault for not putting the effort in due to my own worries that seem to be shared with most of you here – not being interesting enough and being a bit shy and trying to be something other than ourselves.

    I have the lovely Bex to thank for getting me along to the regular London Cake-Ups and hope to gradually get to know people better there. This is such a positive, welcoming community of people. I also need to get back into activities I used to enjoy in previous cities – playing in orchestras, doing yoga and maybe (if I am ever fit enough and fast enough) find a cycling club.
    This post has given me a gentle kick to stop being so anxious and making excuses and get out there for more cake!

    • Siobhan
      Posted January 22, 2014 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

      Please do – I am also glad to have met you and really enjoy your company so please don’t deprive people close by the pleasure of being around you. It would be a real shame for them.

  19. Siobhan
    Posted January 22, 2014 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for the lovely comments today. It has been lovely. Today was a tricky and trying day at work so to have all this kindness and care in this little corner of the internet has been a really lovely thing.

    I am really lucky to have fallen in with this community of great women, and I feel like the next few months will be okay. Starting some friendships in London just before I left felt a little bitter sweet but the people I started those friendships with are pretty special so I feel lucky to be straddling two cities for a bit and getting the best of both. It has also made me feel more confident about meeting new people here.

    Thank you.

  20. Alan
    Posted January 22, 2014 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

    Second to getting on well with someone, I think that the key to friendships is shared experiences. They don’t necessarily have to be major life moments, but the more common memories, in-jokes and “do you remember when’s” the people have, the more they are bound together than with people who weren’t there …

    And building up shared experiences as an adult takes time. Either because we have less of it to give around our hectic schedules, or because when you are a kid every week lasted a lifetime!

    Most friendships probably start out with someone just “being polite” and develop from there – unless you have so much in common that you can skip a number of steps – so put yourself out there, be yourself and the friendships will come to you :o )

  21. Jen
    Posted January 22, 2014 at 8:26 pm | Permalink

    I loved this post. Most of my good friends have moved away or abroad recently and I work on my own most of the time in a different area to where I live. The people I work with are lovely but being ‘the new girl’ and living nowhere near them means I don’t really get to socialise with them. Sometimes I feel like a bit of a failure because I don’t have that many close friends and I’ve been asking myself recently, how do you make friends as a grown up? On another note, I’m in Edinburgh and like cake if you ever fancy meeting :) x

  22. Kate G
    Posted January 23, 2014 at 6:44 am | Permalink

    YES YES YES to all the above. Thanks for sharing Siobhan, and everyone who’s replied.

    It IS hard. I have just been thinking so many of these same thoughts. (Maybe beacause its NY with all that life re-evaluation I pull out every year? ) We moved countries 2 years ago, and despite having built up a fun bunch of friends, they are mostly “fun-time” friends, not really ones to have D&Ms on occasion. Also they are all non-permanent expats and will soon ove back home once marriage or /and children come about, which has already started to happen. Im trully worried about ending up Norman No Mates.

    Despite working with lovely people who pride themselves in their warm and caring and family culture, I have not crossed that boundary of meeting anyone outside of work functions despite me actually asking. Due to no common interests or shared experiences I know realistically this is just how its going to stay, fair enough. We are not likely to have children, so that will exculde me from that group of possibilities. We have no family here to meet up with so that link is not available. I tried to join a bookclub, was was told that it was “full” – they can be so political. Yoga and gym is fierecely competitive in its own way, and Im not able to join another as its too far to travel…we cant get a dog (yet) due to property restrictions so no doggie classes….

    WTF?? How do you meet people thesedays ?!

    I can only reiterate (and keep doing) what eveyone has said : keep being open to new things and push yourself out of your comfort zone and In time, in unexpected places and maybe not as quicky as you’d like , surely the magic will happen.

    Im so greatful for eveyone on here who shares their experiences and views so honestly, it feeds my soul from afar :) AOW-etts are awesome, all of you, and my god what I would give to meet any and every one for you for a Cake Up!

    xx

    • Posted January 23, 2014 at 8:17 am | Permalink

      How can a Book Club be ‘full’? What do they *do*? Maybe they set assignments and you have to work in pairs, or there’s a terrible shortage of chairs, or maybe you have to pass an initiation test or use a special word when you ask to join…

  23. Posted January 23, 2014 at 10:06 am | Permalink

    Gosh, what a post and lovely comments!

    Siobhan – I completely understand where you are coming from. I walked away from a very close group of friends a couple of years ago (after realising they were no good for me) and without them I often feel lonely.

    Watching other friendships develop through blogs, twitter etc also doesn’t help. I often want to join in, but I feel like i’d be intruding if i said hey – can I come too? So I don’t. It has a lot to do with rejection I know. Not everyone is ever going to gell, and its hard to deal with the fact that a friendship might not develop. I guess its like dating in that way, but harder as it is emotional attraction not just physical.

    Anyway I am waffling. If any of the AOW girls are in Edinburgh or Glasgow and don’t mind a wee one tagging along on their next cake date, I’m jumping around here waving my arms in the air shouting pick me too!

  24. Posted January 24, 2014 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

    I have been thinking about this post all day. Why why why do so many of us struggle with this? What can be done about it? Ponder ponder.

  25. Another Sarah
    Posted January 27, 2014 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

    I’ve followed this blog for nearly two years and regularly kick myself for the fact I have not contributed, rarely commented and, in fact, been a bit of a stalker. I’m not very good with twitter so miss out on most of the OAW gossip but I’d love to get to know you all. I’m @SarahBenn12 and promise to try harder.

    I moved to Birmingham from north Oxfordshire last summer (sorry I missed you @deltafoxtrotcharlie). I’ve met a few people but don’t really have any friends yet – I would love to get to know any of you living in Birmingham / the Midlands / further afield.

  26. Posted February 6, 2014 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

    I love all the meetups being arranged in the comments. I moved to London 9 months ago and wrote a similar post about how difficult I’d found it making friends. I’m a very private person and while I will happily chat away to pretty much anyone about superficial I’m not good at sharing me feelings or being close to people. I also get that paranoia that people think I’m annoying/weird because lets face it, we all are a bit!
    Then just last week I had to attend a hospital appointment where there was the possibility they may have had to sedate me and as such needed to arrange an escort home. I panicked thinking I had no-one but a single tweet and I had a total of four people offer! I was amazed and so very grateful.

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Hello! We're Clare, Aisling and Anna and welcome to a corner of the world where smart, flawed, real women talk about the bigger picture; about their experiences, stories and opinions on all aspects of being a woman today, from marriage to feminism to pretty, too.

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