Friendships: Nobody Said It Was Easy, No One Ever Said It Would Be This Hard

Specifically, adult friendships. Or whatever I am…that awkward mix between teenager and middle-aged adult…

I’m not a very social person. I’m introverted and shy and struggle to adjust to new people. However, once I’m comfortable, then I’m loud and silly and ready to take on the world. The problem is that as I grow older, the number of people who ever see the loud, comfortable side of me seems to drop and dwindle.

My mother is a very social person so growing up I wasn’t short on play-dates and whatnot, and I even managed to wrangle a few friends of my own in elementary school that lasted until high school. But towards the end of my high school career, those friendships that I had for years and years all seemed to falter at some point, most beyond the point of repair. Perhaps we had simply grown apart. I suppose childhood friendships have to end at some point.

That’s not to say that I didn’t make friends in high school, because I did. Most of my best friends currently are ones I made in high school and I love them dearly. But as I’ve come to find, friendships based on seeing each other in person five days a week for six hours don’t easily translate to seeing each other a few times a year. Though my generation is ridiculously techy, that doesn’t guarantee a strong relationship with the people who’s Snaps you view or statuses you Like.

I was eager to go live on campus in university as I had envisioned myself with many new close friends and fun times. At first, I had that. For a week or three, maybe. Then the group went in a few different directions and I wasn’t invited along on any, which sucked. I ended the year with a few people I consider friends, but the closest of the handful were males. All my life I’ve had an easier time befriending males, which I don’t mind, but sometimes, I need female friends too. It’s only recently struck me that I don’t know how to talk to females. I have zero interest in clothes or makeup or Starbucks and my relationship status does not allow me to participate in conversations about relationships. But with males, I can have a whole debate on what’s considered a sport or how awesome the newest Marvel movie will be…I’m more comfortable with the generic male lifestyle.

That being said, I still struggle with talking to all new people. I never think of conversation starters and can never work up the courage. It’s stupid, but that’s what I deal with. I sit in lecture halls with dozens of people interested in the same general subject as I am, yet I talk to no one and no one talks to me. Or if we do talk, it’s for a limited time. I don’t know how to keep the friendship up. It’s the same online. People have really close online friends and it’s really nice to see these interactions, but I can never manage to maintain a relationship similar. What is it about me? Or is it nothing but I’m missing some big secret tip on how to make friends?

Friendship is such a powerful TV/movie trope. I watch shows like Glee and wish I had a group of underdog friends like that when I was in high school. I watch Parks And Recreation and hope I have coworkers as awesome as they do. I watch FRIENDS and hope I have that close adult group of pals when I’m in my late twenties. I know it’s just TV and I shouldn’t compare my average real life to that, but it’s so hard not to when the relationships we see on TV are so awesome and ideal. #Squadgoals to the max, amiright!?

Furthermore, I’ve found that I’m needy. I genuinely need my friends to put in the effort to keep in touch regularly and actually show they care beyond a “Merry Christmas :)” text. Unfortunately, I lack those people in my life. Which either leads me to believe that I’ve befriended the wrong people, or my neediness is unrealistic for today’s standards. I’m thinking the latter as a pattern of communication disappointments seems to follow me. I’m not asking for texts and Skype calls every day, or even every week. I’m thinking once a month if people would try to initiate a real conversation with people they care for, or send them a funny video/URL in an effort to show they were being thought of, people would be happier.

But okay, people are busy. I’ve come to learn that when my friends are at their respective schools, they have abundant social lives, and between that and classes, they don’t have time to chat me up as much as I’d prefer. I get it. So I try to make the most of holidays, but even that doesn’t always work out. I’m tired of being the only one to put in effort…Am I asking too much? And I seriously want answers, because some days, when I’m not getting the responses I want from friends, I have no choice but to think so. My best friend and I literally try and get together as soon as possible and that’s so great. Knowing that this one friend wants to see me and be with me as soon as she can is such a nice feeling. Technology is my world, but nothing replaces face-to-face, and I will fight anyone who thinks different.

Should I be upset that some friends don’t put me as high up on the priority list as I do them? Should I be upset that I don’t have what they have? Because every time I do get bitter, I end up blaming myself in the end. After all, I’m the only one who I have control over. Maybe if I had more university friends, I wouldn’t be hung up on my high school friends. Maybe if I was more outgoing, I wouldn’t struggle to interact with people. Maybe if I stopped caring about what others are doing so much, I’d be happier with what I do have. Maybe.

As I grow older, I slowly lose contact with old pals so I really need help making and keeping new ones. I can’t even be a lonely cat lady as I’m allergic to cats. So I ask you fellow bloggers and readers, how do you make and maintain friends as you get older? Or do you even have this problem? I’m really curious as to the responses I get as I know my readership vastly varies in age.

I hope y’all are having better luck in the friendship department because friends are so important, often more important than family. Take a minute to text a friend you love and let them know it, or take a minute to text a friend you may have been accidentally neglecting.

That’s all for now!

25 thoughts on “Friendships: Nobody Said It Was Easy, No One Ever Said It Would Be This Hard

  1. Wow very true indeed! My sentiments about friendships right now, I was actually writing a piece today about this topic. Thanks for sharing, I am not alone then lol

  2. I definitely know what you mean on the friendship front! I’m very similar. I’m at a point where I have 3 close friends, and 1 best friend. I’ve also lived in the same city for eons, and gone to university there, so I had an easier time of maintaining those friendships. Friendships are really hard though! I’ve found that they can work across distances, but it does take a heck of a lot of work. On both sides. It’s not just you 😛 Hope that makes sense… 😛

    • It totally makes sense. I’m always ready to put in the effort, but I get discouraged when others don’t, so I stop trying and the friendship completely falls apart.
      I was reading your blog and saw that you’re moving to South Korea! I hope you manage to keep up your friendships when you’re gone and make new ones too! That sounds like quite an adventure!

      • Yes! That is the challenge ahead 🙂 I leave pretty soon, so I’ll be blogging more in the days ahead. I’ve enjoyed following your blog, especially I love hearing about fellow introverts who love things like the difference between DC and Marvel, etc 😉 And, y’know, it’s always nice to hear that we’re not alone in certain…introverted struggles 😛

  3. Friendship has to be a a reciprocal thing in my opinion If people aren’t willing to put in the effort to maintain contact then they aren’t the people you need in your life. Yes, they have their own lives and can be busy, but friends try to be there for people they care about.

    I’m approaching 30 and my list of friends has dwindled. I’ve accepted it as a fact of life, that no matter how hard we try, sometimes friendships don’t last. But the ones that do are the ones where both parties put in the same level of effort to keep it a strong, healthy relationship.

    I’m very shy and introvert to so I can empathise with your issues about initially making friends. But the best thing is to just be yourself and people will coalesce together and friendships will be born from it. Friendships can be tricky, but they should never be impossible. Hope you have some better luck in the future.


    • Thanks for the support. I totally agree that friendships should be reciprocal, and that’s why I’ve lately been the one to essentially give up and cut ties, if that makes sense.
      You’re right, some friendships don’t last, and I think I need to work on accepting that more. It happens to everyone, I guess.
      Being myself is luckily the one thing I’ve always been good at. I do have a bit of faith that my ‘sparking personality’ will help me make more friends in time.

      • Yeah it makes total sense. If you think you’re the only one putting effort into maintaining a friendship, then its not real friendship and thus cutting ties is the simplest course of action.

        Just because it happens to everyone, doesnt mean its easy to accept. Its okay to feel sad when friendships fall aparr. BUt if you’ve put as much into as possible, then don’t hold yourself to blame. I think thats the message I’d offer.

        Its impossible to maintain friendships when not being yourself, because they never befriend the real you. You seem like a really great person, shy and introvert maybe but many of the best people are exactly that. You will make friends if you are true to yourself and they will be true friends 🙂

  4. I feel that the older one gets the less friends they have, which seems true. I mean I have heard from tons of people from different ages saying yeah I used to have friends and now I just have a few. Which is fine trust me it really is. No man or woman is an island.
    We are social and believe me I’m going through a friend crisis at the moment. ( this entire week I hanged out just by myself). But we all have friends or people that care about us in some way shape or form. The struggle is real to find truly great friends though(most of my friends don’t even watch anything marvel so I have no one to talk to about daredevil with)

    • Friend crisises are the worst! I hope yours works out! And you’re right, I do have friends who do love me.
      And connecting based on interests is so important! I need to work interests into conversations more, I think…
      P.S. You can talk to me about Marvel/Daredevil whenever!

  5. Spend more time with the friends you have!

    Just spending memories with ‘someone’. ‘Cuz isn’t that what a friend is? Just someone you enjoy spending your time with. Could be a couple of memorable messages from bloggers like us, or some old pals in the past.

    (ps. Watching all those shows might affect your expectations of life–they make it look fun when really it’s hell :P)

  6. I’ve gotta say, I was in the same boat as you. When I was younger, I always feared to be annoying by staying in touch and “asking for attention”. So I learned to stay distant and wait for them to come to me. Plus sharing interest with boys more than girls, I ended up befriending more guys. Let’s be honest, guys don’t text their guy friends about everything at every hour of the day.
    But, as I grow older, I realize how much I wish I had more girl friends. I have a few, but most my friendships are long distance and limit to a few messages here and there. It was much easier when I would see them at school every day. Reaching out to old friends and new ones makes a huge difference. Just asking if they wanna hang out or inviting them to go see a movie (even Deadpool 😉 ) might be the little push needed to create a solid friendship. And I’ve found that most girls are open to discussions that are not related to clothes, makeup and relationships 😉
    But I get that making time for people can be hard. We live in a world where everything wants our attention at all times. School, work, family, significant other, friends, are all priorities. How to manage all of it at the same time when we have only 24 hours in a day? I book in advance. I never ask people to hang out tomorrow or this week-end as most already have plans. I ask when they are free next week and then we can find time for each other. It works for me, don’t know if it’d work for you!
    So yeah, I can’t remember the point of all this, but anyways… I think I can count on one hand the number of real, good friends I see often (and that can cater to my neediness), but I do have good friends I see once in a while, sometimes only once or twice a year. We keep in touch sporadically and when we do see each other, it’s like we saw each other yesterday. Different people have different needs, just need to find those who match yours!

    • You give some really good advice. I like booking in advance too, but I think people at my age like to do things spur-of-the-moment…something about always waiting for the best opportunity, I was told.
      But I’m learning to embrace friendships that work because we see each other a few times a year. In fact, I reached out to a friend today and we tentatively have plans to get coffee next week!
      Thanks for commenting! 🙂

  7. I have the same problem to a point, in that when I was growing up, my family moved frequently, and so I had to change/evolve/let go of friendships/relationships on a regular basis. As an adult, that’s made me rather “gun shy” when it comes to trying to make new connections, and keep them up, as deep down I wonder if people always leave me, instead of vice versa. The fact is, sometimes people aren’t going to be good friends — no matter how good we are to them — and it sucks, but it’s true. We need to not worry about how those people see us.

    There is the issue of “not being enough of a girl”. I like pretty dresses and shoes (OMG, yes to pretty shoes), and frilly things, I’m no fashion-ista, and I’d much rather read a Terry Pratchett book or watch a Marvel movie than look at Vogue or watch Glee. I’m a classical dancer, but I’ve found so many of the girls I’ve danced with, that’s the only thing we have in common. So I need to find other females who like, say, Doctor Who and The Hunger Games, and that can be challenging…because I don’t live in “female geeks-who-also-dance-and-like-history nation”. 🙂

    Other times, things change so much in an individual’s life that you/they realize the friendship actually isn’t what it once was, and isn’t cutting it, for one or both of you. And I think that’s okay. Healthy and mature to admit it.

    When it comes to being not quite an adult and wanting to have mature friendships, unfortunately I think you may be stuck somewhat because of the impersonal-ness that technology has created among much of your generation. (I’m not giving away my age, but I will say I’m over 30. So I remember a time before the internet.) Face to face is still important. Although I also like being able to connect with people across the world — for example, on a blog — it doesn’t replace in person contact, hearing someone’s voice, seeing their body language, learning their little “isms”.

    Good luck to you, above all. I understand this situation, and I hope things work out for you. *hugs*

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