Over the weekend, I gave a number of women my 30-second book pitch, part of which goes: “It’s about how hard it is to make friends as an adult.”
Each person smiled knowingly. One girl a bit younger than me told me she totally got it. “I’ve been there. When I was 23 it was so easy to make friends, because everyone wants to be friends at 23. Now it’s so much harder.” She’s probably 27, so things changed pretty quickly.
I’ve heard similar stories from older women. Empty nesters with newfound free time tell me they long for new companionship, or retired women say they’re looking for pals to help take advantage of their new schedule.
And I’ve been wondering: Does age make a difference?
When I started my quest, I was sure my situation made it especially difficult to make friends. New city, work from home, no kids. At the time, it didn’t occur to me that women in all different life situations would be in the same boat. Most women have it easy, I thought. I’m just unlucky.
I was sure it would get easier when…
1) I had kids. Pregnancy classes! Mommy & Me! Preschool! All these organized activities would certainly mean new-mom BFFs, pronto.
2) I started working in an office. Coworkers = BFFs. Right??
3) I retired. Yes it’s a long way off but I figured the older I got, the easier it would be to meet new people. Something about being more confident in my old(er) age. And more friendly. It just seemed like older women were better at finding confidantes.
Don’t even get me started on when I’m 80 and in assisted living. I saw In Her Shoes. Retirement homes are like college dorms! Sign me up.
Almost two years after the conception of this search, though, I’m thinking I was wrong. Each life situation presents its own friend-making difficulties. Kids make it hard to go out and socialize. Office work can introduce you to people, but not necessarily the people with whom you’d choose to spend your free time. And retirement/empty nest can bring time for new friends, but not necessarily help you find the right people.
So now I’m wondering, does it get easier? Ever?? Is there a post-college age when making friends is simple and effortless? Do the passing decades–and the accompanying wisdom that age provides–help you find your “person,” as Meredith and Christina would say? What does age have to do with it?
Bottom line: Is there one age–your 50’s? your 30s? 80s?–that is especially easy for friend making? Or is it tough across the board once the college days are behind you?