Making Friends at 35
I just finished watching Young Sheldon. The episode that stayed with me the most is the one in which he tries to make friends by reading a book - How to Win Friends and Influence People. I have not read that book1. But I have tried to make new friends since 2010. This post is about that. Even though it's a short post it took me a long time to write. Have patience, don't get offended and be open to ideas. If you are my friend those are a must :)
Why new friends?
I have quite a few friends. They come in all colors and shades. I am very happy and proud of having them in my life. I have made most of my friends at the age of 14, 18, 30, 33. After 33 there have been very few new ones and lost most old ones. NO, no one died. Most of them moved away from the country, some are unreachable, a few don't have time and a bunch have grown up to be very different from me that I don't see anything common.
So now you see I have lost many and gained a few. I am just 37 now. Imagine me being 50. At 50 I would have lost more and chances of making new friends would be slim if I don't know how. So I started thinking about it and working on it
Why is it difficult?
Because I don't meet many new people
Yes. I don't meet many new people any more. I don't work full-time anywhere. I don't have big teams. I attend very few events and rarely a tech event. So there you go, if you don't meet new people, you can't make new friends.
Because I am choosy and open at the same time
Yes. I am much more choosy now than when I was at school or college. I have no social pressure to be cool or be with cool people. I am much awkward and more unsocial now than what I was at 18. So I like and love to meet real people. People who are dreamers even while they are stuck in difficult situations, people who stand ground for what they believe, people who work hard, people who do stuff. Above all people who live simple and let others live. Those are my filtering conditions. I lose 99% of the newly met people there. That said I have also become more acceptable now than before. I do know we humans are just humans. We all are faulty.
On a side note, preamble of Indian constitution is a great filtering condition. If someone believes in democracy, justice, liberty, equality, secularism etc. She is a great friend to have.
Because it's tough to get rid of old friendships
It is. Even though we have grownup to be different and no longer have the same relationship. I still have a lot of respect for what we had. I have a responsibility (civility) to take part in their life, check on them etc. I think I owe them a lot for their past friendships. Friendships like any other relationships are a lot of work and mental space. So old ones take away the time from new ones.
Because I have a great partner
Because I have a great partner it opens very few opportunities to do things with new friends. Unless your partner likes your friend and his or her partner2 then its super difficult to do things together. Even if you all like each other, finding a common activity to do is super tough. You will have to look for a very small window of opportunity.
All is not lost. I have made some new friends since I am 35. It's surprising that how many people whom I disliked3 earlier have grownup to be wonderful human beings. I have revived some really old ones with whom I could reconnect. So small success but it's an ongoing process. I will keep writing about it.
I have been reading your blog for a few months…. usually its technical and suddenly… it deals with a social issue. Very Interesting Topic.
I am 55, but in other ways I am probably much like you. You did not mention if you have kids, but I recall when my kids were small it was common to make friends with the parents of other kids. It happens naturally if you are taking your kids to soccer, or hockey, or basketball… you get the idea. (I am in Canada.. hence the hockey reference).
A few years ago my wife and I realized we really did not need to stay in on weekend evenings anymore to take care of the kids, they were well launched, and needed some of their own space anyway, so we took up Curling.
I doubt you do that in India so I will explain. In Canada we just cannot get enough cold frosty weather, so we play curling where we go indoors to a refrigerated ice rink, and slide granite rocks from one end of the rink to the other, aiming to be closes to a target. Its kind of like darts, but each dart is 20 Kg.
The best part of Curling is it involves socializing after each game by enjoying a beer or whatever, with your team mates and the other team. Socializing is so intrinsic to curling it is expected the winning team buys the first round of drinks for the losing team. Since each curling team is 4 people, getting to know 3 folks pretty well over a month or two while you are on their team, and getting to meet 4 new people each game is ideal for meeting new people. Not too overwhelming, and you have multiple opportunities to get to know people so there is no pressure on any particular day.
Now that spring is coming, and curling is ending for another year, I have decided to take up Golf for similar reasons. It is reasonably good exercise, but not too strenuous. Meanwhile, if you play in a foursome, its a good chance to get to know a few other people fairly well, since it takes 3 or 4 hours to get around the course. And afterwards you can share a drink with your mates so it has a social side I like.
So, those are my tips…. play some sports that include a social element, and be open to making friends when you meet other parents who are in a similar situation to yourself.
Keep up the good blog!
You are right, I mostly write about Tech but once in a while do write about life.
I don’t have kids yet. But we have a pet now and that has added a lot of pet parents to our list. That has been a good channel to meet new people.
I have never played Curling but I have heard about it from friends who recently moved to Switzerland. I have always loved bowling. I used to play a lot but had stopped for various reasons. I will restart.
I have also found best way to reconnect with old friends is to meet them for breakfasts on a weekday. It’s easy and can be planned. It has worked well.
Thank you for the tips.