Nobody to have a beer with

How do you make friends as an adult when you’re not a group person? My life feels so empty!

You can do it, says our elder. Volunteering worked for me.

Dear EWC

I’ve turned 27 this year and now being officially in my late twenties I’ve started to feel like my life is somewhat empty. I have my job and that’s sort of it. I’ve tried dating but I’m old fashioned and really want to meet someone that is like a best friend that I can share hobbies with too, but nobody seems interested and just want casual relationships or always have their eye on someone else. There’s never been a time where I’ve been given a chance to just spend time with someone and be together and where it doesn’t matter what you do because you’re with that person.

I don’t really have any friends I can share my hobbies with in my city. I bonded with a few people at my local gym but I’m also incredibly passionate about cooking and gym-goers don’t tend to mix well with decadent cooking! I used to have a group of friends that I made when I was about 11 and we have all stuck together but at my age now everyone has spread all over the country and everyone lives with their partners now so I’m always the single one at the occasional events we do, and nights out went from going out at 11 and staying out till 3/4am, to going out at 7pm, everyone goes home by 11, stops drinking at 9, and swaps their last two drinks for water.

I love old soul music. I love cooking. I love design and making things with my hands. But I don’t have anyone to share these things with and so I get home most nights and spend the evening alone in my flat watching TV or doing freelance work. I’ve spent entire weekends alone and the only person I’ve spoken to is the checkout operator when I go food shopping. I’m not sure what to do about the situation because there isn’t really a social norm for adults looking to make new friends. Everyone seems to be sorted with their own friends so I often feel like an extra in other people’s lives rather than living my own.

It’s more of an existence now than a life, and for someone who used to be a very happy and energetic person it’s a difficult shift. I’m well liked by others and I’m personable and friendly, easy to talk to and a good listener and friendly, but there’s no depth there. They’re all very casual, occasional friendships and not the kind of friendship where you’d invite them to your house. I honestly don’t have a single person I could call right now and ask to go out for a beer with and I’ve come to realise that it’s very likely I could disappear for a week and only my boss would question it. So basically I just want some advice on how to make friends as an adult when all of your hobbies are somewhat introspective and personal and not something you tend to do as a group.

Good-Listener replies

I’m so sorry you’re experiencing this emptiness right now. You sound like me when I was in my late 20s — until things changed. I was not a group person, so I had trouble meeting others, until I made some decisions to branch out.

You seem to be in touch with your skills, and hobbies. My best suggestion is to find others who share those passions. Take a fun class, join some kind of an activity group, VOLUNTEER. Some of my best life experiences and best friends came from doing what I love, only with others. I joined a gym, took some fun classes, volunteered doing things I love to do (not what others said I should do). Life changed dramatically. It didn’t happen overnight, but when I shared those passions with others, it worked. I put volunteering in caps because I found groups who could use what I brought to the table. Even activity groups where I never thought I’d meet people (I can be painfully shy) benefited me in ways I could never imagine. I love to read so I joined a book club. I did all sorts of things — some better than others, some that I eventually dropped, but I met a lot of real quality individuals and developed friendships that have lasted 50 years in some cases.

Think of what you love, and check out ways to do those things with others — you may be very surprised at what’s out there if you look deeper. Things can get so much better. Good luck.

Letter #: 444053
Category: Self-Improvement

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