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12 Reasons Why Making New Friends Is So Hard And What You Can Do About It

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After an uneventful and lonely day
once, I wanted to pour my heart out
to somebody so badly. Frantically
scurrying down my phone for search
of a patient ear to listen to my woes,
I found myself scrolling down,
skipping from one name to another.
My Facebook page, Viber, WhatsApp
listed 1000+ contacts but something
made me skip names in my moment
of fury.The plethora of relationships
that we entwine ourselves today
makes trust, faith, and being in a
true friendship very difficult.
Growing up, getting married, having
kids, or maybe being in a relationship
has changed the dynamics of
friendships today. One day, when a
good friend confided in me some of
her impending personal problems, I
was horrified yet sad. “What made
you keep this away from me for so
long?” I demanded. She quietly
replied, “I was scared, as what would
you think of me”. Quite a change
from our earlier childhood days,
when we never thought twice before
sharing about our shortcomings,
inner fears, and absence of a
particular thing from our lives.
Why has making new friends become
so tough? If you count on your
fingers the list of new friends you
made say, in 5 years, you may say
numerous. But out of them, maybe
one or two are really genuine and
dear to you. So the question arises –
what now? Could you possibly linger
onto your platonic relationships, let
go, or do something else? Let us find
out why making new friends is so
hard and what you can do about it.
1. Virtual relationships.
Relationships and that includes our
friendships are becoming more and
more virtual. You have your old
friends with whom you chat with
endlessly, keeping them posted,
pinging them, tagging them, poking
them, sending them game invites and
what not to keep in touch. Similarly
when you make new friends, you
always have this “gap” of
communication as you prefer going
the “web” or “phone” way.
Sometimes communicating virtually
might not actually work for a naive
and new friendship which requires a
lot of personal interaction. So one
reason why friendships are limber is
because of the excessive virtual
communication between them.
Communicate more, but in person.
Of course you can’t visit your old
friends time and again, but make
sure you video call them frequently
instead of chat or SMS. For those
friends who are around, try to
genuinely know them in the first two-
three meetings. If you don’t hit it off,
you can always back off.
2. No time to invest in relationships.
Time is money or in fact even more
precious than money nowadays.
People hardly find time for social
interactions as they are caught up by
work pressure, marital problems,
health concerns, and a lethargic
lifestyle involving TV and social media
craze. After all this, if they find some
time left, they like idling away or
sleeping rather than hanging out with
friends.
Solutions? Nothing. Relax and chill
but whenever you do squeeze in
some time, make time for your
hobbies or simply enjoy moments of
silence. Your solitude may prove to
be your best friend at times.
3. People move on.
Need to pursue careers, spouses, or
education outside of your home may
at times weaken or even uproot your
long friendships. After a tussle of
trying to make new friends for quite
some time, I can now safely say “In
life we never lose friends… We grow
up, we move, we change”. After
studying for some years outside of
my home state, when I returned
back, I was met with no welcome
visits, no calls, and no emails. I was
devastated. Turns out many of my
school friends too had moved and
the rest were busy with their new-
found friends. They had made friends
of their own and so did I (at least I
thought so).
Nothing much could be done in
situations like these, other than
letting it go. It gets difficult to carry
on and make new friends as
childhood friendships are definitely
the most special, but they too won’t
be entirely the same. This is one
reason why we don’t make new
friends. We wait for the past
friendships to be reignited and they
don’t. Look for new friends where
you currently are.
4. Compatibility issues.
Somehow with the increasing
intellectualism within the youth and
rapid increase in general well being,
people hold themselves at high
accord with other people. So when
the intermingling happens, you often
do not see eye to eye with a recent
(or old) friend on certain issues. So
new friendships get soiled due to ego
and compatibility issues and old
friendships due to changing times
and status issues. A not-so-old friend
of mine just got back from her
business trip abroad after staying
away for like a couple of years. The
way she dressed up, talked and
reacted to situations was completely
very elevated. In the next few days,
she began finding herself more and
more deserted by her friends here as
they felt suffocated in her company.
Turns out she was actually making
people feel worse about themselves.
I would say compatibility needs to be
developed. Similarly, decide how you
feel in your respective friendships. If
you argue on some worldly affairs
say politics, sports or culture that is
fine but if there is an ideology or
thought process clash, then I would
worry.
5. Relationship issues.
I was talking to a classmate of mine
who was heavily troubled by the
dislike of his girlfriend towards his
best friend-roommate. Finally one
day it grew so bad and she
demanded him to change his room
as she could not stand the sight of
his friend. My poor friend had to
succumb to his girl’s wishes. He is
not on talking terms with his friend
and often tells me how unhappy he
is to lose such a solid guy. Sometimes
when couples meet, the wives may
get along but the husbands do not.
And we all know what happens after
that.
It is difficult to say what to do in
deadlock situations like these but the
choice is very subjective and
whatever the person thinks is right
for them at that moment. But I feel
the person who really loves you will
never tell you to choose among your
friends.
6. Priorities change.
Friends. But you have a boyfriend or
girlfriend or family to turn to, so why
do need friends? Sad but true. Once
you become an adult it is natural for
you to give importance to other
significant people in your life.
Obviously your time gets divided
between your friends and other
relationships. You start slowing
declining in making new friends and
the old ones too start to drift apart.
Tricky one here. But why not try
dividing time between friends and
love interest or family? Or even
better, try having common friends or
introducing your partner to your
friend. You can keep both your
relationship as well as your
friendships intact.
7. Ghosts of past friendships.
Whenever I try to venture out and
seek new friends, I always am
reminded of my not-so successful
attempts in the past. The times when
I had tried to venture, seek and met
new people. The times when I invited
them over for dinner, offered to take
care of them when they fell sick,
called them up frequently only to be
let down at a later date. On one
hand, we have the vulnerable side of
us scared and hurt by the past
traumas. On the other, we have the
eager, lonely, and expectant us who
wants to try again and trust people.
Emotional baggage can be difficult to
let go of but remember that not
everyone will be the same.
If you feel people let you down every
time, maybe you need to
contemplate and think about your
actions. Oprah Winfrey quotes: “If
friends disappoint you over and over,
that’s in large part of your own fault.
Once someone has shown a tendency
to be self-centered you need to
recognize that and take care of
yourself. People aren’t going to
change simply, because you want
them to.”
8. A hint of suspicion.
There is always this hint of
judgement nowadays when we meet
somebody new. Moreover in this
world when people are vying each
other, there is always this strange
feeling when people are trying to be
sweet to us.
What to do? Some of them can be
really genuine. Take a chance and
reciprocate. There are some people
who really care about people and are
trying to make new acquaintances.
Allow them and be led.
9. Putting ourselves into defined
brackets.
Making new friends gets seemingly
difficult as people with similar tastes
and preferences get together and the
rest get sidelined. I felt myself
surprisingly aloof initially living in
Europe, being an expat. There are
groups for cooking, mothers, kitty
parties, and I didn’t fit in any of
them. Even though in some places I
found common interests, I didn’t
meet like-minded people. I felt out
of place with groups of mothers and
kids, people sharing the same native
language, or people talking about
cooking recipes all the time.It is like
putting an extra effort to go and
bond yourself with the groups.
Quoting ― J.D. Salinger, The Catcher
in the Rye, “I am always saying “Glad
to’ve met you” to somebody I’m not
at all glad I met. If you want to stay
alive, you have to say that stuff,
though.” Of course we will always
need people but if you feel you are
being with people just for the heck of
it, that doesn’t sound nice at all.
10. The fake, the formal, and the
famous.
I don’t need a friend who changes
when I change and who nods when I
nod. One of the reasons why we
don’t end up in making lots of new
friends is the closed web that people
weave around them and stay put. As
we grow up, we tend to get more
closed and stay huddled within
ourselves. When we were in college,
we had an easy way of looking at
things and behaved similarly. Once
we grow up, we begin to feel more
threatened by the stiff competition
around us, be it in work,
relationships, or money. We
somehow don’t like hanging out with
people more popular than us,
famous or likewise.
I would say get challenged and hang
out with all weird personalities of
people and observe them. Yes, you
may not want to do anything with
the fake and the formal ones but
they help you to distinguish between
the wrong and right ones. They give
me food for thought and end up
being some weird character in my
articles!
11. Lack of initiative.
In the beginning of any new found
friendship, there has to be someone
who takes the initiative, breaks the
ice, and offers to get together. That
is perfectly fine. But there are some
people who do not do anything and
are always waiting to be led.
Although some people can’t help but
be overly enthusiastic, sometimes it
can get you no where or even repel
people.
I would say give people their space
and check if they are genuinely
interested in you or are in it for the
sake of the event, food, drinks,
loneliness, or for some real company.
12. The selfishness quotient.
The using people thing. When I
started to hang out with new people
after I started working, the dynamics
of friendships around me took a
rapid hit. Friends whom I knew from
yesteryear and new ones started
giving me undue importance due to
the nature of the job I had. Initially,
it felt good to be recognized, but
then the uneasiness grew. People
started knowing me not for what I
was but for who I was. Eventually, as
we grow up, we realize that people
make friends because they “need”
them, not because they adore them.
Mothers of kids may not actually be
great friends but they hang out
together because of their kids.
People would always be selfish but
maybe not everybody. But yes there
would have been times that you
would have been the selfish one
unknowingly. Unfortunately the world
has been programmed that way, so
try to do as much as you can for the
people who mean something to you
and those in distress. For the rest,
well you know what to do.
“I think if I’ve learned anything
about friendship, it’s to hang in, stay
connected, fight for them, and let
them fight for you. Don’t walk away,
don’t be distracted, don’t be too
busy or tired, and don’t take them
for granted. Friends are part of the
glue that holds life and faith
together. Powerful stuff.” ― Jon Katz.
There are some people in life that
make you laugh a little louder, smile
a little brighter, and just live a little
better.
Your career and life will change for
the better when you learn to
surround yourself with positive
people and keep the negative ones
away. Of course meeting and
retaining all the new people you like
will always be a challenge now, but
then I say hold one to the few ones
before they fly away. So who knows,
maybe the new friend you just ran
into the party yesterday, might turn
out to be your best friend one day?.
Divya Sharma is fiesty and feminine;
She is a funambulist and a fitness
freak. She is Foodie and a Freak. She
is a Nerd and Neat.Meet Divya,
Indian born -Swedish resident caught
up in a world of contradictions ready
to unravel the simple joys of life.She
writes for LifeHack, Scoop Whoop
and The Times Of India.

_ Divya Sharma.
Source: Agbo’s Blog.

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