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Why It Is Scientifically More Difficult To Make Friends As An Adult

However, psychology offers what to do about it with several tricks to help.

By Arbiter WritingPublished 2 years ago 4 min read
Photo by pat_ | Source Unsplash

For the past few years now, the United States Surgeon General has warned of another epidemic plaguing the country and much of the rest of the world: loneliness. The increased isolation from the forced physical separation of so many from loved ones has not made it easier to stay in touch.

Substantial evidence from surveys has proven that many lost their friends as a result of the seemingly endless restrictions and shutdowns. This trend has affected older individuals more than the young.

Many have observed the alterations in society as positive, for it has pruned social lives back to fewer yet stronger alliances. Furthermore, there has been unanimous support for the growing trend of remote work such that it will definitely remain commonplace in society for the rest of time.

Yet, for lots of folks, the pandemic has been, in a phrase, a simply lonely experience. In the event that you have grown beyond middle age or merely passed the age of 30, what are your potential prospects to grow your community again against the other side of new variants?

It’s Not You

You aren’t crazy. You may be alone physically and socially, but you aren’t alone in the struggle to connect in your later years. If you have the sense that it is far more challenging to make friends as an adult than when you were younger, you’re experiencing a common dilemma.

This hardship is not related to your sense of awkwardness or uncoolness. Rather, it’s simply that outside of school and regular social events, friendships are far more scarce to acquire when older.

“Sociologists have kind of identified the ingredients that need to be in place for us to make friends organically, and they are continuous unplanned interaction and shared vulnerability. As we become adults, we have less and less environments where those ingredients are at play.” — Marisa Franco, psychologist at University of Maryland

Adults are burdened with the responsibilities of children, jobs, and many more; significantly reducing the time available to meet and forge new relationships. Research has demonstrated that making a new casual friend often takes up to 50 hours at the minimum with the closest friendships requiring as much as 200 hours.

Do Not Rely On Fate

The above figure may induce depression for many adults that wish they had more of a network in their lives, as finding even a spare 2 hours can seem impossible for many busy professionals. Yet, Franco insists that due to the fact that making friends in your later years does not happen organically, you must go out of your way to make it happen.

One of the best ways recommended allowing the possibility of new connections into a crowded schedule is to organize one or more group activities like a biweekly hike, rotating potluck, or simply a book club.

Not only does this solve the time constraints, but it also shifts friendships from a one-to-one to a multi-faceted endeavor spanning many people.

“Researchers also find that when we develop groups, our friendships are more sustainable than they are with individuals. Because there are multiple touchpoints now, right? Someone else in the group could reach out to all of us, and then we all keep in touch.” — Franco

You need to overcome any shyness and go out of your way to retrieve contact information from new people. Although this may leave you feeling vulnerable, these conversations tend to go much better than initially feared.

“We all have this tendency to think we’re more likely to be rejected than we actually are.” — Franco

Why It’s Worth Your Efforts

All of the above is useful for those feeling isolated deep into the pandemic times. Friendships aren’t simply extra icing on the cake of a successful family and work life. They represent significant stress busters and mood boosters. Furthermore, they help us remain effective, smart, open-minded, and resilient with age.

Do not give up on forging alliances with strangers to substitute those lost in recent years. It will not happen without effort like it did during your middle-school or high-school years. Still, with courage and a bit of planning, it’s very, very possible. Both your physical and mental health will serve to benefit you.


About the Creator

Arbiter Writing

A freelance content agency with over 6 years of experience in the field of professional writing and editing services. We perform research based on topics of clients' choosing and provide SEO-optimized blog posts, articles, and copywriting.

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