When you were a child, making new friends seemed effortless. It appears to be a complicated task now that you’re an adult. You don’t have time to search for new friends with your busy schedule.
Sadly, you start thinking negative thoughts that people don’t like you or maybe you’re looking for too much in companionship. There’s a lot of common barriers that can impact your ability to make and sustain friendships. One of the most common reasons it’s so hard when you’re older is trust issues.
As a child, you’re very trusting of those around you until someone breaks that trust. When you reach adulthood, you’ve already been burnt a few times, so you’re leery of letting anyone into your inner circle. Then, there is the whole social anxiety aspect.
According to an article on the National Library of Medicine, the United States government estimates that 7.1 million Americans suffer from this type of anxiety disorder. Additionally, at least 12 percent of the population will experience it at least some point in their lives. Another factor is that you’re so busy with work, kids, spouse, a house to maintain, and the daily grind that you don’t have much time.
You’re not going to meet people if you never go out and mingle, and you’re certainly not going to find friends without being sociable.
Making New Friends: Introvert Versus Extrovert Personalities
Do you ever become envious of people who seem to have many friends? These folks are the social butterflies that are constantly socializing. They’re never home as they always have some event to go to or a coffee date with a pal.
It’s easy for an extroverted person to be friendly, as this is part of their personality. Introverts can make friends too, but they’re more careful about who they let into their inner circle. Could it be that the extrovert doesn’t have past trauma, social anxiety, and other issues that hold them back?
Now, it should be noted that not all introverts have experienced horrific life events, but according to an article on Rubicon, introversion can stem from genetics or someone’s life experience. For instance, if one of your parents had a shy or introverted personality, their children can likely inherit such traits.
Many people who experience trauma turn inwardly to cope with their pain. So, one of the reasons an introvert may have a hard time making new friends is that they’re not outgoing and friendly, even though they will be great friends to the few they made.
Five Hidden Reasons Why New Friends Are Hard to Make
Have you ever sat down and thought about all the reasons why you can’t make new friends? Here is a list of causes and how to counteract them to have the social circle you desire.
1. You’re Too Busy to Make New Friends
Though it’s going to be a challenge, you must make time for new friends. There’s never a perfect opportunity that opens in your schedule that allows for friendships, but you must ensure you get some downtime. Sure, once you add all you must do in a day, there’s no space for mingling.
However, it would help if you had friends for your mental health, and it’s a way to put some positivity into your life through self-care. Friends are valuable, especially when you go through dark times. Think about your day and where you could take some time. Here are some time wasters that people tend to overlook:
- Spending hours on social media
- Playing video games
- Watching TV
If you reduced your time-wasting activities by just 25 percent, you could easily find the space for socializing. Rather than communicating with people hidden behind a device, it’s much better to do it in person. If your only relationships are on social media, it’s time to change things around.
2. You’re Too Shy to Approach New People
Meeting people doesn’t come easy to the shy person. Relationships with them are very complicated, and they want friends, but they’re not willing to step out of their comfort zone to get them.
If you’re introverted, you may find that being around people drains the juice from your battery. Therefore, it’s so common for the introvert to need to recharge. While you make valuable social connections, you prefer them to be in a smaller setting. Don’t be so eager to reject any social invitations.
However, you may need to set healthy boundaries so that these events don’t wear you down. Try telling yourself that you’re only going to stay for an hour or two, and then your brain will know that you have an exit strategy. You don’t have to talk to every person there, but you can win some folks by doing the following:
- Practice good communication skills.
- Don’t be negative.
- Talk about yourself and not your problems.
- Learn how to make practical small talk.
- Don’t be afraid to move past the acquaintance stage.
Did you know that people who share personal details tend to bond faster than those who get stuck in small talk? This data comes from research conducted by the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin. Don’t be afraid to talk about your likes and dislikes and share a bit about yourself, as it could lead to new friends.
3. Your Private Life Gets in the Way of Forming New Bonds
Everyone has a private life outside their job. This includes your spouse, kids, and other family members. Your priorities naturally shift when you’re involved in a serious relationship. Additionally, it can complicate things when it comes to having a life.
For instance, if you have a friend that your spouse doesn’t like, then they’re not going to be excited about you hanging around with them. Adjusting your expectations can help you develop healthy connections. You know that with all you have on your plate, you’re not going to go out two or three times a week.
So, it would be better to strive for one friend date a week. Another answer is to make friends with people who have a spouse and children who can tag along. There are no rules that say fun outings can’t include the family.
Many families go on vacation together and do other fun activities, and it’s a way to get everyone involved. You will feel less guilty about being away from your home if you apply the people you love in your inner circle.
4. Your Social Anxiety is Dominating
Social anxiety is a tricky problem because your mind makes you believe things that aren’t true. Have you turned down so many social invitations that you hardly get invited for parties anymore? When you have an anxiety disorder that focuses on social aspects, you will tell yourself anything to get out of these events.
Do you ever say these things when you’re considering a social gathering?
- What if I have a panic attack?
- There’s no one there I want to talk to.
- I will feel out of place, and everyone will look at me like I’m weird.
- I would rather stay home in bed as it would be more comfortable.
You must be careful because if you believe the lies of anxiety for too long, you can develop agoraphobia. According to the National Library of Medicine, having a phobia like agoraphobia makes you a prisoner in your home. You’re afraid to go outside the walls of comfort that you’ve created for yourself.
If you don’t push yourself a bit, this is precisely what will happen. It would help if you found something good to counteract the negativity that anxiety feeds your brain. Friends are a vital part of a mentally healthy person, and you need them for strength and support in life.
5. Lack of Opportunity to Make New Friends
Finally, you’ll notice that you lack opportunities with your hectic schedule. If you want to make friends, you need to move beyond your comfort zone to accomplish this task. Places that you can meet people are places like the following:
- Church or other houses of faith
- Social clubs
- Sporting events
- Volunteering at charitable events
- Support groups
- PTA or other school functions
Children are an excellent way to help parents make friends. When you’re taking them to birthday parties, sporting events, or other functions, their friend’s parents often become close. Your kids can be a valuable social source for you if you keep them active.
Final Thoughts on Why It’s So Hard to Make New Friends
There are many reasons why it’s so challenging for an adult to make new friends. However, you can’t deny yourself the time to socialize and have some space away from your family and responsibilities. You deserve to have a night with the girls or guys and let loose.
Life would be pretty dull if you didn’t have friends. So, even if you work forty or more hours a week, have children, a spouse, and a home to take care of, you must make time for people. Sure, it’s scary letting others into your inner circle, especially if you have conditions like anxiety, depression, are shy or introversion. Still, it’s something you must do to ensure a well-rounded life.