Grown-ups who can’t make friends.

Want to know the biggest secret in the world? A secret so big that everyone already knows it, but still no one will talk about it?

Most grown-ups don’t know how to make friends.

It’s true. I’m one of them. So is my wife. We really struggle with this. Sure…I’ve got friends. I’m a friendly person. I’ll conversate and do all kinds of friend-things with you. I’m not talking about that kind of thing. I’m talking about those really close friends. The kind that know you in and out, and that you’re not afraid to let your shields down with. At one point in my life I knew how to allow myself to be vulnerable around someone. Now I’ve forgotten. I don’t know how to make really close friends anymore.

I’ve found myself wondering lately why this is so. Maybe it’s because I had very few stable friends in my life. Maybe it’s because inevitably every time I find someone I think might be a good candidate I could grow close enough to be transparent with, either they move away or I discover that they already have a nice bank of friends. I’m the charity case and they don’t really need me. It would be rude to try to weasel into their circle when they probably don’t want me there, right? And the ones that move away? They usually never come back or lose touch in a matter of months.

Or at least that’s my perception of the thing. Do you ever feel like that?

So I find myself being unwilling to try nowadays. I’ve simply lost the ability to make friends…even if I had the ability to begin with. I thank God every day that my wife is my very best friend and that we at least have each other. But that doesn’t mean I don’t crave the companionship of another guy I can let my guard down with. You know…someone to hang out with, cry with, and share my darkest secrets with. I miss having one of those kinds of friends.

In twelve years, I’ve made one really close friend…and I don’t get to see him often, because in this case I’m the one who moved away in pursuit of following God. I’ve spent two and a half years in this new city starting this new life in graduate school, and the closest friends I’ve made have been through the internet and live scattered all over the world. I feel closer to these cyber-friends than I do my downstairs neighbor that I see every day.

So is there something wrong with me? Maybe. I’m trying to figure that out. But I do know this. While I’m sitting here feeling like an awkward junior high kid at a new school…I also know that I’m surrounded by hundreds of people who feel exactly the same way. It’s the big secret no one wants to talk about. Most grown-ups are really good actors when it comes to friendships. But in reality most of us feel quite alone and friendless.

We’re all just too stubborn…or maybe vulnerable…to admit to it.

What about you?

Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13

-k

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7 thoughts on “Grown-ups who can’t make friends.”

      1. Quite possibly.

        Could it be a symptom of a more mobile, unsettled society? We no longer spend most of our lives growing up and living in the same community.

  1. You’re in a life stage that doesn’t offer much opportunity to make friends. Small children, grad school and, what is it? two jobs? don’t leave any time to cultivate friendships. The people who might be your friends are in the same boat.

    Friendships take time and energy. Once you’ve graduated, slowed down to one official job and the four or five side jobs you seem prone to juggle anyway and your children are driving themselves to events, you’ll look around and see a bunch of people also looking around for the same thing. That’s when friendships outside the family can develop more easily.

    If you want friends now, you’ll have to drop something else to give them time to know you. Can’t have your friends and eat them, too.

  2. I agree, and yet, I’m lucky in a sense, that most of my close friends still live in or near Purvis, and some have moved back to Purvis. I’m luckier still that a couple have schedules that line up well with mine. But I do understand where you’re coming from. The actual act of making a new friend, face to face, is difficult these days.

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