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Talking Point: Why is it so hard to make friends as an adult?

Why is it difficult to make friends in adulthood? Picture supplied by Shutterstock.
Why is it difficult to make friends in adulthood? Picture supplied by Shutterstock.

My son doesn’t set the bar particularly high in search of friendship – good on him I say.

Do you like tractors, and find bodily functions hilarious?

You’re in!

It’s glorious to watch him navigate friendships at four years old, so simple and innocent are his requirements for a Toy Story-esque bond.

You got a friend in me… unless you’re an adult when it can get more difficult. Picture supplied by Shutterstock.

But it also got me thinking, when did friendship become more complicated?

The friendships I am now so lucky to have are entirely different from those drama fuelled years of high school and even university – where I flitted between different groups depending on the occasion.

It wasn’t until I moved to Scotland that I truly knew what it felt to be lonely.

I threw myself into different meet-up groups, and tried out everything from climbing to group castle visits in a bid to find some pals.

My small circle has become my lifeline, but so often I read tentative pleas on social media from people in search of friendship.

Ellie House pictured on her wedding day with her two closest friends, Kristin Traquair and Emily Findlay, both of whom she met after moving to Aberdeen six years ago.

Initiatives such as Men’s Shed, GirlCrew and Jog Scotland can enable you to meet new people.

But is there a foolproof guide to making friends as life changes?

Let’s find out.

Joey Chopra, new to Aberdeen

Joey, 37, relocated to Aberdeen from Toronto earlier this year, and works from home as an analyst for a government agency.

But with no nearby work colleagues to show her the sights and only her husband for company, Joey quickly realised that she needed to make new friends.

Joey moved to Aberdeen to join her husband, but it hasn’t all been plain sailing. Picture supplied by Joey Chopra.

“I’m still getting used to the climate here, I really don’t want to leave my house at night,” said Joey, who lives close to the city centre.

“It is really hard to make friends as an adult, and I think these conversations do happen but not at a level where anything can be done about it.

“I joined some different groups after moving here and I went along to a few events.

“But I had to be really proactive and search for those groups in the first place.

“With the cost of living crisis, I think people have limited resources these days. So they are very targeted both in how they spend their time and any disposable income.

“As you get older, I think you get a little more picky as well.”

Joey moved to Aberdeen in May, and has relied on groups she discovered on social media in order to make friends. Picture supplied by Joey Chopra.

Joey believes that finding friends can be a lot like dating, and people may not be willing to put the effort in long-term.

“If you don’t hit it off within the first 15 minutes, I think it is very easy for friendships to fizzle out,” she said.

“Social media makes it easier to meet people, but to maintain that friendship is a lot harder.

“I’ve had to put myself out there, but I’m really glad I did.”

Linzi Bremner, GirlCrew

Linzi, who is a senior befriending coordinator for an Aberdeen charity, is perhaps more adept then most at forming new friendships.

She has met dozens of new people thanks to GirlCrew, an app which enables women to meet friends and attend events in their local town.

Linzi Bremner is a firm advocate of GirlCrew. Picture supplied by Linzi Bremner.

“I moved back to Aberdeen after seven years of being away, and my old childhood friends had moved or we had grown apart so I wanted to meet new people,” said Linzi, 32.

Thanks to GirlCrew, she has gone to enjoy weekend stays in Edinburgh for cocktail week, annual Christmas nights out, escape rooms and even a summer picnic.

It’s a social calendar that many would be envious of, but Linzi has made solid friendships as a result.

“I have formed firm and long-lasting friendships through GirlCrew and many of my best friends have been women I have met at events and clicked with,” she said.

Linzi believes that reaching out to others is the way forward. Picture supplied by Shutterstock.

“These are now friends that I know I can rely on and that I can go to if I feel I need support and a listening ear.”

Linzi agrees that forming friendships can be more difficult in adulthood, but believes being proactive is the way forward.

“I do think as an adult, people need to be proactive when it comes to making friends, and joining a group like GirlCrew is a great way to start,” she said.

“There will be others in the group who are in a similar position, who are also new to the whole thing.

“My advice to anyone looking to make new friends would be that you are not alone.

“Everyone in GirlCrew are lovely, and would be very open and welcoming to anyone at events.

“Bite the bullet and attend an event as you really won’t regret it, and will wish you had taken the plunge a lot sooner.”

Our guide to friendship

Regardless of whether you’re new to the city or just fancy meeting new people, here are a few ideas to get you started.

GirlCrew Aberdeen can be found on Facebook, all you need to do is request to join the group.

If you’re an expat, you can also check out Girl Gone International on Facebook, the Aberdeen group has hundreds of members.

If you have a dog, it can be a good way to meet new people.

If you have a pooch, talking to fellow dog owners is a sure way to find something in common.

There are dozens of groups aimed at different hobbies, from the Men’s Shed movement to hill walking, crafting, and everything in between.

And if all else fails, just ask.

By putting yourself out there and being vulnerable, you’ll find there are plenty of people who feel the same.