I’ve just read article in the New York Times about making friends after the age of 30. The article explains that proximity, repeated unplanned interaction and a setting where guards are let down are the key ingredients to making long term, long lasting friendships. This is why university is a great place for creating friendships
The article continues saying as we grow older, we know ourselves better and therefore, become more “picky” as to who we make friends with. Younger, we expect our friends to be loyal to the end, but as we age we understand this is not always realistic.
I thought about Desperate Housewives the exact image of friends, meeting unplanned, loyal to the end, but how unrealistic is it? The show appealed to so many people I wonder if this is the kind of friendship we all long.
Most of us make friends in the workplace. This is where we are most likely to meet lots of people with the unplanned interaction factor. When I was younger I always tried to keep my private life separate from my work life, and work friendships always tended to develop once I had left a company.
Another major hurdle is distance. It’s difficult to keep up those friendships when any encounters need to be planned.
We all move a lot more than we used to. We change the places we rent. We change company more often and we even move to a different country.
Then there is Facebook.
Does facebook really help to foster friendships or does it maintain friendships under artificial respiration.
How many people do you have on facebook ?
How many of your contacts have you met in the past year ?
Do you sometimes feel that you are keeping contact for nostalgia ?
So how do we make and keep friends when we are no longer in university.
I recently discovered a website called Meetup which creates groups that people can attend on a regular basis and meet people. At first I thought it was an artificial way of making friends but then I realised that it is logical. To be friends with someone you need a common interest. It helps break the ice and you can begin to learn to appreciate each other.
So I have signed up for a few groups and will make an important effort to go to the meetings once I have moved to the Greater Manchester area early next year.
When I arrived in Montpellier two years ago I didn’t have any friends here. I made new ones and very solid ones. I have to admit, leaving the friends I have made here in France behind is not going to be easy, but after reading the article and in particular the comments I am looking forward to meeting new people.
Have you moved ? Did you make new friends and how did you do it?
Have you read the NYT article and do you agree it is difficult to make friends the older we get ?
I’d be really interested in hearing your comments.