Why making friends in adulthood is so hard: three problems and how to overcome them
Finding friends in adulthood can be difficult, and many people face the problem of loneliness, which can have a negative impact on their mental and physical health.
The Conversation explains what prevents people from making friends in adulthood and how to overcome these problems.
It is noted that it is quite easy to find a friend at school, for example, during games. However, over time, making, developing and maintaining friendships can be much more difficult.
And this can be considered a significant problem, because humans are social beings and need to communicate. Old friends may move away over time, switch their attention to family or career, and simply have no time to communicate.
This can lead to loneliness, and this is a serious problem that should not be taken lightly. Studies have shown that chronic loneliness can be so harmful to health that it is equivalent to smoking 15 cigarettes a day.
And this problem was reaching epidemic proportions even before the spread of COVID-19. After the introduction of quarantine restrictions, the situation has only worsened. It is emphasised that in adulthood, there are three main obstacles that prevent people from making new friends.
The challenge of trust
During the surveys, the researchers found that the most common problem in adults that prevented them from making new friends was a lack of trust. That is, it was difficult for people to fully open up to someone new and lay the foundation on which future friendships would be built.
This explains the fact that many people try to keep their old circle of friends for longer, as these people have been tested by time and have earned trust over the years. The survey also revealed that women have a harder time finding new friends than men, as they find it difficult to trust new acquaintances.
This phenomenon can be explained by the fact that adults have a much higher self-awareness than children. Of course, this is not a bad thing, but they weigh the risks more, fearing judgement or potential harm they may cause.
This is also influenced by life experience, because if a person's trust has been abused in the past, it will be harder for them to let someone else into their life.
Friendship takes time
"Lack of time" was the second most common reason after "lack of trust" when people were asked why they found it difficult to make friends as adults.
It's understandable that as an adult, you have much less free time because you have to work, deal with daily routines, etc. Of course, with a busy schedule, it's hard to build friendships with someone you don't know.
Even if you meet a potential candidate who could become a great friend, you may not have enough time to do so, and building trust is a long process.
Naturally, the amount of time it takes to become friends varies from person to person. However, American researchers have tried to determine this. The research yielded interesting results, and it turned out that it takes about 50 hours to move from an acquaintance to a friend. But it takes more than 200 hours to become a close friend.
Of course, this does not mean mechanical pastime, such as communication at work, etc., but a personal connection. You don't have to go on hiking trips, just a frank conversation about what's bothering you and jokes are no less important in this process.
There are many other obstacles that prevent us from having the friendships we want. One of them can be an introverted personality type, such people are characterised by a certain isolation, so it is very difficult for them to start new close relationships.
The category of individual characteristics can include health problems, personal insecurity, or a desire to maintain a certain status and keep potential friends away.
Surveys have also shown that older people are more likely to cite illness as an obstacle to expanding their social circle. Among young people, the most common reason was isolation and fear of rejection.
How to overcome obstacles
It is quite possible to break down psychological barriers in adulthood and build new and lasting friendships. Do not assume that loneliness is inevitable with age. However, it is necessary to work on yourself to remove internal obstacles to new acquaintances.
Build friendships for ten minutes a day. To lay the foundation for a new friendship, you don't need to climb mountains together or communicate intensively over a common hobby. A simple 10-minute conversation a day will be enough to get you started.
Send a text message, forward a meme, add to a group chat, or call a potential friend. Don't get hung up on how much effort, energy, and time it takes to build a friendship. Ten minutes a day is all you need.
Make the best use of your time. If you have a free day or at least a few hours in your busy schedule, you can spend them with a friend. If possible, don't look at your phone, but give your full attention to your potential friend, which will greatly enhance your connection.
Gradually get rid of your isolation. It's up to the person to determine how much they can trust their friend, and if you can't do it right away, then open up gradually.
You don't have to tell everything about yourself right away; on the contrary, a long process of getting to know each other will have a positive impact on your relationship and strengthen it. And most importantly, don't be afraid to make new friends as an adult.
As OBOZREVATEL reported earlier, it is very difficult to give up using the phone because of communication with friends, family, and work moments. However, there are several methods to help reduce the time you spend on your gadget.