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Making new friends when you’re old(er)

I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling lonely as hell lately. How’s that for an opener when trying to make new friends? 🤣

I’d feel stupider for admitting this, except that I know that I’m far from the only one who’s still feeling isolated and lonely even though the lockdown years of COVID are, thankfully, over. People were lonely and isolated throughout the pandemic, worried that their feelings of social isolation and loneliness wouldn’t just evaporate once COVID ended and/or that they’d forever lost their social skills, and now so many people are still lonely that healthcare professionals and researchers report that we’ve now entered a new pandemic of loneliness. It’s bad enough that it’s damaging people’s health–both physical and mental. So, in a twisted way, I guess maybe we all should technically feel a little bit better/less alone knowing that we’re all collectively miserable together?

Even if COVID hadn’t happened, I had enough life changes that I probably still would have been almost as isolated and lonely, what with working for/by myself, from home, for four and a half years now, learning to live in/under the cloud of an adult child’s ongoing battle with addiction and…well, even just those two things were more than enough to either make me the cause of my own isolation or to not-so-mysteriously be avoided/dropped by friends who can’t or don’t want to know about things society apparently thinks are only appropriate to discuss in “anonymous” situations and then only with people who themselves are dealing with a loved ones’ addiction. I mean, I guess I don’t blame people–before I was forced to learn all about addiction and the ways it poisons pretty much every part of lives in a seemingly-endless fashion, I can’t say I wouldn’t have felt uncomfortable hearing about a friend’s heartbreak month after month, year after year and maybe distanced myself from them. Or then again, maybe I wouldn’t have–all I know is that trying to figure out how to navigate social situations when you both don’t want to talk about the thing that eclipses your entire life and has done for going on five years but also don’t know how to NOT talk about it, the result of which is you tend to just keep to yourself because it’s the simplest option.

Anyway, that aside, I’ve discovered something else as I’ve entered the empty nest period of life: making new friends is hard as hell. And not just says me, but says science. Then add onto older age being a woman with ADHD and realizing that making/sustaining new friendships is so hard that you may as well just get comfortable being your own best friend and/or having your social circle comprised of your.journal, your pets and your therapist. I mean, it could be worse, right? But I also know it could be better, and was considering taking drastic measures–drastic for a 54 year-old lady, that is: using Bumble BFF to maybe meet new friends. Which, as a married person, feels weird as hell because it’s not like the BFF part has its own separate app–to use Bumble BFF you need to set up and use Bumble, the dating app. The first step for which is to upload two photos of yourself…which has been enough to stop me cold the multiple times I’ve decided to give it a shot. I mean, if I’m married and just trying to meet friends why the hell do I need to upload two photos of myself? It just feels weird and I can’t imagine being a young person in a world where this is essentially the only way to meet potential relationship people.

So I don’t know–I’m lucky enough to be busy with work at the moment, but still–it would be nice to know whether a new bestie or two might be just a few clicks away, and also to extend my social activities beyond online shopping, binge watching TV/movies, crying and sitting around my house. Um, that doesn’t make me sound like the funnest potential friend, does it? I guess I better start working on my new friend pitch because otherwise I have a feeling it’s going to continue to be just me, myself, I and my dogs for a long, long time.

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I'm a writer at heart and have been blogging for 15+ years. Trying to rekindle the fun of blogging with Chic n' Geek...we'll see how it goes! Thanks for reading! --Maggie

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