• Few or No Friends

To find new friends, follow your interests

Published: March 6, 2014 | Last Updated: April 2, 2016 By | 12 Replies Continue Reading
Following your interests may be more effective than looking for new friends, per se.



I am 44, almost 45 years old and cannot even believe I’m saying this. For all practical purposes I have no friends.

Let me be clear. I know lots of people and have had tons of friends at different stages of life but those friendships either withered away due to change of life circumstances: Friends got married had kids moved or we became geographically undesirable to each other, and after a while the only contact you have is Facebook and even that is seldom.

I also went through a period of deep depression and during that time I acquired some rotten apples: Friends who I didn’t particularly like or who abused me emotionally, in part, I think because they knew I’d take it. I’ve since gotten rid of these toxic trolls but here I am now at my age with nothing.

I still have a few local people I’m friendly with and one person I’ve known many years and we have a good bond and see each other about once a month. So it’s not entirely true that I have no one but every night after work I eat dinner alone and go to my apartment alone where I wait to wake up and go to work, which I actually look forward to in large part because its social.

I’m a friendly person and funny. Many have told me I’m quite funny and have a great personality so how then did I end up so alone????

I’ve tried Meetups but its mostly 20-somethings or random people you meet once an then never see again. Or it’s people who are, I’m sorry to say, socially awkward. I’m a lot of things but I’m not socially awkward but being a loner makes me feel like maybe I am!!!

If I were religious, I’d go to that sort of stuff but I’m not—and if feel phony getting involved in religious-centric organizations.

I feel like a total weirdo wandering around this life by myself. I honesty don’t know where to turn. I see people in restaurants having dinner families together people laughing having fun…and I cry that I’m missing everything.

I feel like all the people who I might wanna socialize with who are age-appropriate are married with kids hanging with other marrieds with kids.

I am fortunate at my age that my parents are still with us and I’m very grateful. Last week we went out to dinner on a Sunday night. Many of the tables there were people my age and younger tables of married, upwardly mobile people all together laughing and having fun and I was sick with envy. I felt like that’s where I should be but no clue how to get there and worry my entire existence will just be
wanting companionship like I had in school when I had a core group of like-minded friends whom I loved.

This is not me. I’m a people person. I don’t know how the hell I ended up here or how to get out of this hell.

Signed, Joan


Hi Joan,

I’m sure you realize you have a lot of things going for you. You have a job, an income, your family, and what sounds like a pretty stable life. You also seem to have a fair degree of self-confidence, are people-oriented, and have been able to make friends in the past.

One suggestion: Rather than looking for friends, per se, seek out activities that interest you, especially neighborhood-based ones, at which you can meet like-minded people. (For example, at the gym, at a civic organization in your community, at an adult education class, by volunteering?) Meeting the same people each week will help you determine which ones may be friend-worthy. Try to be open to people who may be more socially awkward than you; they may have big hearts.

Reading between the lines, however, it sounds like you are questioning your singledom, which you feel sets you apart from most of your peers. You definitely are not a “weirdo.” Many people are grappling with the same issues you are and it has been increasingly common for people to live their lives as singles.

If you are interested in developing an intimate relationship with another person, you could try one of the dating services that have become ubiquitous. It may take a lot of legwork to find the right person, but you would be dipping your feet in a pool of people who are interested in meeting others for a serious relationship. One other thought: Would you be open to having a roommate or pet so coming home to your apartment wouldn’t feel quite as empty?

Since you want to be more involved socially, figure out one or two things you can do differently to lead you in that direction.

Hope this helps!

Warm regards, Irene

Other prior posts on The Friendship Blog that you may be helpful:

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Comments (12)

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  1. Jumanyi says:

    This does NOT work. I have been pursuing stuff I like for some time now, and have collected NO new friends as a result.


  2. Sherrie says:

    I’m in the same boat – living in a town where there are no social events outside of church ( and there the emphasis seems to be on families, and I am single) I have joined some Meetup groups, but most are too far to drive, or the group folds after just one or two meetings. Most of the people I knew in school moved to other places. Having a chronic illness does put limitations because many of the people I meet are very active. I have worked on some volunteer projects, but the relationship ended when the project ended.

    • Amy F says:

      Hi Sherrie,
      Like you, I’m also single and have a chronic illness. You seem like you’ve explored a number of different avenues for meeting people, which is great, even though nothing has panned out yet.
      You say the acquaintance you’ve made volunteering which have ended when the project ended. Have you considered volunteering some where open ended? You might enjoy volunteering at your local library on a certain day of the week, so you’d see the same people, and perhaps even the same patrons. My library expanded its activities to include a monthly book club, movie night, game night, and occasional craft nights. If your library doesn’t have those activities, you might be able to implement them, giving you more opportunities for social interactions.
      Most friendships start out as acquaintances and develop slowly. I’ve also found that having friends of different ages and generations to be extremely gratifying. Of course having friends in your age group is special. I have a few friends a generation older than me who have introduced me to their daughters and we’ve become friends too.
      Also look toward your neighbors as potential friends. You might not have lots in common with them, but proximity means the opportunity for spontaneous social opportunities.
      Some of my friends like to entertain and have friends over for dinner, or small dinner parties. I haven’t tried this, I’d rather gouge my eyes out with scissors, but extending the invitation is a proactive way to get closer to people, and they often return the favor by inviting the hosts another time.
      In my experience, my friendships that have developed slowly, have lasted the longest and are the strongest. The friendships I’ve made out of loneliness never work out well, and are filled with drama because I haven’t screened out women I’d never befriend if not lonely.
      Good luck meeting new people.

      • Sherrie says:

        Thanks for the ideas, I’m late about responding because I am a caregiver, and this takes up so much time.Because of this I don’t have much time to do volunteer work, but I am reaching out to a former friends from childhood so I’ll see how it goes…

  3. Karen says:


    Sounds like all of us are in the same boat. I have a Chronic illness which make it even harder. Is anyone here from South Jersey? any part of New Jersey?

    My name is Karen.

  4. Marie says:

    What I see is too much of a focus on the self. “How I feel”, “how lonely I am”, “what’s wrong with ME”, “how can I get fulfillment?”, “how can I find people that will fill the emptiness in MY life?”…etc, etc.

    Life (fate) sometimes happens such that you have more space in your life; but one doesn’t have to become so self-focused during that time. It is the perfect time to focus on others….not what they can do for you, but what you can do for others. There are so many less fortunate people out there, and when you have space and time in your life it is time that could be well spent helping them. There’s volunteer work, charity work, helping someone you know, etc. When we help others in need we’re not so focused on ourselves. You will not get lonely helping others. Don’t help others to get anything in return, just do it with no expectation and just get the satisfaction that comes from helping someone. And, who knows, you most likely will meet a few new friends in the process!

  5. Kris says:

    I am a 44 year old married woman and I too have really no friends. I have had tons of friends through the years but I too lost them over the years for one reason or another. I am finding that since my husband has friends outside of our marriage it is starting to become an issue within our marriage and a personal issue within me. I have friends at work but it’s not like we get together outside if work. Since then I do volunteer at my sons football league and have met some nice people. However I only see them during football season and then we really don’t talk otherwise.. I too could use some advice on gaining some new friends… I have my husband and children who are teenagers now so I feel just like my husband has His own life aside from ours together that I could stand to have a life outside of my family unit also. Any advice??

  6. Me too says:

    Hi Joan,
    Reading your story was like reliving my own. My friends have married and moved away/moved on, and my work friends have dwindled because I now have my own company and work out of a small office.
    I, too, had many friends ithrough school and early work, but the last few years–especially since I was in a few relationships that took up most of my time–have felt like the social walls closing in.
    I, too, tried Meetup, but found the people there to be awkward and just not my type of people.
    Though I still socialize a dozen times a month and have dear friends, I spend too much time alone, and don’t feel that there’s anyone I can count on at the spur of the moment.
    I’ll be 45 this year, and I think that joining groups (non-Meetup) and volunteering may be my next attempts to get out there, use my time doing things I love, give me an excuse and reason to talk with people, and maybe help me meet people who share my interests.
    I don’t want to become even more isolated and start becoming socially awkward, so I feel I have to push past my natural self-isolation tendencies now…
    I hope you get out there, too, and get past this difficult phase (and age) in life for we single women.

    • Julie says:

      I have the same story. I am 45 and I do not have one person, besides my boyfriend of 1.5 years and a friend since high school, that I can confide in and call a best, or close, friend. I, too, see people gathering with friends and I wish it were me as well. But more so I just crave that one girlfriend who is always there. I really believe that most people do not want to seek out or bring new friends into their circles. I have a very small family, only a brother, but we arent very close because he is just a difficult person( a sheriff, if that helps). But he is the closest family member I have. No cousins that Im close to. I have reached out but feel like Im getting nowhere. Like they dont want to be bothered. Some will text all day long but when it comes to actual face to face friendship, or they need you to come to a party they are throwing, it doesnt happen. I even went to an animal shelter just today because I am lonely and need to fill that void. Im not close to my mom and I am divorced with two kids. My 15 year old daughter and I are close because its been just us. I am well liked, loyal, a great listener and funny. I would want me for a friend.Ive never been the type to have a lot of friends but I did have my high school friends but I began feeling alone when I was with them all. They didnt approve of my bf at the time either and so I cut ties thinking maybe I needed different friends and now I regret it. Its just so hard to replicate friends who youve grown up with. So I reached out recently to one of them and appologized so we will see what happens. Im really glad to have at least found this blog and to see that there are others out there sad like me.

  7. Amy F says:

    I think Grace W is onto something when she talks about dismissing potential friends and acquaintances. The older I get, the more eclectic the company I keep. I’ve learned that friends don’t have to be 100% compatible or homogenous to be valuable and important in my life. Friends hold different roles in my life, some more social/activity oriented, others more intimate and emotional, others more intellectual and academic. Having a wider circle of friends, rather than one best friend seems to fulfill me differently then when I was in my 20s and 30s. I’m also single, but enjoy my married friends and friends with children immensely. I got new neighbors last year, women I’d never have pictured myself befriending because we’re so different. But I was open to stepping outside of my comfort zone, and they were super friendly. Ten years ago I would have probably not taken such a risk, but I’m so glad I did.
    I don’t think you’re going to find the type of friendships you had in school, because you’re older, more mature, and have had more life experiences than you did as a girl with limited exposure to all the different avenues in life. Embrace the freedom to explore how different types of people can enrich your life in ways you never expected.

  8. Lauren says:

    Hi Joan,

    Sorry to hear about your situation, but there is a lot of hope for you.
    Excellent advice from both Irene and Grace W. Try it out, and you never know what will transpire! Best of luck to you.

  9. GraceW says:

    One thing I noticed when reading the original post is that it seems like many categories of potential friends are being dismissed. Old friends who married and moved as well as local people who are friendly are somehow out. People who are deemed “age-inappropriate” and “socially awkward” are out. It bothers me to see a post where a person laments being friendless and then has a list of all the people they CAN’T be friends with.

    I’m 39 and have friends as old as mid-60s and as young as mid-20s. Of course there are things I don’t have in common with the friends out of my age group, but then there are things I don’t have in common with people in my own age group, either. In my area there are Meetup groups specifically for women in their 30s, 40s, etc, so if “age appropriate” is important, why not create one of those groups, if your area doesn’t already have one.

    Meanwhile, give the few local people you’re friendly with, the socially awkward, and other people outside your social comfort zone a chance. If the friendship doesn’t work, then it doesn’t, but don’t disqualify people before you’ve tried. And I mean really tried, because building a friendship takes time.

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