• Other Friendship Advice

When it comes to having friends, a “boy” friend may not be enough

August 11, 2012 | By | 1 Reply Continue Reading
Making new friends requires carving out enough time and space for them

QUESTION

Hi Irene,

I am a 22-year-old business manager who grew up in a village with a population of 500 people. So I never really had to make friends, just keep them. I think I am kind, pretty, fun, caring, and always put others before me—and was always popular.

I moved to a much bigger city just after tenth grade to live with my older sister and apprentice in her business. I kept in touch with all my friends from back home, and we are still always eager to see each other. However they are six hours away.

When I moved to the city, I made friends easily but didn’t necessarily make the best choices. I think they were more drinking buddies then friends, and we lost touch after high school. Most of them went on to use drugs or to jail.

I met a great guy who I have been with for five years but I feel that I am missing out on lots of things at my young age. One problem is that I am the manager now, and my staff is all around my age. I do go out with them but there is always that “manager and employee” barrier, which I know it has to be that way. But with all my responsibilities I don’t have much time to go out and make friends.

My boyfriend is not much for going out, he will go out with his friends to a pub here and there or go golfing, but they are with guys, which is fine because they all think I am great when I hang out with them and I consider them friends, but they are all guys! It’s not the same. I am very close to my two sisters, we talk every day, but they are so far away.

I’m also close to my boyfriend’s little sister, but she’s younger. I’m glad I kept all my friends from back home, and some days, I would say that is enough. But I find myself wanting more than just my boyfriend on weekends!

Signed, Liz

ANSWER

Hi Liz,

As you point out, moving from a small village to a big city is a major adjustment. Your home village had the feeling of a very large extended family, from which you were catapulted into a sprawling urban environment where you had to learn to be selective in choosing new friends. Congratulations on having landed on your feet.

From everything you describe, it sounds like you don’t have a problem making new friends, per se. Rather, your life is so filled with people and activities that there isn’t much time and space for girlfriends. At 22, you have had a long-term relationship for five years, have achieved a responsible management position at work (albeit one where it is tough to make friends), are very close to your sisters, and maintain contact with friends back home.

I can understand you wanting girlfriends, too. My advice: Think small, and narrow the mental challenge to figuring out how to make one new friend (at a time).

To do this, you may need more alone time, as opposed to couple time with your boyfriend. Can you carve out some time for yourself, perhaps just an hour or two a week, to pursue your own interests on a regular basis? It’s likely that this would bring you in contact with new people outside of your workplace and opportunities to find new friends. Can you join a gym? Take a management class to advance your career? Volunteer in your neighborhood? Hope this helps.

Best, Irene

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Category: Husbands, boyfriends, and friendship

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  1. Anonymous says:

    i know what you guys are going through im experiencing it this moment i say follow your heart. i maybe a girl but ive been through this a kajillon times not really but you know what i just told you follow your heart go to one side or make your own side pick one or decide to have like how it is… i have friends who are fighting over me but i pick my maybe god sister cause shes been on my side forever,the other one has a mean sister (no offense) who always bes mean to my other bff,the friend were against is particullarly copying. so choose.

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