• Making Friends

In the Media – Why is it so hard for women to make new friends? (Detroit Free Press)

Published: February 20, 2017 | Last Updated: February 20, 2017 By | 14 Replies Continue Reading
Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...


Ever feel like it’s so hard to make new friends? They never seem to be there when you want them. Writing in the Detroit Free Press, reporter Georgea Kovanis shares her personal story of having no one convenient to connect with on a Friday night.

She writes:

After an incredibly long week, it was finally Friday, and I really, really wanted to go somewhere to celebrate — until I realized I had no one to go with; my friends were either out of town, at work, or otherwise occupied.

So I got carryout, went home, watched TV with my cat — seriously — and, of course, felt sorry for myself: Where have all my girlfriends gone? Why have they left me behind?

After an incredibly long week, it was finally Friday, and I really, really wanted to go somewhere to celebrate — until I realized I had no one to go with; my friends were either out of town, at work, or otherwise occupied.

So I got carryout, went home, watched TV with my cat — seriously — and, of course, felt sorry for myself: Where have all my girlfriends gone? Why have they left me behind?

Kovanis interviewed Dr. Irene S. Levine and others to find out why friendships can seem so elusive as the years pass.

You can read the article in its entirety on the Detroit Free Press.

Tags: , ,


Comments (14)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Mae says:

    I have a dear friend who has an exclusive group she hangs out with outside our friendship. They go on trips, to concerts and all kinds of sporting events since they all share the same sport in common. I don’t ask her specific questions, but it bums me out that she can only be my coffee or lunch friend who I can’t really count on to do anything out of the ordinary with. I feel like I shouldn’t talk to her about it, so I just have to be happy with our relationship the way it stands. I feel like most of my friends are “heart ot heart talk” coffee/lunch friends, and I feel I am lacking a fun social group to do more adventurous things with. Is this normal to spend the lion’s share of a friendship just going to lunch and chatting? I always see groups on Facebook doing fun things together and I wish I had a group as well. I am an extremely active and outgoing person and don’t know why I struggle so to find this type of community. I invite people to do fun things and they are resistant to do anything that is outside of a ten mile radius.

  2. Susan61 says:

    Interesting. If she lives in or near a decent sized city, this woman could have gone out by herself and if she was able to get over her fears, she could have had a good time! Many, many women greatly fear going out and doing things alone. Men do it ALL the time and always have, with little fear of judgement.

    I started going out alone in my 40’s to a local bar to hear live music. There was a particular group that attracted an older crowd and I kept going every week or every other week. Over a few months, I was assimilated into a loosely organized group of people, mostly 45+, single, divorced, married, widowed – you name it. I made new friends and started getting party invites and other social opportunities.

    Many women fear socializing alone, as it would make them look “bad” or lonely and undesirable with no friends. I found the opposite to be true. As long as you are feeling self-confident or at least acting “as if”, when you are out alone and willing to strike up friendly and non-pressuring type conversations with strangers, you will attract people – men and women – period. With age, my fear of going out alone lessened greatly although it was still sometimes difficult for me to take that first step because I was a very shy kid and shy self-conscious young adult.

    What is even braver (and easy, once you get over your fear) is going out to eat alone. A good way to do it is to go to a restaurant with a bar. You will find many other people doing the same, Ok, mostly men but hey, woman have the same rights. Nowadays everyone has their phone to retreat to so you can bring your phone or an iPad as a safety net. Of course, this prevents spontaneous friendly conversations from happening….I don’t even own a smart phone…how it prevents people/strangers from talking to each other is one big reason.

    What’s the worst thing that could happen? Someone could ask “are you alone?” And you answer, “yes”. If that person decides to judge you, then you say “I like my own company and it’s easier to do things alone sometimes, I can leave when I want without having to negotiate!” Talk about a boost for your self-confidence.

    Taking the risk to socialize and do things by yourself makes you a much stronger person and greatly builds your self-esteem. I have made several friends going out alone. The key is be relaxed, friendly, have zero expectations of “meeting someone” (if you are single) and just make small talk. No pressure, and if the person moves on to talk to someone else, you can’t take it personally, you just smile, order another drink, look at your phone, listen to the music, read your book, whatever.

    For me, I prefer this type of independence because I don’t have to rely on friends to be available to me when want to do things and be around other people. I highly recommend you try it at least once!

  3. Zuzu says:

    I’m surprised by the harsh tone of some of the comments to this post? I don’t understand what about this post generated such a negative reaction. Celebrating making it through the week to Friday is not unusual. Being disappointed when all your friends are busy or away isn’t unreasonable. Happiness is just more fun when you have friends to be happy with you. True, there are people with bigger problems in the world, but that doesn’t diminish the feelings of this person.

    • Lisa says:

      I agree. I have NO FRIENDS. I HAD WHAT I thought were friends, but alas, I looked around after my rare diagnosis, my surgery, both my adult childrens surgery, I had to own the responsibility of placing my husband in a nursing home. You see for 26 years I was the sum of my husband/really caregiver and my two wonderful children. Friends, would be lovely any day of the week. No man is an island, remember? Children marry and the illness defines me now. Where does an attractive 59 year old woman meet friends in general. Not the caddy kind, the strong ones who stick by you and are not afraid of having a friend who isn’t always perfectly well. Cancer causing rare diseases are not contagious. Nobody needs you to feel sorry for them. Friends need support and they need to feel needed too.

      • Goodlistener says:

        Hello, I agree with you and can relate.I am a 59 year old female, have 3 adult children of my own ,whom are busy with their own children.I was married to their dad for 22 years got divorced over 17 years ago,spent a long time by myself until about 6 years ago, met someone who actually respects and treats me right. The point am making, while I was a single woman dating , working, I had lots of friends, restaurants, dances, get togethers, about 4 years ago had colon cancer, at first everyone felt sorry for me , were their because of that..Now thank God am ok healthy, my friends are not around..Seems like I no longer have anything in common..No one calls me..I had a friendship for over 28 years,that endec as wel..My kids well they love me but if am not inviting them for supper I never see them..I need advice.what am I doing wrong?..Forgot to mention after my diagnosis I take life easy try not to get stressed , don’t work, am retired, but I still feel like something is missing…

        • Irene says:

          So glad you are feeling better and had the support of those friends when you needed them! Sometimes we outgrow our friendships, even very good ones. Please read some of the other posts on the blog about making friends, especially through pursuing your interests!

    • GraceW says:

      I agree everyone has a right to their feelings. I don’t think it’s necessary to write an article (for a paying publication) about little disappointments. The article shows a lack of awareness on the part of the writer. Any empathy for the friend stuck at work on a Friday? Nope, just annoyance the friend’s not available. Her disappointment, while completely valid, is not particularly newsworthy. Not sure how it ended up in a publication. On a forum like this one, sure. Unloading on a forum like this, where we’re all sharing our experiences, is different from publishing an article. I guess you could argue that I show a lack of empathy for the writer. On the other hand… I’m not trying to sell my lack of empathy to a paying publication.

  4. GraceW says:

    Based on what I read in the article, the author DOES HAVE FRIENDS, they just weren’t available that night. I’ve noticed a trend where people expect others to “celebrate” every time they complete basic adult duties. While wanting to “celebrate” the end of the work week is understandable, it is just another day of the week, okay? Part of me says hey, celebrate whatever you can, life is short. The other part of me definitely sees a bit of special snowflake attitude whenever I encounter a person who has the expectation that we all stop and celebrate things she does that are a regular part of adulthood. I guess the notion of celebrating the mundane wouldn’t bother me nearly as much if people just enjoyed when it happened and didn’t feel the need to write an article blasting friendship when it didn’t. I’ve seen other great topics regarding friendship problems – friendship and chronic illness, how to handle friendships when your incomes are vastly different, grief over the death of a friend – but “I made it to Friday and nobody was available to to drink with me” does not qualify as an actual problem to me. Welcome to adulthood, where others don’t feel the need to celebrate on Friday simply because YOU decided that particular Friday should be celebrated. Sorry kid, it can be a tough transition.

  5. Erik says:

    So very true, my wife complains about not having girlfriend’s but doesn’t do anything to change that. She just doesn’t apply herself always on social media sites, to be honest I believe this is one of the biggest problems people face in todays gadget filled world. Verbal communication is a thing of the past everyone has there face stuck on to a smartphone. Don’t bother looking over to just say hello to the person next to them. Very sad tech filled world we live in today.

  6. Aries says:

    *Not Listening- playing with your phone while other people are talking, you’re not showing an appropriate amount of respect and it makes you much less attractive.

    *Turning Everything Competitive- Put people under pressure to compete with you. It means you are constantly and transparently seeking recognition.

    *Being Rude- You’ll be far more appealing if you’re polite, well-mannered, assertive and considerate in the way you approach others.

    *Arrogance And Self-Importance- me..me..me! A person who acts like they believe they’re better than everyone else and deserves attention.

    *Constantly Complaining- very annoying, because it doesn’t solve anything—it just involves wallowing in unpleasantness.

    *Interrupting People- leading you to blurt out your idea or opinion while someone else is still speaking?

    *Generating conflicts- turning casual conversations into heated debates simply drives people away.

  7. Sandra says:

    I meant to say, “they don’t initiate ACTIVITIES” but made a typo. Sorry about that!

  8. Irene (the other one) says:

    Since you love your cat so much why not get involved with a charity that cares for cats? You might find more friends there than you’ve ever had before. You can go out together and ‘talk cat.’ Animal lovers are usually calm, easy people to be around.

    But, seriously – if you want to meet new people and become friends with them join a group of people who share similar interests to your own. Are you musical? Do you paint – or even decorate 🙂 Are you interested in sport? I am sure there must be something near you that caters for your interests.

  9. Sandra says:

    What a great article in the Free Press. It’s also very timely, because lately I’ve heard a lot of women complaining that they don’t have many friends, or close friends that they can turn to. This is very interesting, when you consider that people spend so much time with Facebook, yet don’t feel they have any real friends.

    As you point out, friendship takes time.

    I have noticed over the years that people who complain about being lonely, or friendless, are not comfortable about reaching out to people. They don’t initiate activists — they wait for other people to make the first move. Then they get hurt when they don’t get invited to do things with other people.

    It’s really important to spend time with people — and I don’t mean social media. You have to extend yourself, get out there, and invite people to DO things with you.

    • A Mom says:

      Some people have a special gift, and can get other to do things with them. Other’s don’t. We can do exactly the same thing as a popular extrovert does, but we don’t get the same results.

      I have, on many occasions, “reached out” and invited people out or over to my place. I am polite and respectful. If I give a set date and event, they’ll be busy, if I say something vague like “lets go to dinner or a movie some time” it doesn’t materialize.

      I find my best bet for connecting with people is to make myself available for them for when they invite me out or over to their home. I do what others want, when other want, often at the drop of a hat. I’m not happy with this arraignment but it’s the best socialization I can achieve right now.

      If I want a group event to happen, I know from experience that it wont get off the ground if I have any connection to it. Instead, I need to drop hints and ideas, and often another person will get a group event going on “their” idea, around their schedule.

      I never had a problem making a friend or having groups of friends, until about 15 years ago, about the time cell phone and internet started taking over. Now, people are entertained, to the max quickly and for free on their devices, so going out for a coffee seems expensive and time consuming to them.

      I’ve often taken my kids out to the park or activity, and another mom would be their with her head buried in her phone. I’ll see someone I know on public transit and I try to connect, but apparently I appear more boring then a game of solitaire.

Leave a Reply