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How to have a meaningful social life in adulthood.

Discussion in 'LGBT Later in Life' started by Redbud123, Dec 2, 2021.

  1. Redbud123

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    Hello, everyone. I'm in a situation where I'm getting close to 30, and with the exception of my family (parents and a brother) and one friend who I try to keep in contact with long distance. I basically am completely alone. I'm halfway across the country in a seemingly never ending on and off again cycle of menial jobs and college. And I've struggled to make any sort of meaningful relationships or friends.

    I remember how easy it was in high school where there were all sorts of people around and things going on, but now, my life just feels so alone and empty of meaningful interactions.

    How does a person have a real social life at this point and place in their life? I confess, I don't really know.
     
    #1 Redbud123, Dec 2, 2021
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2021
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  2. Really

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    I think the key is pursuing your interests or activities you are interested in trying. The thing about making friends being easier while you’re in school is that you’re all there together, regularly and odds are much higher you’ll meet people you’d like to be friends with. Either by the sports or clubs you take part in or simply by being around your classmates. All. The. Time.

    We don’t have this as adults, for the most part. So, if you have hobbies or sports you used to do, maybe there’s a league/club near you that you could check out. Simply doing stuff you enjoy with others who also enjoy it should present more opportunities to make friends. I say “should” because nothing is guaranteed, of course, but it’s more likely than never meeting those people. I know there are lgbt sports leagues around so maybe check out if there’s one near you if that interests you. Even just as a spectator to start out.

    Any sport or game setting is good because it also offers a chance to arrange get together outside of the “official” gatherings. If you take up something new, it’s always good to ask other newbies if they want to get together in between times to practice, etc.

    Also, pursuing things you, yourself, could enjoy will only help your overall outlook on things and make you more open to others who will pick up on that and potentially seek you out!

    Anyway, just a thought. :slight_smile:
     
  3. Rayland

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    I am 30 myself and the secret here is to just be active. Like @Really said the key is pursuing your interest or activities you are interested in trying. Maybe taking up a new sport or you mentioned college and maybe there is some course you can take, that's different from what you are studying, but seems interesting or take part of college clubs and other activities.
     
  4. chicodeoro

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    Rayland and Really give some good advice. I guess the key is to ask yourself - what am I interested in? Also...what sort of friends do I want to find and where can I find them? For me, I knew instinctively that I would find 'my people' in a big city rather than a small town, so that's where I gravitated to.

    I actually disagree that it's harder to meet friends when you grow older. I'm 52 and in the last ten years I have met an amazingly supportive bunch of people around where I live in South East London. It's a complete myth that big cities are full of unfriendly folk who live atomised lives apart from each other. If you go out with an open heart and search in the right places a fulfilling happy social life can be found at whatever age.

    Beth
     
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  5. BiGemini87

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    @Redbud123 I can't really say anything that hasn't already been said, but it's definitely much harder to find friends in adulthood than it was in childhood and adolescence. Like the others have said, seeking out people who share common interests, hobbies, etc. in areas that foster these things is probably your best bet. Of course, there are apps for making friends, too--not too different from dating apps, but the end goal being making friends based on common interests listed on your profiles.

    Likewise, are there any clubs in your college that you might participate in?
     
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  6. Choirboy

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    I feel like it has become easier for me to make connections as I have grown older, and now at 60 I have a gigantic number of casual acquaintances that would have amazed my teenage and twentysomething self. (Although to be honest, my twenties are largely a blur - the beginning was taken up with college and an obsession with my roommate, and then when I was 24 we had a horrible rash of deaths in the family, including my mom, grandparents and several aunts and uncles, which basically put me into nearly a decade of PTSD and panic, and was a major factor in getting married to rebuild a family.)

    I have to echo what other posts have said, that the key is finding things you enjoy and are enthusiastic about and using them as a way to create a social group. Over the years I have found that I have become less self-conscious while becoming more self-aware, which is a huge help. My self-conscious self of the first chunk of my life was a pretty harsh judge, and I went in an awful circle of judging my every misstep, and assuming everyone else was doing the same, and judging them in retaliation as a result. As I have grown older and surveyed my life so far, I've become more aware of who I am beneath the social missteps and awkwardness, and have learned to find similar people, and to project who I am rather than the klutzy tongue-tied oaf that I imagined myself to be. Coming out certainly helped with that. It's hard to shut down one part of your identity without dragging others along with it, and I've come to realize that being gay is often less off-putting than concealing the fact that you ARE gay. People do pick up on the fact that you are hiding and holding back, even if they don't know what it is.

    Good luck. I am twice your age and am happier with where I am than I have probably ever been, and if I can accomplish that, I susspet just about anyone can.
     
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  7. OnTheHighway

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    Meeting new people between our college years and mid life years is not straight forward. You along with your peers are all trying to do the same think: establishing a solid foundation for future. Essential life activities for work, housing and family are all priorities. Making new friends is not the same type of priority. So most of our efforts are spent on sorting ourselves out. As we gain a solid footing, our ability to allocate time and attention to building real friendships increase. And we open up to making new relationships just as others whom we want to have relationships open up themselves.

    I do not think it is any surprise finding our 30's hard to establish new relationships. But once we start to figure things out, as others have said, we can focus on our interests and leverage them to establish relationships with others of similar interest.

    Now in my 50's, I have more new relationships (friends and/or acquaintances) than I ever had since school. And looking back, I am not surprised.
     
  8. Nickw

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    @Redbud123

    Others have mentioned some great ways to meet other people through activities. I did this myself in my thirties and was able to establish a pretty expansive network of friends to climb with, kayak with, ski with etc. The key was to find an activity that could become a passion and share it with others.

    That said, I believe it is harder for gay men at your age to meet other people. My FWB is in his mid thirties and has found that meeting other men his age is difficult. A lot of the guys are in marriages and raising children and he is so often the odd guy out. And, there is not a robust LGBT community where he lives. He finds his options are older people (like me) who have lifestyles that allow more freedom. So many thirty somethings hang out with other people raising families and advancing careers or professions.

    So. I recognize that you may be facing a more difficult process in finding and making friends than for many of us. That means you have to put yourself out there more and accept that it might not be easy to find compatible friends. But, you really do have to try and not give up. You just never know when you might meet a compatible friend.
     
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  9. Tightrope

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    I think a lot of these posts make good points. I didn't look at it in these ways until I read some of the posts.

    I think there's a weird dip or lull after you finishing your education but before you become middle aged. People are sticking to school friends, the work place may not be the best place to make friends because you may be in competition with some of your peers and there is mistrust, some people are looking to couple and everyone has different tastes and is taking it at a different pace, and people who have found someone are off starting families and getting into friendships with other people in similar circumstances, pushing out singles. It takes a lot of people out of the pool. It's especially worse if you live in a smaller area or a bigger area where people aren't leaving and aren't coming in.

    I think there's some truth to following your heart with interests and activities. That's probably the best option. It's not a guarantee. You can just go with the flow. There will still be people there for the wrong reasons.

    I see that some are saying they've made more friends later in life. It could be tied to disclosure status or maybe not. I've seen that a lot of people who are on their own get to be even harder nuts to crack as they get older. They can get more eccentric and difficult. That's with any sexual orientation. With straight single people at more advanced ages, there's what my friend and I call "C.S." and that means "cross suspect." Both people wonder if the other person is hiding something and they are trying to befriend them with another agenda or are in for a surprise later on, so they remain distant and inaccessible. I seem to know a good number of people who are going it alone and aren't even interested in finding friends, socializing, and putting themselves out there.