Friends. How many of us have them?

Actually, that’s not my real question, per se.

After running with my neighborhood’s running group yesterday, I was wondering (or rather “rundering”) at what age does it become difficult to make new friends? As kids, all it really took to make a new friend was having a cool toy or the same backpack. I remember bonding with a few of my childhood friends over our Thundercats bookbags.

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One of the main reasons that I joined this running group was to meet more people in my “newish” neighborhood in a non-bar setting. Ok, so yesterday, was my second run with the group. I was not expecting to find my BFF, but it was so difficult to become engaged with some of the folks. For the last two fun runs, I ran with the 10min/mi group because I figured that would be an easy enough pace for me to jog and talk without gasping for air. Since Mondays are the group’s fun runs, I thought people would not be too hung up on keeping their pace. Since no one really spoke to me during the run, I introduced myself, but the conversation never really got past the general “Hi, my name is ___. How long have you been living in Harlem?” I felt like I was forcing myself on some of the other runners just by asking a couple of simple damn questions.

Maybe in my 20s and early 30s, it was easier for me to just randomly start talking to people and make an effort to force the interaction. As an only child, if you wanted to make friends, usually you had to just put yourself out there. Not, that I’m complaining about being an only child. Actually, I LOVED being an only child because everything was mine and I did not have to share . . . for the most part ;).” I realize that coming into a new running group (or any other social group) is tough because everyone already knows each other. During the run, two women were chatting about their 9+1 status for NYC Marathon 2020. I thought, “Ok, I can chat with them because that’s something we have in common.” WRONG. They pretty much did not seem interested in chatting with me about anything marathon related. One of the women will really have to work on her running form if  . . . (let me stop being a sassy hater).

During the run, I was told myself that maybe people are not chatting because they are pushing themselves to keep up with the 10min/mi pace after climbing a big hill.

7sOOr0cxSGGf4D7kFo29Vg_thumb_2fb5Not a big deal, I’ll stay after the run and chat with people at the burger joint. People tend to chat and be more friendly when stuffing their faces with food and beer, right?

At the burger joint, it was pretty much the same thing during the run. Folks cliqued up and really did not seem interested in accepting new applications for their cliques. As some may know, I am a member of a beer lovers group. Every time I see someone new to the group or standing alone, I usually invite him/her into the conversation that I’m having with other members since I know what it’s like being on the outside looking in. Now that I’m in my late 30’s, I have noticed that I do not put as much effort in starting these new conversations to meet people in preformed cliques (maybe that’s another one of my problems). I mean, if I find myself the one constantly asking all the questions and the one driving the interaction, then I’m pretty much done. Actually, I ended up talking to a random person, who was not a part of the running group, about living in the neighborhood at the burger joint. After finishing my beer (believe it or not, I only had one beer), I was over it and pretty much left without saying bye to anyone (they probably didn’t notice anyway). 

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A couple of my good friends that I’ve had since 2002 have told me that I come off meaner than I really am. Probably because I’m just one of those people who never smiles unless I’m laughing. Also, for the most part, I maintain a poker face so you never know what I’m thinking.

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Hell, this is me not smiling in one of my bday pictures as a kid. Word on the street is that I would only wear the cowboy hat that my great uncle bought for me. Yeah, birthday hats are lame anyway. 😉UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_2ef1

Eh, oh well. This was a random post. I figure that I will go to a few more of these fun runs, and if nothing changes, then I’ll just run alone. 

I’m too old for this shit, anyway. 

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Now, that I’ve just had a birthday last week. I have a feeling that “I’m getting too old for this shit.” will be my motto for most of the year. I do not know how many times I said on Sunday during NYCs Pride Parade, but it was A LOT. 

Perhaps, this Mel Magazine article “Men on the age at which they started to no longer give a shit.” will provide some insight ( *** ).

How do you feel about engaging with or joining new social groups/clubs? 

At what age do/did you stop actively trying to make new friends?

13 comments

  1. It’s tough. I fly RC planes, and with a few of the clubs, it took a good long while before I was accepted. The problem wasn’t just them; it was just as much me. I went there to fly, not to jaw-jack all the time. Sure, it’s fun and nice to talk to people who share the hobby, but sometime (okay, pretty often), I just want to go out to the field, get my flights in, and leave. Now, there are a few fellows that I’ve gotten to be friends with whom I enjoy chatting with, but aside from them, I don’t go out of my way to be friendly or chatty.

    If there’s value in it for you, keep going. They’ll come around. All it takes is a nice gesture from you or some piece of advice or kind words to bring them over.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I joined a running group to meet people too but have had a very similar experience the last couple i have tried- no one was really willing to talk:(

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It’s tough. I had a similar experience when I joined a running group several years ago. I eventually quit going. I wonder if I should try a different running group, though. Eventually I probably will, because I know other people who have had great experiences with joining running groups. I think you just have to find the right group of people.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I will never stop trying to make new friends! 🙂

    It’s definitely tougher the older we get though. I think we get set in our ways, and that includes who we let into our lives.

    Like

  5. Years ago I ran a few times with a local group and found it a bit challenging because it was a small group and most were either a lot faster or a lot slower than me so I was kind of in between everyone with no one to talk to. The slower group socialized though if I hung back with them. They always ran on the rail trail though and that got boring so I didn’t keep going. Now my group consists of me, my dad, Todd (dad’s friend and father of 2 guys I was good friends with in high school), Scott (husband of my hairdresser), Armand (70 year old who can beat me sometimes) and sometimes my husband or this girl Katie if her work schedule allows. It’s definitely a lot easier if you already know people and form your own group though we are very welcome/talkative with anyone who randomly joins us.

    My husband and I often complain about having no friends – we’re in our 30s with no kids and no desire to climb corporate ladders and it seems that’s the only way to bond with people our age… either through kids or coworkers. This is also a very conservative area which my husband hates, but I tell him even if we were to live in a city (we loved visiting Portland) we’d probably be working all the time to afford living there and not able to socialize much anyway or we’d run into the same issue of everyone being young and motivated and wanting to climb the corporate ladder. We just want laid back, open minded friends with no kids who like to hang out and play board games and the only ones we have that fit that live in Chicago. We wanted to visit this year but too many expenses like getting him a new car came up when his was rear ended so fingers crossed we make it out there next year. We did attend a “progressive” meeting recently we were invited to by a neighbor to try to join the community together more and those people were nice but way more politically minded/focused than we care to be. They were all about getting a Democrat on the borough council and canvassing the neighborhood and such. I like being in the know on issues and I certainly vote but I’m not about to go pestering people door to door. Sometimes it feels like we can’t win with meeting people/making friends and I think we’re approaching the age of not really caring anymore and just enjoying our life just us.

    Liked by 1 person

    • When I moved to NYC back in 2002, most (all) of my friends were through my graduate program. However, over time, folks got married, had kids, and/or moved out of the city. Normally, I just made new friends at neighborhood bars. You know, if you go to one bar enough times, you are bound to meet a few new people. In my beer group, I’m at that weird age where I’m too old for the young folks and too young for the “old” folks. In my currernt job, folks do not really hang out after work. I guess folks get tired of seeing someone everyday.

      I canvassed for votes one time and swore to myself that I would never do it again.

      Is your part of town super conservative or just moderately conservative?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Our actual town is probably moderately conservative but the county as a whole is pretty conservative. The only somewhat liberal area is like in the city. There were major race riots in the 60s and it has certainly had lingering effects on the county as a whole. Race relations definitely need work and diversity is limited in a lot of schools. I graduated in a class of about 170 and there were less than 20 minority students. The school I coach at is a lot more diverse but it’s one of the few in the area.

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