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.
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.
Not 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).
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.
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. 😉
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.
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?