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Hospitality Is The Answer To Loneliness

I am not great at making friends, and I decided nearly two years ago, as a New Years resolution, that I was going to work on it. I am in my mid-30s, and don’t have any kids, I work full time and am in graduate school (online). I have drifted away from most of my high school and college friends, but still see a few of them semi regularly and/or keep up over email and Facebook.

To try and give myself a feeling of a community of friends, I went through my Facebook friends list and picked out other similarly aged women who live geographically close to me that I genuinely want to spend more time with and set up a group called “Brunch!” I explained what I was trying to do, and set up a series of brunches as events, once a month for the first year and in this second year less often.  At first, everyone who accepted said it was a great idea, and the first brunch everyone ( 9 or 10 people) came, I hosted it at my house and thought it was great. We discussed and decided we would take turns hosting, and picked the next host.

At the next one, and all of the future ones a little more than half of the people came, though a couple of times it ends up being me and one other person. Often 8 or 9  people will respond “going” to the Facebook event and then 3-5 people bailing the morning of the brunch, with promises to be there the next month.  A few people, it turns out, don’t really use Facebook and never reply unless contacted in other ways, which I have tried to do to keep them in the loop.

I am (still, somehow, even when other people are hosting) the one doing all of the coordinating and planning, so over the summer when I got busy I just stopped scheduling every month, we skipped two months and planned to all get together in October.   The day of this month’s brunch, again, of the people I thought were coming, half of them bailed the morning of for various reasons, one who I had moved the day for earlier so she could make it promised to “be there with bells on next month”. And I can’t help but take it personally, and feel some resentment about it.

What do I do? Is this just what adult female friendship is like? Getting bailed on constantly? Or do the specific people I picked just suck?  Is it me? Do I suck and they just don’t want to tell me?   I want to have friends, not a bunch of people I plan things for who then bail on me at the last minute. And I definitely don’t want to feel cynical and resentful about the group and the activity.   Please help!    1021-16

When there is a group function, the perception guests can have is that their absence won’t be noticed much so they find it easy to “bail” the morning of the event.     I think it is time for you to transition to going out to lunch one at a time with potential friends.   You just cannot get the depth of relationship by meeting in groups the way you can when you are one-on-one with someone.  Sometimes people “click” and a friendship is born and sometimes they don’t and you just have to move on to the next possible friend.

When I’m trying to establish a friendship, I offer to go to lunch with the person.  If my attempt to schedule lunch fails two or three times, meaning the person comes up with excuses at the last minute to bow out of going, I stop taking the initiative and wait to see if they reciprocate at a later date with their own suggestion that we do that lunch date we had been talking about.  If they never take the initiative themselves, I make the conclusion that the person is not available for a friendly relationship at this time and move on the next person I find interesting enough to try to get to know better.   You will get more “rejections” than acceptances but every once in a while you find a gem of a relationship that was worth all the effort.

I’m impressed that you are being proactive in reaching out to make more friends.   One of my personal pet peeves are women who whine of being lonely, no friends, etc. and every time I respond with a question, “Are you doing any hospitality?”  Without fail, they are not.   They seem to have a perception that they can sit at home or work and the world should come to them and make the effort to get to know them yet they don’t see any value in they themselves doing the work necessary to build a foundation of friendship.

{ 44 comments }

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  • Saucygirl October 24, 2016, 7:13 am

    I agree 100% with everything admin said. I’d like to add, have you heard of meetup.com.? It is a website where you can find groups in your area who “meet up” for practically every interest. In my city the op would find Brunch ones, aso well as various social ones that vould be coed or just for ladies, in different age brackets and different outings. Most are free to join or only cost a couple dollars, plus the cost of whatever activities you actually participate in. When I moved here there years ago I immediately joined two book club meet ups, plus a social one. It gave me fun outings and three real friendships outside of the groups.

    • admin October 24, 2016, 7:41 am

      Oooo! Good advice!

      • Mustard October 24, 2016, 10:12 am

        Thanks for the link; I’ve just found the U.K. version.

    • lnelson1218 October 24, 2016, 9:02 am

      I am not really a social animal but do like to go out every so often. Via the Meetup.com website, I found a couple of groups. While I like trivia nights at a pub, that group didn’t really work our for me (location, start time), but there is another one, which does. Just need to find something.

      So book club, running club, foreign languages, etc. Something there for everyone.

    • SweetPea October 24, 2016, 11:33 am

      I’m so glad someone else mentioned this website! OP, I found myself in a similar position a year or two back, and having had enough of my own moping, I started doing similar things as you, plus I made it a point to join other “interest” groups that sounded like things I might like. I even started my own Bookclub on Meetup.com (if you’re in central Ohio, join us!).

      I also agree that scheduling a few smaller events (ranging from one-on-one lunches/visits to the local arboretum/etc to the two or three couple game nights we occasionally have) is a great way to make it less easy for folks to back out. Or send a message to each invitee separately, so they know you’re really intentional about wanting to see them.

      And if all else fails, there’s no harm in not inviting someone who routinely under-values your time and emotions. Best of luck!

  • stacey October 24, 2016, 7:21 am

    I think that you’re seeking some of the benefits that come either from belonging to a fixed institution (church, school, club etc..) or of having a fixed social circle ( a set). You’ré not going to achieve that result with a social media crowd. You have the right idea but the wrong audience. You’re looking for community and you can find it one on one, as Admin suggests. But I think it’s also worth putting effort into affiliating with groups whose interests and values align with your own ( and who don’t require you to lift the majority of the load in organizing functions). These groups meet regularly and in various sizes, giving you the chance to feel a sense of belonging on several possible levels. All that said, it also helps to stay connected, where possible, with existing friends and family. New connections take time to build depth, stability and maturity. Many people face this challenge at different times of life and eventually overcome it.

    • Pat October 24, 2016, 10:49 am

      Very good advice! You can also meet people by volunteering for an activity that is meaningful to you. The other volunteers will often have similar interests and values to yours. Also, don’t limit yourself to making friends only of a particular narrow age group. Someone older or younger can also make a good friend.

    • Dee October 24, 2016, 12:50 pm

      Stacey – I agree with you that it’s the wrong crowd. The Facebook people are happiest communicating quickly over the internet, obviously, and this does not automatically translate to them being good at meeting in person. I also think that actively looking for people to be friends with is a bit like head-hunting; it seems too functional and calculated. Every friend I’ve ever had has been made while we were doing similar activities and interests. We found ourselves enjoying our activities first and then clicking as like-minded people second. And not all the relationships work out, either, as people may be punctual and reliable for the activity but not as much in social circles. OP, get involved with what you like to do and be open when you are doing it. You will “accidentally” make friends that way and get to know them somewhat before ever embarking on a social outing. And stop inviting people who stand you up, whether they’re on Facebook or in real life. People who do that are not your friends.

  • Shoegal October 24, 2016, 8:02 am

    I’m really impressed with this effort to establish some friendships but what you are doing is having this event way too often and its way too much trouble. I know that once a month doesn’t sound like very often but that one day comes around too quickly and you only get 4 weekends in a month to do some other things.

    This is from experience: my sisters and I planned on hosting a dinner each month with each other and our spouses. We got through one rotation and the whole thing went south. It came around way too quickly and it became difficult to get our husbands to even want to participate. There was always something going on and it became more of a burden than a happy tradition.

    My own personal philosophy is that friendship has nothing at all to do with frequency but with the connection. There are some individuals who require regular weekly contact – a phone call – a meeting, lunch etc – and then get angry when people don’t reciprocate or bail out. I don’t require any of that and if it means all that then in my book that person is too much work for me. My life is busy and from the sound of it – you are very bust too. I have friends that I genuinely love but don’t see all that often. When we do get together we pick right up where we left off and it’s like we had just spoke the day before. There are never any hard feelings. I say have lunch with someone – then make plans and have lunch with someone else – and if you feel like you had a great time with any one person then make plans again. Friendship will grow over time and with much less work.

    • NostalgicGal October 24, 2016, 7:58 pm

      Your family dinner planning was sort of echoed in my family’s holiday schedule. Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s settled into someone settling in to have it. (we did Thanksgiving, every year). That way every one had their turn and everything was sorted. And it happened once a year, with a reason.

  • Huh October 24, 2016, 8:14 am

    I’ve had the same thing happen a lot and it is very frustrating! I too wondered if it was me, but I really think it’s something about today’s culture or something. I joined a meetup hobby group (men and women) and saw the same thing happen: for a while everyone was into it, and then one by one people started bailing to now where the last two events were canceled because no one was going to come.

  • DaDancingPsych October 24, 2016, 9:13 am

    I am very much like you, OP, as far as life situation. I am feeling the need for more friendships and your brunch idea is something I have tinkered with (although I actually got a few ideas from your way of running it.)

    Admin’s advice is not terrible, in fact, it is worth trying. But I will say that some people just feel it ok to bail… even one-on-one. I do get it; life gets so buzy and sometimes it feels easier to cut out things as we go along (despite enjoying them.) I have had to remind myself to not be flaky and get my behind to my commitments! Still, I do think that you would be happier with friendships that are going to do as they say. Just realize that planning the one-on-one meetings may not avoid the flakiness, but as admin has suggested, after a few times of this happening, move on.

    So, I would probably take admin’s advice, but continue planning the brunches every so often, too. Just accept that some people are going to bail last minute, but that doesn’t keep you from enjoying those who do attend!

  • WifeyDear October 24, 2016, 9:30 am

    I just wanted to add my two cents. I’m a very introverted person with some anxiety thrown in as well. My close friends understand that and don’t take it personally if I become anxious the day of an event and can’t go. Please do not think that I’m making excuses to be rude or ‘flakey’. I just wanted to add this perspective because when I’m having a good day I can be gregarious and seem like I’m not an introverted person, so if you didn’t know me well, you’d never guess how hard it is for me to get the courage to join a group. Maybe at least one of these ladies has the same problem I have. It’s completely up to you who you want to continue having friendships with, but I just wanted to add my thoughts to the discussion. ?

    • frog October 24, 2016, 6:09 pm

      Seconding this. I finally have gotten brave enough to be really up-front about this issue when making new friends – just so they’re aware it’s not flakiness/rudeness per se, but mental illness.

      Not making a big deal out of it, but just, fairly early on, letting them know that I have social anxiety, and that some days are better than others, so that I might say yes to an event well in advance, thinking it sounds like fun, but on the day of, the idea of going out and interacting with people might make me want to crawl in a hole and never come out. I do try not to let it get the best of me too often, but I also find that just the other person knowing it might be an issue makes me feel a lot less pressure and stress leading up to an outing.

      • WifeyDear October 24, 2016, 10:56 pm

        That’s all pretty much how I take care of the situation too ?

  • lakey October 24, 2016, 10:23 am

    Administrator is dead on. The reality is that a lot of people are busy or perhaps a bit lazy. The monthly group idea sounds good, but it sets you up as the one who does all the work. Asking individuals to meet up for coffee, lunch, happy hour, or a movie should be more effective. And, yes, you are probably going to have to be the one to suggest the plans and make the first move, because often people are just a bit lazy.

    If you like the idea of regular group meet-ups, follow the other commenter’s suggestion and check out what groups there are locally. As an added bonus, you won’t be the one doing everything to make it work.

  • Lerah99 October 24, 2016, 10:35 am

    Like @Saucygirl, I recommend MeetUp.com.
    You can find people who share your interests which really helps when building friendships.
    Do you love reading, photography, running, walking, hiking, fine dining, sailing, writing, table top games, board games, puzzles, trivia, craft beer, comic books, fitness, sports, stamps, coins, knitting, crafting, etc….? You can find a group of people who live near you and love the same stuff.

    I’d also recommend finding some sort of regularly meeting community: church, temple, zen meditation, yoga, Rotary Club, etc…

    Finally, regular volunteer work can really help you meet people and make friends. Pick a good local cause and volunteer: food bank, habitat for humanity, animal shelter, thrift shop, etc…

  • ginger ale October 24, 2016, 11:25 am

    One suggestion: have you tried doing anything with these people besides brunch? It could be that some of them are getting bored of the same thing all the time. It could also be that they think brunch is “your thing” and they feel you would be offended if they tried to coordinate. Mixing things up a bit might get people more interested as well as helping build deeper connections within the group.

  • mm October 24, 2016, 12:07 pm

    Agree with the meetup suggestion and the one on one suggestion. I also think that OP is coming off a little desperate and like she is trying to force it. Did yoy actually like the women you had the brunches with?

  • NostalgicGal October 24, 2016, 12:12 pm

    I belong to an organized Red Hats chapter, and we still have issues with getting the group together once a month to eat out (I have been with this group for 11 years). Loose social doesn’t often work, and even organized ‘club’ often doesn’t work. I suggest the OP go to smaller groups now (total 2-4) as that will often work out better socially.

    I also have done roleplaying gaming for almost forty years, and usually that involved having to get together physically. In the later years that has shifted to online so that means I can interact (on Skype) around the world with others, and we work around timezones now. Or do email exchanges. That being said, the times have changed and so has social gatherings.

    During the years of internet infancy there were dial up BBS (bulletin board services) and a group of us that got together regularly on one site decided to physically get together and meet. Some one on ones happened then we declared a movie night and got everyone there (from 14 to 34, me being the oldest one by almost a decade and the youngest the youngest by almost a decade) and after that started doing some social things (such as mass movie attending, then go to a video game arcade where I got my rear shot off (slower reflexes but deadlier aim) or play lasertag or paintball. I went along with the group. Now days it would be a lot harder to get a group like that together for repeated physical gatherings.

    OP should try smaller groups now that they have met. Otherwise try getting involved in a volunteer situation (local library, etc) or with a church.

  • Ashley October 24, 2016, 12:59 pm

    This story gives absolutely no indication of any activities beyond brunch. I feel like that may be a large part of the issue.

    If all we’re ever doing is brunch, then that’s going to get boring and I’m going to figure that if something comes up and I change my mind, it’s not going to matter much because (at least according to the vibe I get from this story) we’re JUST brunch friends.

    • ginger ale October 24, 2016, 2:31 pm

      I think the fact that it’s a monthly brunch also makes it easier to say “I’ll come next month.” If it were a really exciting one-time activity, I think fewer people would bail. Plus, that gives some precedence for other people to plan their own activities. And it accounts for people who are more available at times other than brunchtime.

      • Ashley October 25, 2016, 11:22 am

        Also an excellent point. If I know there’s another brunch in a month, well then it’s not a big deal if I miss this one.

  • Coralreef October 24, 2016, 1:47 pm

    OP, do you have a hobby or even a passing interest in one? A book club, a painting class or bird watching group are great ways to meet people with at least one common interest. Volunteering for a cause you care for is also a possibility. Friendships take time, don’t give up.

  • Lomita Momcat October 24, 2016, 2:02 pm

    The feeling of isolation that I had after I retired was something that had me wanting more in the way of friendships.

    I commend OP for the effort she’s made to remedy her situation. But I think the way she’s going about it sets her up for failure; the objective of the get-togethers she’s planning is to basically have more get-togethers, either with some of the people individually or with the group as a whole. That’s an uphill battle under any circumstances, because most people just aren’t going to be interested enough to persevere.

    OP, if I can recommend a change in tactics: forget about activities that are just about bringing people together. Instead, pick an activity or interest that you’d like to pursue for its own sake, and start getting involved in doing that.

    Take an art class, if drawing, painting, or sculpture is something you want to do. Or get training and become a volunteer in a wildlife rescue group. Join a craft group and learn about scrap-booking, quilting, or some other craft. Take a course in cake decorating.

    The point is, find something you enjoy or think you’d enjoy, and engage in that activity for its own sake. Not because you’re hoping it will increase your social circle or gain you friends, but because it’s something you genuinely want to do and enjoy.

    Worst case scenario: you get to do something you really like and you get to know other people who enjoy that activity too. They may not become the kind of friends you’re hoping to make, but you’ll enjoy what you’re doing.

    My observation is that if you engage in “friending” activities with only the point of doing more “friending” activities, you set yourself up for failure, because most people just aren’t going to reciprocate. Not because they’re bad people, not because you’re a bad person, but just because that’s the way life works. Without a strong impetus of some kind to draw people together, there are too many other things going on to keep people together.

    If you switch strategy and do things you enjoy, not with any objective except enjoying the activity, you paradoxically become a person people are more likely to enjoy being around. There isn’t the sense of urgency or emptiness that people project when they’re just looking for companionship.

    Even if you don’t form the kind of close friendships you’re hoping you form, you will spend time doing things you enjoy, in the company of other people who enjoy those things. That isn’t a bad way to spend time.

    • Lacey October 24, 2016, 3:47 pm

      So much this. Meet people organically; don’t try to force it.

  • Anna October 24, 2016, 2:32 pm

    Agree with a lot of what was already said. Also, while having people over for brunch is lovely, there needs to be more to a friendship than “this a person with whom I have brunch once per month.” If that is all you are doing, it’s not going to be much of a friendship, and people aren’t going to feel very motivated to keep going down what will probably eventually feel like a friendship dead end. Yes, you will be able to check off “social interaction” on y0ur to-do list, but if you ask yourself whether or not you were really getting the social connection you were looking for, I’d suspect the answer is probably no.

    Meeting one on one with people gives you a chance to connect personally in a way that groups (of people you don’t already have a connection with) can’t. It does feel riskier, because you have to put yourself out there in what feels like an uncomfortable way. You do basically need to say “I’m looking for a friend. Can I try you out?” in a way that “Hey, come over for a group brunch!” doesn’t actually say.

    Good luck. This is a really hard thing after you leave the time in you life where there were automatic friends to be made everywhere, like school, etc.

  • Anonymous October 24, 2016, 2:36 pm

    I’m going to follow this thread because I don’t really have any advice for the OP, but I’m looking for some myself. I belong to a steel band that meets twice weekly, and a chapter of Amnesty International that meets once a month (except in the summer), and both of these groups (with different people, except for me), have the same problem of people flaking. So, “join organized activities to make friends” is good advice, but I just want to say, it’s not a cure-all. I’m fairly introverted, so I don’t mind much, but I’d hate for the OP to take that advice, only to end up in a situation like mine, and be disappointed.

    • Lomita Momcat October 24, 2016, 3:32 pm

      “Join organized activities to make friends”– NO.

      Join organized activities because you enjoy the activity. Because it’s something you want to do. Something you want to learn. Something you believe in. Because it’s a way you want to spend your time and energy. Because it’s doing something that makes you feel good.

      Join an organized activity because it makes you glow inside, it makes you feel accomplished, it enhances your spirituality, it checks off something that’s on your “bucket list.” Join an activity because even the thought of it makes you smile, makes you feel uplifted, makes you wish you could spend more of your hours and more of your energy doing that activity. Because it’s gratifying, uplifting, and so satisfying that while you’re doing it, you’re not even thinking about whether it leads you to make more friends, because you’re so satisfied and fulfilled that you can’t imagine NOT doing the activity.

      Maybe you will, maybe you won’t make tons of friends, but you will find your life is more satisfying and that people are more likely to be drawn to get to know you. That’s not a bad return on your investment in time and energy.

      • Anonymous October 24, 2016, 5:58 pm

        Oh, I didn’t join steel band or Amnesty to make friends–I joined because I wanted to play in a steel band, and be a member of Amnesty International. I was just pointing out a tiny hole in Jeanne’s (otherwise good) advice about joining organized activities; in that sometimes people flake on those as well.

  • Chechina October 24, 2016, 2:46 pm

    I commend you, OP! Friends take work. You might like the book “MWF seeking BFf”. This book was written by a woman who approached female friendship like she would dating, and its sort of science-lite study on adult friendships. It might give you a little boost to your efforts.

  • JD October 24, 2016, 3:28 pm

    There is some very good advice here! OP, like others, I admire you for getting out there instead of sitting around whining. More people should be like you! I agree with the suggestions here, too. I am introverted and have had very few select friendships in my adult life, but I meet with a small group (this is a religiously oriented group) of just four of us, and it’s been wonderful. We meet once a week, but we have a structured purpose — spiritual accountability — and we only schedule an hour and a half, so it isn’t too time-consuming. Occasionally we’ll skip or have a fun meeting instead — cook out or a movie night — but the weekly meeting has become very important to us, so that skipping is very rare. The group has opened me up to other people and other opportunities, as a side benefit. If you can find a small group of people sharing your interests, beliefs, cause, hobby, whatever, I think you’ll find it a great start to a more social life. It may take time, it may be quick, but don’t give up.
    And I can’t stand it when people back out of commitments on the day of, either. I know sometimes there are good excuses, but it still bugs me. because often it’s just that they changed their minds.

  • Willynilly October 24, 2016, 3:32 pm

    I think you had a great idea unfortunately it didn’t pan out. One question that struck me was: you knew each of these women, but did they know each other?

    You were trying to create a community but some of those women might already have communities they are involved in.

    Many others have suggested great places to make friends and I don’t disagree, but I will add. In my 30s, before marriage and kids, I enjoyed being part of a bar community. I was on the dart team for a few years, then later the pool team. We would rotate around to local bars for friendly competitions. The teams & games are structured in such a way that even if you aren’t any good at the game, you can still be a team asset, so the pressure is off. And travelling to various bars means driving, so the pressure to drink isn’t there. Its just about knocking back and having fun. If you are in the States check with the APA (Americam Pool Assoc) for a team near you.

  • Devin October 24, 2016, 5:15 pm

    OP, either you are a friend of mine, or this is a common thing for independent 30 something women to do. A social circle that i used to be a part of did this as well. Coordinated monthly brunches, some were a success and some were flops. We used facebook to coordinate as this was the perferred platform for our group and it made group communication easy. I never did the coordinating as i was added on by another member of the group, and was only an acquaintance of many of the members. Every time i went it was 5-10 people, and i found it to be a great way to get to know new people.
    A few times i planned on going and the day before we would realize it was only going to be 2 or 3 going, so we would make plans ‘offline’. I know the organizer often got cancellations while we were being seated which is very annoying for the group and the restaurant. Oh its 10…no 8…no 6…actually 7 someone is coming late…
    I made my new years resolution 2 years ago to not be a flake and only say yes to activities i wanted to do. Part of that resolution involved holding my friends accountable for their flakiness, and by the end of the year when plans were made you could count on at least 90% of those Yes responses showing up on time. I lost a couple of friends who claimed their flakiness/lack of punctuality was just who they were. Those weren’t true friends after all.
    PS – i only stopped attending because i moved across country so no more monthly brunching for me.

  • abf October 24, 2016, 7:23 pm

    What a breath of fresh air! It is so nice to hear about someone who is trying to do something good. Hang in there.

  • Ann C October 24, 2016, 7:51 pm

    I am a big believer in Meetup.com groups. I am a bit shy so I prefer one with an activity rather than a happy hour kind of group. A bar trivia group is a great start. The time investment is rarely more than two or three hours. You work as a team, so you can be part of the group without trying too hard at small talk. There are groups for many different interests. If you don’t find one that suits you, start your own!

  • NostalgicGal October 24, 2016, 8:08 pm

    I grew up in a small rural town, went to college and ‘citified’ and spent some decades living in large urban areas. We went into retirement and chose another small rural town to retire to. I knew that life wasn’t going to be the same, so I went out and found things to do: clubs to join, volunteer stuff to help with, etc. I read the local weekly paper with interest and started going out to find stuff to do. Sitting at home, the world wasn’t going to come to me… although the internet and such had matured enough I could stay in touch with those I really wanted to. After more than a decade here, I have friends, I do things, I am still in touch with others through the internet and other sources, and I have the life I made. It takes dedication on your side, just keep trying. Now if I go on a random errand run, an hour might take four because there’s friends to meet and talk to, your neighbor is the phone rep you always go bother and pay your bill to, etc. Don’t give up. It took a few years every time I made a major move to get a social circle going again, 3-5 if it was pre internet days. Now I have ‘carryover’ from before, which helps settle in the new place. I don’t plan on moving again, so. Don’t give up, OP.

  • BagLady October 24, 2016, 9:19 pm

    OP’s brunch idea is lovely in theory, but in practice it’s (a) easy for folks to bail on because it’s “just” a social event, and (b) a lot more work and thought than many people want to put into a casual weekend social event. If you’re the host, you have to clean the house, buy and prepare the food. If it’s potluck, the host still has to clean, and everyone else has to find time to plan and prepare a dish.

    Also, I think brunch works better as a social event for people who are already friends. If all you have in common is age and geography, what are you going to talk about over brunch? Your kids? That leaves out those who don’t have them. House and garden stuff? That leaves out those who aren’t homeowners and/or don’t garden.

    That’s why I second the idea of finding established activities you are interested in: a Meetup group, a class, a Bible study or other church activity, a volunteer gig (trust me, any organization that uses volunteer workers can *always* use more). But don’t go with the intention of finding one or more new BFFs. Go for the activity, and you will find the community you’re looking for. That’s how communities evolve these days — from common interests.

    You will get out of the house, you will be with people, and you will be doing an activity that you enjoy and that matters to you. It won’t be long before you have become friends with these folks. They may not be the circle of girlfriends-your-own-age you are envisioning — they may be teenage friends, college student friends, old-lady friends, guy friends, couple friends — but there’s nothing wrong with that, as long as you care about one another and enjoy spending time together.

  • Just4Kicks October 25, 2016, 1:19 am

    I think you are courageous, OP. 🙂
    I consider myself to be a friendly person, but not very “outgoing”.
    An example would be, at my children’s sports events/dance classes etc., I’m very content to sit by myself or chat with my kids.
    I don’t usually plant myself in the middle of “the group” of parents, and try to make small talk, it’s just not my thing.
    A few years back, my best friend (we live in a very small town) texted me that she overheard some of the moms saying that my kids and I always sit by ourselves, and that I think I’m “too good” to sit with the other parents. That’s not it….at ALL!
    I thanked my friend for letting me know, but I was so embarrassed, and I felt really awful that people thought I was snobby.
    I made an effort to sit closer to the group after that, and haven’t had any problems since then.

  • Julie October 25, 2016, 8:28 am

    I have done similar things like the OP in the past, and have gotten similar results. So OP, it’s not just you.

    I will say that friendships in modern American culture (especially big cities) tend to be like this. Everyone has work, school, families, etc. It’s hard to get together, to find common interests, and to invest in one another’s lives. My biggest problem is trying to imitate my parents’ example in making friends. They’re first generation Asian immigrants whose social lives were dictated by different cultural norms. Their group of Asian friends have all known each other for decades, helped each other through tough times, and still keep in general contact after moving away. They seem to take relationships more seriously than us “young folks.” In many ways, I’m a little jealous of what they have, but time marches forward and we have to do the best we can.

  • Just4Kicks October 25, 2016, 1:18 pm

    I just thought of one of my son’s, who doesn’t play sports, and is into writing and drawing and is a gamer.
    He is going through an awkward social phase, he is very funny and friendly, but shy.
    He picked a journalism class as an elective this year, and I’ve encouraged him to try his hand at the school newspaper.
    Just last week, one of his articles got picked up for this month’s paper, and he was so excited about it since apparently freshman aren’t really included in the actual writing, just the grunt work.
    The editor who is a senior boy, has taken my son under his wing, and has given him pointers and all around encouragement about his writing.
    This senior stopped at my son’s lunch table the other day, to say how much he liked the article my son submitted and said he had a few ideas for it.
    After he left, my son’s friends were all like “Did a SENIOR just stop at our table and TALK to you”?!?
    I actually got a “thanks Mom for telling me to join the paper, the kids are in all different grades and are really cool!”

  • daria October 25, 2016, 6:18 pm

    I admire the OP’s initiative but agree with some others that doing this via a Facebook crowd may have been the wrong audience.

    Were I making the same experiment, I would issue mailed invitations, one-on-one, to my home, requesting the favor of a reply.

    Also for me, anyway, “brunch” would be problematic on a weekend. I need every minute of the day to get cleaning, errands, tasks of life maintenance, time with pets, work on my side business, etc. — so having to be dressed for a social event in late morning would basically break my day in half. I would be more inclined to do a Friday cocktail hour after work, a late afternoon or early evening Saturday cocktails/tea/nature walk/etc. gathering or possibly late afternoon on Sunday. But like most people weekend mornings/early afternoon are times for me to power through chores and other things that set me up for the coming week.

    In fact perhaps a week night would be better than a weekend night — by Thursday things can be under control and a nice gathering to launch the weekend would be pleasant.

    • Pat October 26, 2016, 9:59 am

      Good points and suggestions. For working people, there’s a lot that has to get done during the weekend. I find that I spend my mornings doing laundry, housework, shopping etc. As much as I’d like to relax, this stuff has to get done. Also, don’t forget that many people have church commitments on Sunday morning.

  • Kay October 26, 2016, 9:06 am

    I have recently begun to cut off lifelong friends for this flake behavior. Part of this for me has been deleting and blocking them on social media, so they no longer have a glimpse into my life, claiming they love and care for me, yet ignore me and do not return calls or texts, even in emergency situations. It hurts too much to keep these types around, so I’m removing them from my life, including access to my photos, etc. I seriously think some people feel they are friends merely because they are on a friends list. Making new friends and associates, losing the baggage of the old ones. It’s sad but had to be done. To new beginnings…