How the hell do you make friends?

I mentioned in my first post about how I have suffered from anxiety since I was very young, which always made me feel awkward and alienated in social situations because I didn’t know how to act and it always felt like everyone thought I was super weird (I was). So when I got into drinking, I learned how to make friends by being the social party girl. It was a lot of self deprecation and being a crazy hot mess, but I still made a lot of friends. However, when I got sober, I lost most of those “friends”. Now I’m 25 years old trying to figure out how the fuck a weirdo like me makes friends. My boyfriend doesn’t get how someone who used to have so many “friends” all of a sudden can’t figure out how to make any. I’ve met a lot of people through AA, but I still feel like I haven’t been welcomed into anyone’s friend circle, and I never get invited to do things with anyone I meet at AA. I’ve made plans with people a few times, but it’s never been reciprocated. 

I guess it’s something I’ll learn with time. I’d rather take it slow and find actual friends who accept me and love me completely as I am. For now, I guess that’s what cats are for!

 

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24 thoughts on “How the hell do you make friends?

  1. I cannot possibly relate to this any more than I do! I used to be “that guy” for lack of a better term- everyone at my college knew me, I was always the life of the party, everyone sought me out for the best time. I was always the most fucked up and the one with the drugs. Everyone was always hitting me up, girls too.. It’s hard to believe that I was the one who was ignoring a bunch of texts, etc. picking and choosing who I hang out with.
    The saddest part though is that I thought these people were “friends”… When I came home to go to rehab and got sober almost everyone just move along, maybe 2-3 guys have actually stuck around from there. Now my high school friends are just drinking or smoking all the time, so it’s hard.

    I’ve been making the mistake of trying harder to meet a girl than to meet a friend you know? And no one has accepted me fully into their group. I’ve always had sports or drugs and drinking make my friends for me, I honestly have no idea what to do…

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    1. I’m the same way! I always played sports so that’s where my friends came from in high school, and then in college/after college I was just friends with anyone who wanted to party as much as I did. I have a boyfriend who was NEVER into partying and stuff, so he has actual legitimate friends. And he cannot figure out for the life of him why it’s so hard for me to make friends all of a sudden haha. What he doesn’t realize is that they weren’t real friends, they were just people I got fucked up with. I think you and I will both learn, it’ll just take time!

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      1. That’s what I’ve noticed! Now that I’m not going out every night and rolling into work hungover/still drunk I can actually focus on my career and stuff! And cats are the best companions 😻

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  2. I think making friends once you’re out of college is difficult no matter what, but it certainly would be harder if anxiety was involved. My problem is that I’m an introvert, and I’m simply not one to use a loud voice or command attention among people I don’t know. It definitely got harder to meet people once I was out of college, especially after everyone started having kids. I don’t have any answers. Maybe take a community ed course/night course in a hobby you’re really interested in? At least you’d start off with one obvious shared interest with everyone else in the room. Also, craigslist actually has a “Strictly Platonic” section in personals. I seriously found one good friend from answering someone’s ad that I’ve been friends with for years now.

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  3. I’m nearly 42 and I’m awkward as hell around folks in AA except when I’m sharing. Chatting before the meeting and after isn’t my strong suite, but I’ve been challenging myself to open up a bit more. Like newcomer12 said, once college or graduate school is out of the picture, it’s just hard making friends. A lot of us are introverts and struggle with anxiety (myself included), but I practice heaps of self-care and remind myself that getting sober didn’t automatically make me an extrovert. Sobriety has certainly lessened my anxiety and overall sense of dread (the “impending doom” spoken of in the Big Book), but social anxiety is still very much a real thing. It’s OK to feel out-of-sorts. I also remind myself that I’m not a “bad” person trying to “get good,” but a sick person working actively to get well.

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    1. I’m like an extrovert with anxiety, so I just end up coming off as super awkward and weird. I think I just need to stop trying so hard and just kinda hang and be myself and let the universe bring the right people into my life

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      1. I imagine there are quite a few people that fit that description (extrovert with anxiety). My older brother seems to fit that bill…and I also think he’s an alcoholic, but I don’t press the issue. Sage words about the universe bringing you the right people.

        Thanks for the follow on my writing site, which you may have meant to do. I focus on recovery and sobriety on my other blog, and the writing one is poetry and fiction. Sometimes, I imagine folks follow my blog and say, “What the hell’s up with all the poetry?” : )

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  4. It’s hard for me to find the right thing to say. I was always very quiet, sat in the back of the class and hoped no one noticed me. I always walked with my head down with my hair hiding my face. 20 years of drinking and 6 1/2 years of sobriety and I still know nothing. Fear and Anxiety keeps me from doing most things. I’ll listen to a song by Blue October that talks about the Fear and is brilliant. I’m inspired for 3 seconds. It isn’t easy. My best friend of 30 years doesn’t invite me to things anymore. She’s afraid I’ll slip up and she doesn’t want to see me hurt. It hurts more knowing I’m not included. I do have control. I’m not going to turn green and start bursting out of my clothes reaching for the Tequila like The Incredible Hulk. Keep trying. My animals are important to me but they only talk back on certain days. Not reliable at all.

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    1. Haha I think people genuinely don’t invite sober alcoholics because they think it’ll be “too hard” for us and we’ll slip up. You know what’s hard? Sitting at home alone for the millionth Saturday in a row

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      1. Her eyes popped out of her head. She was having a party I hadn’t been invited to. I didn’t stay long because everyone was drunk and I felt a fight brewing. The sober me was a little disgusted at some of the people even though I’ve definitely been worse. I felt like a hypocrite.

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      2. Oh I’ve been there. I’ve been out with my boyfriend and watching people be sloppy drunk disgusts me, but I think it’s mostly because I know i spent so long looking like that. I’m sure that’s why you felt disgusted too

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      3. It was that and I had lost a significant amount of weight and went from blond to red. I was getting different reactions from guys who years ago would’ve called me names or looked through me. It kind of pissed me off. One guy that I had liked was making comments about me in front of his girlfriend. He thought he was complimenting me. I thought he was an ass and wanted to get away from him. That’s where the fight vibe was coming in. It was difficult for me. I’ve never had anyone say anything positive about my ass before. Or say I looked hot. But when your girlfriend is standing next to you, that’s a problem.

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  5. Although I haven’t struggled with addiction in my life, I know exactly what you mean when you talk about social anxiety and how hard it is to make friends as an adult. I totally agree about the cat thing. I would own 17 if it wasn’t for the fact I’ve seen animal hoarders and it made me cry and its inhumane. I hope you have better luck in the future. You seem like a really awesome person.

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    1. Thank you! I would own all the cats if I had the space and means to take care of them haha. My boyfriend came over one day and I was wearing a cat sweatshirt with my 2 cats sitting on me and he was like “wow the transformation into cat lady is complete” 😂

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  6. I get that idea, myself. I moved to a new area, and literally the only people I know are people I’ve met at the dry homeless shelter I live at and at NA and AA meetings. The people at the shelter are great, don’t get me wrong, but we’re all in a huge transition and tough time in our lives. The people from AA/NA haven’t quite welcomed me in their social circles yet. I don’t understand how to make friends at this age, either.

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    1. I find AA can be a little cliquey sometimes. They’re all extremely nice people and they make you feel welcome at meetings, but as far as being actual friends outside of meetings, it’s hard to break into. I’ve been finding myself spending more and more time at work because at least my “mall friends” want to hang out with me.

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  7. We moved to another state when I was in middle school so I had to find new friends when I was just turning into a teenager (already difficult) and I was an only child, with no one to glean advice from or talk to. I made a few friends, but my “weirdness” turned them off and they abandoned me. I made it through high school with maybe five close friends (yep, I’m an introvert that keeps only a handful of friends, albeit close friends). But we all went to different colleges, or none at all, and went our separate ways. I now live in yet another state, moved when I was in my late 20s, and honestly have not made a new friend since high school. It seems like the older we get the harder it is. I become so self conscious and find the work to make friends so exhausting. I’d like a close friend like I had back in school (I don’t even remember what that’s like anymore), but sometimes it feels like it’ll never happen.

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