Making Friends at Forty

How do you make friends as an adult?  Since I really never learned how to make friends as a child, it’s a pretty overwhelming question.

When I was a kid, I was just flock to someone who would laugh at my jokes and would tolerate my weird behavior (for instance, I always know what’s morally right, but I never know what’s socially rude; sometimes those fields of expertise need to overlap).  Once I found that person, I stopped looking for other friends.  As I got into adulthood, I just stuck with those same few people and became friends with their friends.  Except they’re not my friends, they’re their friends.  I have a few friends who have a bunch of friends, and as I get older, I think they see that they don’t need me as much as they used to.

Case in point:


“Destination Bris” is the lowest-rated show on GSM

For the past decade or so, I’ve tried my best to see each of my friends at least once a year — I go to their house or they come to mine — it’s not some fancy vacation or destination bris; I just go to catch up.  A few years ago I had the novel idea of everybody getting together all at once.  We’re adults now.  We should have at least enough money to get a hotel somewhere on a Saturday and just hang out.  We went to Kalamazoo one year; we went to Lake Huron once or twice.  Each time it felt nice. Each time I was reminded of why we were friends in the first place.


Winter: the best 7 months in Michigan

I had heart surgery May 30th.  I then spent all of June and a lot of July recovering.  I knew this was coming in February, I asked everyone to give me their summer schedule so that we could pick the best warm day in Michigan (of which, there are like 16) to get together.  We all picked a weekend in August.  For me, this was a great way to bookend a severely shitty summer.

I rented a house for $500 right on the lake (or rather, lake-adjacent; it was on one of those little man-made tributaries, but it was walking-distance to the water and it came with a fire pit and a boat).  The Tuesday before we were set to go, I texted everyone directions and a few pictures.  By Friday, every single one of them had given me a different excuse as to why they couldn’t come.

At different points in our lives, these excuses would’ve been completely legitimate.  There was a time that coming up with $100 on the spot would’ve been unimaginable; back then we compensated for being poor by going to a campground and splitting the $40 lot fee 5 ways.

But not now. Not at 40.  Not with six months’ notice.  Not with coming off the back end of heart surgery.  Not after The Longest Summer Ever.

My initial goal of all of us getting together was that we’d get together once or twice a year — just the guys — and then once or twice we’d invite the families (there isn’t much in the way of a Jones family reunion, so I find family where I can).  But not now.

I’m never doing that again.  I’m not saying these people aren’t my friends anymore, but it’s pretty clear how important I am in their lives (at best I’m the go-to guy when they need a one-liner on their Twitter feed).  So I need new friends.

How do I do that? Do I become friends with my kids’ parents? Do I join some sort of club?  I don’t watch a lot of sports, so that’s out…

Maybe I should just find someone who tolerates my weird behavior.  Maybe I can be friends with their friends…

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