How Do You Make Friends in Your Late 30s and 40s?
Humans are social creatures. It’s evident in the way societies have been built since the dawn of civilisation. With the explosion of social media like Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Facebook and before that, MySpace (showing my age), it should be even easier to stay “connected” with friends. Or is it?
We arrived! Pressed the bell, then questioned whether we had the correct address because we didn’t get an immediate response. About 2 minutes later, Tess opened the door. We said our greetings, then reintroduced ourselves to Tess and realised why it probably took a while to get to the door. They had a great flight of stairs. We met Tess’s husband, James and their three beautiful boys.
I seem to have one of those faces that children know. It’s like, I’m their long lost friend, so I was immediately swept away by the kids and spent the next 10 minutes talking Bayblades with my son and the boys in the garden.
Once they got bored of the now grown-up face who seemingly spoke their language, things resumed back to normal and they continued exchanging Beyblade tips and tricks with my son. As I sat down, I watched my son in awe. Junade has this extraordinary ability to make friends with the click of a forge disk. Excuse the Beyblade reference. He was meeting four new boys today – Tess’s three boys and a friend that was having a sleepover. Junade had just met the four boys for the first time, but within minutes they were getting on like a house on fire.
“How did you get into this situation in the first place?” I hear you ask.
Ruth and I had promised each other we would make an effort and take opportunities to make new friends when we arrived in Australia. We recognised that we had taken our children from everything and everyone they knew, so we felt the need to recreate those friendship networks. We didn’t want them to become isolated, especially our son, who’s younger. We agreed to say “Yes Yes” to all new opportunities for the first year and see where this leads us.
Saying yes more often led us to a day out at FlipOut in Mitchell. Our conversation on the drive over to FlipOut was about what we desperately needed since we migrated from the UK. Hair products! Hair cuts. Hairdressers. All the things that were not on the S190 Visa form. We didn’t consider any of this until we got to Australia, then we realised there was such a thing as a black barber.
As we came out of the exit for FlipOut, we met Tess dropping one of her boys off for a birthday party. Ruth asked her about hair products as there were no ‘black hair shops’ in Canberra. Ruth and Tess chatted for a while, and then exchanged numbers. I thought nothing of it.
A few weeks later, Ruth had set up a lunch at Tess’s house.
Fast forward to the day, as J Boy was discussing the intricate details of Beyblades and arenas, I sat with my thoughts of how liberating it must be to not be a grown-up approaching their 40s, trying to make new friends. Our son doesn’t seem to have to think about:
- Do we have things in common?
- What should I say to keep the convo flowing?
- Would I run out of things to talk about?
- Do we have anything in common? (yep – I thought about this many times)
I visited all those familiar places the mind wanders to when you are in new situations as an adult! I’m a frequent visitor.
As the conversions flowed from our childhood stories to how we ended up here (Australia), on their couch, on a Saturday afternoon, we made anecdotal observations about boys making friends easier than girls when young but men become inept at making new friends. Girls tend to have difficulty making friends younger however they hold text and phone conversations with new friends better when they are women like Ruth is proving now.
Has anyone else noticed that?
Why is that?
Or is it just me?
Am I doomed to be friendless for the rest of my life while Ruth is book clubbing her way to new friendships?
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Love as always,
The Jalloh Family