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Why is it hard to make friends over 30? (2012) (nytimes.com)
763 points by ValentineC on Feb 20, 2018 | hide | past | web | favorite | 721 comments



As someone who has been an expat in several locations and also divorced, I have found that it's not really due to age but down to where the people around you find themselves in their life and where you find yourself in life. When young people go to college a significant portion of them are in a situation where they would need to seek and develop new friendships. The same happens if you move to a location which has a large expatriate population. It's when you don't have your old friends around and surrounded by people who are in the same situation. That means the people you work or take classes with are also open to making friends with people they work or take classes with. Everyone also live, work and socialise as close to each other as possible, for this purpose. This is in contrast to, say, if you move to a new country or a city where the majority of the people already have established friendships and families where they live and work. These people don't live close to where they work, they live close to where it's convenient for their established friends and family. They don't feel the need to make friends at work. This makes it hard for you, as an outsider, to make friends where most people you deal with don't have that need. This changes again if you have children who go to school and you find yourself with other parents in the same situation. The same when people move when they retire somewhere.


Fellow expat here. This problem had been on my mind for years. Like you said, the main challenge is how to spot the most compatible people in a sea of strangers that are in a similar phase in life. I built We3 to try to make this easier (and it looks like it's working!). We launched recently and matched around 30k people already.

It's a mobile app where profiles are private. And it connects people in groups of 3, but not only based on interests, but personality, lifestyle, values, etc. It would be awesome if we could connect a bunch of this crowd IRL. What do you think? https://we3.app.link/


Looks like a cool tool, but I just wanted to add that I'm a man with at least 50% female friends, so restricting me to only making friends with men is a shame.

I think we've moved past the whole "not being able to be friends with someone of the same gender" thing (nevermind the fact that people of the same gender can date!). There are probably better ways to tackle people using the app for dating.


>I think we've moved past the whole "not being able to be friends with someone of the same gender"

I think you meant to say "of the opposite gender".

I find it difficult to make friends with people of both genders, but my hobbies and interests seem partitioned strongly to one gender, virtually making the other gender seem alien and extra hard to make friends with. I don't know why that's the case, and it seems to be one of the great questions of our time along with others like what dark matter is. :0 Indeed, some of them seem to FEIGN interest for the purposes of mate seeking, but questioning each and every person's motives would devolve us into some kind of McCarthyist wasteland of jade, toxic cynicism.

One possible solution is to keep gender secret in interaction. Another would be to segregate interactions by gender. We3 chose the latter. I whine at the strangeness and unfashionable nature of humanity, but I can't whine at We3's decision. It seems to keep everything pretty--

>(nevermind the fact that people of the same gender can date!)

We're back to the wasteland.

Albeit a smaller wasteland, statistically.


> I find it difficult to make friends with people of both genders, but my hobbies and interests seem partitioned strongly to one gender, virtually making the other gender seem alien and extra hard to make friends with.

I don't think the fact that you find it hard to do so should be a reason to restrict your user-base. I see a case for single-gender outings and understand that some people would prefer such outings, but I think co-ed outings could add to the app.

EDIT: Just saw your link on why tribes are single gendered. I didn't really take the creep-factor into account. Maybe a 2 on 2 female/male ratio would help reduce it, best of luck with figuring it out, it's a tough nut to crack!


I meant opposite, yes!


Yeah, it was a tough call tbh. The thing is that most other apps slide into dating territory because that's where the money is. And it ends up ruining the experience for everyone who's not there to find a mate. Wrote up a longer post on the reasoning here [1]. It's definitely in the roadmap, we're just two guys working on this, so it'll take a bit of time to manage that transition carefully.

[1] https://www.we3app.com/why-tribes-same-gender/


I think you guys made a great decision as it definitely sets your app apart. It made it very clear that it's about finding friends, rather than a potential mate.

As another fellow expat, my main issue is trying to make friends with locals or other people that are outside the "expat bubble."

From my experience, those who stay in expat bubble too long become really toxic (both the expats and the locals that hang around them).

I've been learning the local language and have made a lot of progress by just getting involved in specific hobby groups like hiking and birding.

It's tough but rewarding.


I like the idea, but aren't you worried that Grant Morrisson or DC will complain about the name?

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/We3


Not really. We do completely different things, so I think we're in the clear. The USPTO gave us the trademark protection, too. :)


Ah, true.

Just avoid using a dog, cat and rabbit as your mascots I guess ;)


btw, the We3 product screenshot of the man calling the other men "ladies" and the video of Donny touching the crying girl are in poor taste.


Yeah. Going to be replacing that soon. Thought it would be a good way to kill two birds with one stone: have an explainer video that was also worthy of press coverage. And it kinda worked, but it made some important people distance themselves because of the politics. Thanks for the note.


Is there any reason why this is a mobile only app?

I have a strong preferences not to use apps that are mobile only. And I firmly believe that communicating on mobile has a hard time turning into something more substantial. People nowadays are used to quick status updates while on mobile. Look at the popularity of Snapchat. Why bother writing something when I could just post a picture on Instagram?

It is difficult to make friends when you are over 30, and I think with society stuck on the internet and mobile, it will be even more difficult. At least break free from mobile.


Yeah, totally get what you're saying, but unfortunately people's behavior and perception of the product is different when something is on mobile, especially with an online matching service. Tinder was able to break down the stigma of online dating because they were on mobile only. I'm hoping We3 will be able to break that stigma for friendship matching.


I never said there was a stigma. Conversations are just more vapid on mobile. No effort is put in, while people take their time when not on mobile.

If I am looking to build a friendship, mobile is not the place I would look. Hookup? Tinder/mobile is awesome.


Is this just a data collection app? Do you monetize the data because it asks for so damn much.


I had the same experience, but also expat, love traveling.

For me making new friends is easy, probably because I am used to it. It is not that hard unless you are desperate.

It is like money, when you don't need it, it way easier to make money than when you need it.

The best way to make friends it to find an indirect way of being in close contact with other people, an help them.

For example I have made incredible friends helping people on drugs. After months or years of pain, when those people get out of drugs they are your friends for all your life, because you were there when very few people were.

I also made lots of friends volunteering teaching(poor) kids 3d printing and engineering in general. When those kids become men or women they surprise you.

From my point of view, you make friends when you don't need to make friends, because you have more important things to do than focusing in yourself.


True.

I know people who fit in the classical "over 30" role with 23 because they got two children and I know people who don't fit in that role with 42.

But I think there is a high correlation between age and state of life.

Also, the people over 30 that aren't in that "I don't have time for other people"-state are often those who struggle to find friends.


Also, it's hard but not impossible. I'm in that situation right now, where I work in a new location but most of my colleagues have established lifes here. However there are also a small number of colleagues in similar situations, and also there's some movement going on all the time. So yes, my friendships don't grow as quickly as I'd like, but they grow.

One thing to note though is that one needs to pursue it proactively. Don't be ashamed to ask people to add you to their whatsapp group. Don't be afraid to supply other people with food they like, so they will remember you when they want to relax. And take off some time from your hobbies and work schedule so you can participate in meetups.


>Don't be ashamed to ask people to add you to their whatsapp group

That is rude and looks desperate. If a group actually likes you, then they would invite you first. As a general rule, never invite yourself to anything social. You can invite others to your place or to have dinner, but not to something else somebody already planned


Only if you already have especially likable personality, otherwise you do have to be proactive. For me, if I waiting for people to invite me first I end up with 0 friend. It does seem rude and desperate in the beginning but I have to learn to not think it that way.


I agree. I started developing adult friendships when I decided not to worry about this and start dropping “strong hints” that I was interested in social events that I overheard people discussing.

I tend to appear standoffish and several friends have told me that they initially believed that I disliked them. I have to tell people explicitly that I am interested in spending time with them to overcome this.


>if I waiting for people to invite me first I end up with 0 friend

but then those other people are begrudgingly inviting you out of politeness since you asked, rather than being a genuine invite


It might just be that they don't even think about you as someone who is interesting in interacting. That they basically dont register that you exists. It is not necessary that they hate you.


It at least gives you an opportunity to get your foot in the door so next time it's a genuine invitation.


if you joined their whatsapp group out of self-invite and they begrudgingly obliged, then you will see all their invites and still be self-inviting yourself to their other events unless they personally asked you


Gotcha, I'm completely oblivious to Whatsapp.


I'm way too straight-forward of a person in a sense that I rarely keep anything I'm thinking to myself, to a fault. But that also means I'm not afraid to be rejected and people can always expect honesty from me. Charisma goes along way with people like me, because without it, we're just assholes.


Also an expat here who has lived in multiple locations. I discovered (accidentally) that meetup.com is a great way to make friends in a new place that have a common interest. Try to find a group (or start one) that is about something you're interested in and that meets weekly. Go every week! You'll make friends in no time. I've done this in a number of cities now.


Starting a group is the best strategy to know people. The organizer has some bonus standing. Attending to many meetups of other groups is the second best strategy. I mix them. My focus is on business relationships but I knew many people for sure.


This also works well in reverse, coming from someone who isn't an expat but has many, many expat friends. (living in a city like Berlin helps, of course).


People are a sum of their life experiences. People who are older, have more that goes into that equation. More often equates to complexity and intricacy, like a complicated key, that becomes harder and harder to find a lock for.

In my early 20's, I was more open to hanging around people I know I didn't like, or wasn't compatible with, because I didn't want to be alone or without friends, craved attention, and saw every social encounter as a stepping stone and potentially valuable.

Now, I know better. When you get older you realize you don't need to surround yourself with people whom you don't like, no longer crave as much attention, and already stepped along many of life's stones. You also put on less of a pretense to others and care less about being liked. It's more important to be authentic and true, even if that means having less friends, than a phony with a lot of fake friends. All this has the result of making it more difficult to randomly find real friends.

It's common I'll meet many new people but the ones who I stay in contact with are few and far between, and that's okay. People come into your life and go out of it, it's just the way things work. I'm thankful for everyone I've had in my life and know that there are many more great people who I have yet to meet.


At 47 it is a bit of the explore/exploit paradox for me - an optimal stopping problem.

As an introvert social interaction drains my mental energy so at some point you start investing more energy into enjoying your best friends than into making new friends.


1. I only ever heard of this as a dilemma and not a paradox

2. There is this recruiting problem where you have to decide which secretary to hire before having seen all of them. The optimal solution is to see the first 37% (1/e) and then hire the first that is better than the previously seen best.

Putting that into lifespan of ~75 ys and assuming we don't really start sampling until we are 15, we end up with an optimal stopping (= exploitation) age of 32.07.

Surprisingly close to the 30 mentioned.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Secretary_problem


It's the optimal solution if you wan to optimize the probability of hiring the one best secretary out of all the candidates. When hiring you usually care more about maximizing the expected "goodness", hiring someone in the top X%, or anyone who meets a certain bar.


Oh! I used a similar mathematical model while finding a spouse.

I figured, that for me, 37% (1/e) worked out to 13 people.

This (finding people) is a space I've spent a lot of time doing, planning, understanding, and thinking about :)

Also, there are a lot of scientific papers on how to model these in scholar.google.com (sorry that I don't have links that I can give right now)


How romantic.


Have you read "The Rosie Project"? It explored some similar ideas as a fun novel.


As an extrovert, social interaction still drains my mental energy. If anything I find myself even more obligated than you do to hold up my end of the conversation because that's the social expectation. This can be horribly exhausting when I'm simply not in the mood.


The extroverts I’ve known all thrive and get energy in social situations. I use this now as my deciding factor for introversion and extroversion. Are you sure you aren’t an introvert with extrovert skills. That’s what I am. I can talk to anyone easily but it drains me.


Yeah, I had some leadership training last year that involved multiple personality tests. I'm absolutely an extrovert. It wasn't even an "on the fence" kind of result.

I'm not an expert on psychological motivations, so I can't speak to the feelings or motivations of others, just myself.

Most of the time these results are things I find during introspection after social events are over. I can spend 4 hours in a social situation and be one of the drivers that keeps things going. It's later, when I'm alone and meditating, that I discover just how exhausted I was.


As an extrovert, my experience is that I pick up on another people's emotions and that colors my mood. If everyone is sort of uncomfortable and struggling through and eyeing the door, then I pick up on that and it saps my energy. If I find myself talking to a half dozen people who are in great moods and having an exciting conversation, I can get so carried away that I will feel a sort of buzzing high. Whether I go home tired or go home buzzing with energy very much depends on the event.

My wife is an introvert and is highly skilled at chit chat. She can work a room better than anyone but the most gregarious salesman types. She will remember the names of people that she met 10 years ago, details about their careers, their children's names and what their children studied in college. Doesn't matter if it's a professional event, a wedding, or a funeral, she is always on her game. BUT, she always goes home exhausted.


People take me by an extrovert all the time. I learned to look less nerdy by mimicking my extrovert twin brother. I was the weirdest guy of the school and he was the most popular.

Have you ever wondered if deep inside you are an introvert that just got very good at pretending to be an extrovert at early age due to social pressure? Western society rewards extroverts.


Introvert/extravert is how you recover your energy. You can perfectly be sociable and an introvert.


I thought both introverts and extraverts get energy by digesting food!


Western society rewards extroverts.

Are you sure about that? I get the impression that the English culture regards extroverts as freaks of nature and terrifying monsters.


How do you figure?



The extent of your personality test for me was reading my post on mobile.


I was simply pointing out that what you had typed in the comment that I replied to, is exactly what the dude who came up with those 'types' wrote down as definitions.


Context helps, thanks. Your other post felt more like you were throwing your knowledge in my face and calling me wrong.


If this were the case, it would be harder to find a romantic relationship as we age. Adjusting for life circumtance and type of relationship sought, I don't see evidence of this. What do you think?


According to my older female friends finding romantic relationships is getting harder for them.

My older male friends are less and less interested in romance as they report finding sex with no strings attached is getting easier with age.


Older man dating a younger woman is still culturally accepted but not vice versa. Statistically, this means that the dating pool for older men just keeps increasing.

For older women, the situation is the exact opposite. Their dating pool, which consists of (say) all older men keeps decreasing with age.

That might explain why your older female friends find relationships harder as they age, rather than a decrease in their physical attractiveness. The latter is what many women attribute their situation to, but IMO its just statistics and preferences.


That's true.

But what's also true is women tend to want to settle down in their early-mid 30s (at least in large American cities, among professional types) and now they become simultaneously more selective. In a sense, women are always the 'choosers' with rare exceptions. Men tend to have wider nets, on average.


That sounds like they were never interested in romance or relationship (beyond it being the means to get sex).


Looks like the latter's convenience might explain the former's predicament.


>It's more important to be authentic and true, even if that means having less friends, than a phony with a lot of fake friends. All this has the result of making it more difficult to randomly find real friends.

And this is where Facebook tries to seduce you. I'm going to go ahead and say that 90% of your Facebook friends aren't friends but rather they are acquaintances. Being friends means actually doing something together. Rather than liking your Facebook friends' vacation pictures, why not go on a vacation with them?


This was something that was discussed recently in one of the Pokemon Go FB Messenger groups I'm in. The group is mostly people in their 30's and 40's, and some of the people don't have any friends outside of the group. The game has basically brought them a network of friends that they didn't have before. And because "raids" (in-game battles of giant Pokemon) require multiple people and for you to physically go somewhere, you end up seeing your Pokemon friends a lot. You may even spend an afternoon driving around town, chasing raid battles. Sometimes it's just saying hello and battling, but other times you strike up a convo, laugh, etc. Lots of people feel the game is dead, or think I'm weird when they find out I still play it, but there's still an active player base, and it's methods of trying to get people (usually anti-social people) out and being social, have definitely hit upon something.


I'm not surprised at all... because the same thing happened with Ingress - the previous game from people behind Pokémon Go!

I was only part of the local community of players (green team in my city) briefly, but it was enough to learn that people in it talk to each other all the time (via Hangouts at that time), they see each other every evening, play together and then hang out together. That's one of the strongest friendship-making activities I've ever seen.


Unfortunately, once you stop playing, there's a big chance that all of this goes away.

Side note: I'm surprised how in both Ingress & Pokemon GO, friendships cross team boundaries; you can be adversaries and friends, like in any respectable sport.


When I unexpectedly found myself single after a long-term relationship imploded last year, I did the Tinder/OKCupid thing for a bit. One of the more amusing experiences was when I had planned a date with a girl and was telling a friend about it. At one point after describing the girl's profile, my friend stopped me and asked about some detail before pausing and telling me "she's a smurf! I know her!"

(For those unfamiliar, Ingress players have tongue-in-cheek epithets for the opposing team. Green team are "frogs" and blue team are "smurfs".)

The date didn't lead to anything as I don't think she had any romantic interest in me, but it was definitely a funny point when during a lull in conversation I paused and gravely asked if it was OK for her to be on a date with a "filthy frog" and she busted out laughing.


That's a really cute story. Glad you shared.


Was going to post something similar here. I've got plenty of friends from prior to playing PoGo, but I see my PoGo friends more frequently because PoGo provides a common reason to meet up with them / be in the same physical location.

It's definitely a somewhat unique phenomenon, and I like both the effect (seeing friends more regularly) and being able to experience it from the inside.

It does, however, give me the feeling that I should put more effort into getting together with my other friends. But life provides any number of excuses to delay it.


>It's definitely a somewhat unique phenomenon

Sounds like sports or any hobby that involves other people. But I haven't played it so maybe I'm missing what's unique about it.


The unique part, for me, is having to physically be in a specific place to engage in parts of the game, and the places are 'anywhere around the world'.

Reading the sentence I just wrote it still just sounds like sport, where you have to go to an oval or arena or whatever. But with Pokemon Go it's sort of 'anywhere' and yet specific at the same time. It's a particular place at a particular time. The difference may just be that it's a virtual / digital game rather than a physical one.


You forge friendship through common struggle. You need to offer one another something or you just introduce yourselves and let one another drift off in opposite directions without any bond forged.

You form your first friendships really early on with an extremely strong commonality - the hugeness of the world and your lack of information about it. Literally everything is in common with your peers circa age 2-4 because nothing is established yet. If it weren't for how our society has a habit of breaking these kids up constantly throughout their childhoods I would think those relationships would form the most iron clad friendships you can get if they survive to adulthood. Too bad about 90% of the kids you meet in daycare you never see again after you start school.

School is the next big one, where for most kids they will struggle alongside each other for 13 years straight. The mixing up of classes year to year again hurts the likelihood of strong friendships forming, but you can also just have kids your age in your neighborhood as a strong peer group. You have massive amounts of commonality at that point - you are taking the same classes, you live in the same area, you know the same people, you are subject to the "same" pop culture of your school.

That is where those high school clicks emerge from. The most bonded peer groups of before specialize as they age.

The same hold true into college, but I definitely don't see the same commonality and uniformity there. Going through puberty is really the cutting off point where divergent personalities specialize your interests enough that finding commonality becomes much harder, and you start having much less to offer your peers over their cumulative experiences and engagements.

It only gets worse from there. The more years into life you are, the more interests and specialties you have as a person that makes finding compatibility all that harder. People force themselves into relationships and marriage out of societal pressure. Nobody forces you into friendship nearly as much, so over that hump the lack of compatible people drops to near zero. Its why I think most marriages fail - they are trying to force the highest degree of friendship, when the older you get the harder it is.

Pokemon Go, and video games in general, are extremely effective ways to get people a commonality to force them together and interacting in ways that can build meaningful bonds. A common challenge is essential to bonding. The more passionate you can be about it the more likely it works.

But even then the 30 year old comes with baggage. They already have their favorite movies and musicians. Likes and dislikes. Hobbies and things they want to avoid. Because they have experienced so much more a fraction than they would have as children they are that much more set in stone. The adage of how you can't change a person applies here - even children demonstrate dramatically declining malleability as they gain experience in life. As you gain magnitudes more life experience your flexibility personality wise declines by similar magnitudes. It is trying to fit together puzzle pieces - if the pieces are made of clay you can mold them to fit. If they are tried out and set in stone they are rigid and it is much harder to find a match, and those matches are much easier to fracture and break.

The commonality and struggle are the prongs of a puzzle piece. The more impactful on your life, the happier it makes you, the more passion you can have for it the more pronounced those prongs can be. Early on you only need the simplest commonality as being the same age or living near one another to forge bonds - as you get old and your piece gets more defined and nuanced, it takes larger struggles and stronger forces to bind pieces together.


There's a beautiful passage in All The King's Men that makes, to me, a similar point:

"The friend of your youth is the only friend you will ever have, for he does not really see you...and perhaps he never saw you. What he saw was simply part of the furniture of the wonderful opening world. Friendship was something he suddenly discovered and had to give away as a recognition of and payment for the breathlessly opening world which momently divulged itself like a moon flower. It didn’t matter a damn to whom he gave it, for the fact of giving was what mattered, and if you happened to be handy you were automatically endowed with all the appropriate attributes of a friend and forever after your reality is irrelevant.”


>There's a beautiful passage in All The King's Men that makes, to me, a similar point: "The friend of your youth is the only friend you will ever have, for he does not really see you...and perhaps he never saw you. What he saw was simply part of the furniture of the wonderful opening world. Friendship was something he suddenly discovered and had to give away as a recognition of and payment for the breathlessly opening world which momently divulged itself like a moon flower. It didn’t matter a damn to whom he gave it, for the fact of giving was what mattered, and if you happened to be handy you were automatically endowed with all the appropriate attributes of a friend and forever after your reality is irrelevant.”

Wow, this quote is phenomenal


Thanks for sharing!


You forge friendship through common struggle

Great answer. I would just add: the bigger the struggle, the stronger the friendship. Military friendships are the extreme example of this. I've seen war comrades crying like children after decades without contact.


But if they don't talk for decades, are they really friends?


Absence makes the heart grow fonder.

Great friends don't need to talk constantly to remain close friends. For various reasons, I lost contact with my best childhood friend for a while. It was 10 years, but it felt like nothing, we instantly clicked again.


Once such a high level of trust is built up, not talking doesn't usually lower one's trust in a friendship.


You'd be surprised.


I think you're definitely right in your observations, it is so much easier to kids to make friends, because they're still so open and malleable, and not set in their ways yet.

>You form your first friendships really early on with an extremely strong commonality - the hugeness of the world and your lack of information about it. Literally everything is in common with your peers circa age 2-4 because nothing is established yet. If it weren't for how our society has a habit of breaking these kids up constantly throughout their childhoods I would think those relationships would form the most iron clad friendships you can get if they survive to adulthood. Too bad about 90% of the kids you meet in daycare you never see again after you start school.

This is exactly my experience as well. My best friend and I originally met before we can even remember, we must have been 3 or 4 years old. There are pictures of us running around in pajamas and bowler hats, play fighting with plastic pirate swords, stuff that I can't really remember now.

We actually didn't really get to see each other more than once or twice a year, because we lived so far apart, so I guess we bonded even more intensely for the couple of weeks we had every summer. We lost touch around the 6th or 7th grade, and didn't really see each other for 10 years or so, apart from sporadic chats on Facebook and such.

But we finally got back together in 2014, and it was almost as if no time had passed. We had burgers and a few beers, and talked for 6 hours straight. Completely separately from each other, we've both become huge metalheads, so now we go to concerts and festivals all the time, and he invited me to join his music quiz team. We're annual champions for three years running now, and the guys have become my closest friends.

They've also gotten me into pen'n'paper roleplaying games, and introduced me to further new friends through that.

It is definitely harder to make friends as you get older, you have to hit just the right shared interests to make it work.


I think this is pretty nail on the head. It also implies that the answer is to just be really open minded about what you like and don't like, and why the people you're meeting like x, y, or z, and you'll end up making a lot of friends you wouldn't have expected before.


I agree with your overall point, but wanted to point out that most marriages don't end in divorce—that's a myth. The highest rate was 41%, and it's been declining ever since.


I wonder, however, whether that's a positive improvement or reflects a reluctance to marry in the first place.

If two people living together for years split up without being married in the first place, it improves the divorce statistics but doesn't really change the underlying reality.


> Pokemon Go, and video games in general, are extremely effective ways to get people a commonality to force them together and interacting in ways that can build meaningful bonds

Isn't this also true when you join any group of people who sharing the same goal?

For example: A soccer or football team or gym? Or maybe a book club even.


I think it comes down to psychology more than anything, albeit I'm not a psychologist. Games are designed for immersion. When you play the best kinds of video games that can get you really invested in them most people can express the feelings of struggle, victory, and defeat they can project through their narratives and interactivity. So psychologically if you "save the world" or "catch / slay a monster" with complete engagement with others your brain can really impress that in your brain with that degree of impact. Personally I will never forget the first time my guild beat Ragnaros in World of Warcraft back in 2006, and I still keep in touch with a lot of the members of that guild despite substantial divergence of interests and lives since then because it was such a well articulated accomplishment at the time.

Sports and books respectively are missing an element of that formula. Sports aren't immersive. The obstacle is always just a game, for fun. Except when it isn't. There is a reason major sports professionals form lifelong bonds amongst each other while a volleyball club doesn't have as profound an impact. Your brain doesn't create a mountain of importance out of the sport.

For books, there is no common enemy to struggle and persevere against. You can get really immersed, but that makes the book memorable, not the people you talk about it with. In the same sense it is better than nothing and can produce friendship, but its not nearly as effective.

The trick is that none of it can be forced. You can't "make" yourself care, and nobody else can. It has to be a legitimate struggle with legitimate engagement and sense of comradery. Kids in school can feel that sense. Immersed gamers can feel it. If you are passionate about game development you can feel that with your codevs. But you need both pieces for the magical result.


This is realistic for the 'life narrative' ™, but I find it cynical and lacking in the free will department. If you want to make friends, truly, at any age, work at it and you'll figure it out!


Free will is an illusion. So is the idea that I'm going to just figure out my difficulty making friends.


I won't try to stop you from believing that. Be well!


I met a lot of acquaintances playing Tekken, so I can absolutely believe in the idea that a game would bring people together, even though Pokemon Go is not my thing at all.


I've also similarly made many friends through playing Tekken offline. I believe the local aspect of fighting games (as opposed to most online games nowadays), and the depth of its mechanics is very conducive to making a wide variety of close friends (old and young). I recommend people check out fighting games or games that require person to person contact to make more friends.


I'm absolutely convinced that there's a lot of babies that came about singularly because of Pokemon Go.


do you have a resource (blog, youtube video, etc) where one can get a quick overview of Pokemon Go? When I played it there was not much you could do, so I dropped it completely. I may still have the app installed though.


I'll list some sites below. Though the new main focus of the game is "raids". When you open the game you'll encounter gyms at various locations. 2-3 times a day a gym will have a Raid Boss (you'll know a Raid Boss when you see it, because you have to use a raid pass to fight it - you get 1 pass a day, though you can get more by using coins, which you get by taking and staying in gyms, or by paying for them). The boss will be rated from 1 to 5 stars (1 being easy - a single player can take it down; 5 being the hardest, requiring several players, though defeating a level 5 Raid will earn you the possibility of catching a legendary Pokemon).

The hardest part of the game is getting enough players to take down a high level boss, which is why people have taken to joining chats to coordinate raids. Though this may be different for highly populated areas, and it's still possible to just randomly show up at a raid and find people waiting for it to start.

* https://pokemongo.gamepress.gg/

* https://rankedboost.com/pokemon-go/

* https://thesilphroad.com/

* https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCrtyNMe3xtv3CLg5QR78HzQ/vid... - Best youtube channel I've encountered, though it's done in vlog style, so it's probably quicker to get information from the sites above.


I'm 42, and I wish someone told me in my 20's it would be harder to make new friends as I got older. I would have done things differently. I would have put more effort into making friends then.

I am able to make new friends, but they end up being more like acquaintances most of the time. Currently I am in grad school, and that's working out well for me. There's something about the shared camaraderie and shared suffering from the workload that builds real friendships.


I'm 22, and I think I have one or two capital-t true friends. I do have so-called friends, but they are at their respective colleges and are doing their own thing, and we do hang out when they are back in town, but then again, I don't consider them capital-t true friends (though I would in earlier years). After graduating high school in 2014 till now, I have spent a great deal of time alone (I argue it is partly because I attended a community college, I still do). While I don't want to be 42 and think I wish "I would have put more into making friends then", I don't think I will (or maybe I will). The aloneness I have had all these years has been so important to my inner self, where all things stem from, that I can't say I would have had it otherwise.

I suppose that's why I tend to gift Rilke's Letters to a Young Poet to friends, i.e. "But your solitude will be a hold and home for you even amid very unfamiliar conditions and from there you will find all your ways." Or maybe that's why I admire Tarkovsky, i.e. "I don’t know… I think I’d like to say only that they should learn to be alone and try to spend as much time as possible by themselves. I think one of the faults of young people today is that they try to come together around events that are noisy, almost aggressive at times. This desire to be together in order to not feel alone is an unfortunate symptom, in my opinion. Every person needs to learn from childhood how to spend time with oneself. That doesn’t mean he should be lonely, but that he shouldn’t grow bored with himself because people who grow bored in their own company seem to me in danger, from a self-esteem point of view."

Though sometimes I think about what side is greener, I suppose it's a matter of perspective.


I hate to give advice about this specific matter, but I kinda had the same experience as you and feel like I should share my experience. I'm 28 and I still value my alone time and solitude very very much. But I also have a group of friends and date a lot which keeps me engaged socially as well and I like having both worlds. What I would suggest is to value solitude and alone time but also be open to opportunities to hang out with other people. If I have to make a choice between going to someones birthday party and playing on the PlayStation, I've learned to choose the former, even if I may not know the person all that much.


if you went to traditional university instead of community college, then you would most likely fee different.

Community College typically don't have dorms and high participate in student orgs.


I met most of my current friends in my 30s. I think it's possible, you just have to prioritize it and put yourself out there in situations where you'll encounter the same people over and over again and can grow something over time because of it. Either sports, or games (board games has been pretty darn effective for me), or exercise (like going on hikes together), or volunteer work, or something.

Like you said, grad school has been useful because you're all going through the same situation and spending repeated time with each other.

For me, it was picking a handful of Meetup.com groups that interested me and going to meetups over and over and over again, until I became one of the regulars that knew pretty much everyone and they knew me. And then we started inviting each other to private events, and friendships grew from there.


fully agree. you need regular encounters. at least 7 i read somewhere, and this is only possible in the context of a regular hobby/class.

so it may be less about being 30+ and more about not having regular activities which bring you in contact with the same people over and over again.


I also met most of my friends in my late 20s and early 30s, after moving across the country multiple times when I was younger, severing friendships in the process.

What really helped me was getting into a bunch of hobbies and putting myself out there, starting kickboxing and crossfit, volunteering at a local historic motor race, going to concerts and festivals, music quizzes. Just a bunch of stuff that interestes me, and presumably interest people with a similar mindset as mine.


> I'm 42

> Currently I am in grad school

A post about being in grad school at 42 would be something I'd read.


Really? Interesting. I can do that. How would be the best way to go about that on HN? I'm new here and haven't seen any posts like that. Just start a thread with some info and answer questions?


I'd read it.


Very well. I'll do that this weekend when I have more time to read and reply. Should be an interesting discussion, especially since I left a career in finance to go to grad school to do something totally different. It is a big move but I've never been happier.



Can't wait to read it!


I though the same!


Indeed - you just proved it! :-P


This. I realized too late that student life (college, university) is not about studying but for making life-long friends, building the base for your network.


Not really.

As I have grown older I realised that my university friends were mainly a bunch of snobby middle class boring people. They had a careers, while I explored life a fair bit more (and still manage to have a career after taking a few years out).

The guys who I have met through kayaking - an activity where we have quite literally saved each others lives on occasion - are far more interesting and fun and more real friendships.


How did you get in with your kayaking group?


I started at a club before university.

I was involved with the university club for a while, until my level was beyond wanting to help teach beginners and push my own limits somewhat harder.

Travelled and worked as a rafting guide after university, and I quite literally have kayaking friends all over the world now.


Happily the grad program I am in now is great for building a network of friends. Not only with the current students but the alumni as well.


Bonding over struggles is huge.


There's definitely something to this.

What other struggles are there that we can take on to facilitate bonding?

It occurs to me that raising children is a struggle and can help someone bond with their spouse. That doesn't help single people (like me) though. Work can be a struggle, but not always a positive one, and switching jobs can end it. I imagine firefighters and EMT workers face a deeper struggle than corporate jobs and form deeper friendships.


Don't read too much into the struggle thing.

I made tons of friends in my 20s and early 30s. Many of them moved away to other cities with time, so I have fewer friends now, but that's also partly due to being in a long term relationship, so I have less time, and I'm still friends with some of the people I became friends with in my 20s, and between work, relationship, life and those other friends there isn't much time left for anything else. That's without kids in the mix!

However none of the friends I made in my 20s were friends borne of a shared struggle. Most of them were people I met through going to social events specifically organised for people to meet each other. The city I moved to had a lot of transient worker types moving through them so there were lots of events organised by and for expats (perhaps I should call us migrants, as that's what we were). People would turn up to a bar and know nothing about anyone except that we all wanted to make friends, and maybe even hook up. Everyone arrived alone and was trying to make new friends all the time, so if you got a few friends that way, they'd also have a few friends, and everyone would start going to similar events so you'd see each other a lot, and that branched out into events organised just in our groups - mostly very simple events like "let's all meet in the park and drink and barbecue today". It was all quite straightforward and struggle-free. As people came and went I found myself going round that loop several times in my 20s, developing new groups of friends as old ones slowly dissipated.

The only slightly tough part of it was learning how to be sociable with total strangers. Most people are a bit shy and it's not really natural to make fun conversation with someone you just met and know nothing about, but it's like anything, it comes with practice.

I wouldn't describe most work as a struggle. There has to be some higher purpose than just getting through the day. Startup life can achieve that in some way, if you're a very early employee or founder as that way the hard decisions and unexpected events are shared in your group. I'm like that right now - not a founder but a senior executive at a startup firm, and I'm lucky enough to be (by coincidence) working with someone who was in the same class as me at university, someone who I had stayed friends with throughout our 20s. And yeah, building a company is tough work, it's definitely a struggle that I feel enhances our friendship, certainly we see a lot more of each other these days!


>none of the friends I made in my 20s were friends borne of a shared struggle. [...] The city I moved to had a lot of transient worker types moving through them so there were lots of events organised by and for expats (perhaps I should call us migrants, as that's what we were). People would turn up to a bar and know nothing about anyone except that we all wanted to make friends, and maybe even hook up.

I think this is, in its own way, a kind of shared struggle: meeting with groups of expats provided you with a group that you could bond with over the shared experiences and modern "hardships" of adapting to life in a new city.


That's just a shared experience, not a struggle.


>What other struggles are there that we can take on to facilitate bonding?

I've found that competitive gaming has been pretty good for this, with the stipulation that it mainly applies to 1v1 games which are usually played at live events (such as fighting games like Street Fighter and Super Smash Bros Melee, or card games like Magic: The Gathering), rather than games which tend to have more of an online presence (MOBAs like League of Legends and digital card games like Hearthstone are less good for this). Pretty much any game that has an active local scene will have at least one local business (usually a game store or an arcade) that runs weekly events for a nominal entry fee.

The immediate benefit to playing a competitive game that has an active local scene is that you'll find yourself in the same space and spending time with the same group of people for several hours at a time on a weekly basis, so at the very least you'll become acquainted with most of the locals. Attend enough of these weekly events and it's usually pretty easy to get plugged in with people who run smaller, less-official events on the other days of the week. One of the things I like about Magic: The Gathering is that I can move to any major city, go to a Friday Night Magic event, and quickly get plugged into a local network of people who share my interests.

If you ever take your game beyond the local level, then you'll also probably end up forming more social connections with people in the local scene, as traveling to events becomes much more economical when you do it with a group of people to split the cost of hotel room and gas. When you travel to an event with a group, you end up spending a lot of time with the same group of 3-4 people over a period of a weekend, which can be a great bonding experience. There's also the fact that traveling to events like this has the effect of making you feel like you're competing together as a "team," even if you're all competing individually; it's fun to root for people from your own city, and it's these sorts of experiences that really offer the kind of "struggle" that I think is good for facilitating bonding. Part of the benefit of traveling to an event as a group is having people to commiserate with after you get knocked out of the tournament.

The "commiserate with and/or root for people I recognize from my own city" can also apply to people you didn't travel with, and in fact having serendipitous encounters with people you know but didn't travel with can also be a great bonding experience. When you drive four hours to an event and then see someone you recognize from home, it can make for a great, "Hey, good to see us!" moment, and even if it's not someone you know really well, you always have "so how's your tournament run going?" as an icebreaker. These moments can often end in making dinner plans where you get all of the dozen or so people from your home city to meet up at a bar or diner, and a lot of the most memorable experiences I have from competitive gaming come from those late-night dinners.

I've found that any hobby that offers "casual regular events on a weekly basis, plus occasional group trips for the people who take it more seriously" is a great recipe for bonding; I played competitive Pokemon for several years despite not enjoying the game particularly simply because of the great social experiences that I had with playing it. I have friends who are into cosplay and anime conventions who have had analogous experiences. Competitive gaming is the main one that I engage in that I consider "strictly recreational," but I've also had some similar experiences with the local game dev scene and with local writing groups, which are adjacent to my professional life. Some of my favorite experiences in game development have come from going to a big event like PAX and just having friends (both from internet and from back home) stop by my booth to chat. There's just something great about traveling across the country to an unfamiliar city and seeing a familiar face that I find really special, and events like these can also be a great chance to turn "internet friends" into "real friends."


> I've found that any hobby that offers "casual regular events on a weekly basis, plus occasional group trips for the people who take it more seriously" is a great recipe for bonding

I used to be active in a ski club that would plan weekly trips to mountains. Made a lot of friends through that. I need to find another organization like that.


Fraternity hazing was originally and still is intended to do this (though it is sometimes taken out of hand), force bonding in an expedited process through shared misery. A lot of the tools were derived from boot-camp and military training, where I believe there is some of that intention, as well.


Have made an effort to add new friendships, the effort is a conclusive prerequisite to strong, valuable ones. Emails in profile, if you drop me a line I'm happy to invest 30 mins/week toward shared camaraderie w an internet stranger ;-)


It's not scalable. How many camaraderie from Internet will you serve?


As a gay man who is almost 30, I think making friends is relatively easy for gay people thanks to dating apps. Perhaps, you cannot same gender friends in Tinder (if I'm wrong, please correct me), but a lot of gay people are using dating apps not only to find relationships but also to find friends.

I also think social isolation around gay people makes friendship among gay people special. I don't know much about Western countries like U.S., but here in Tokyo, most of the gay are still in the closet. They have to pretend to be straight outside gay communities. It is really stressful. They cannot talk much about their lovers or their gay friends. A lot of gay people around me say drinking with straight people is just boring because of those reasons. That drives us to make gay friends.

It is quite anecdotal, but I didn't have single friends a year ago, and now I've got 4, 5 close gay friends since I started using a dating app. I am actually very satisfied with my current life.


Also gay, I think it is much more to do with our "delayed adolescence" and childless-ness. Or at least in the US that's what I see. The older I get, the more blessed I feel to be gay. I can move to any medium to large sized city tomorrow and probably find tons of guys in my age range that are looking for friends and shared-activity partners.

I have many child-free gay friends in their late 30's-50's and their social lives are often 5x those of their straight counterparts.


Off topic, but I'm freshly out of the closest and terrified of the future of my social life without the typical social framework I observe in older couples. Really heartening to know you feel this way.


What are those of us gays who don't have the ability to move to a medium to large city tomorrow to do? (I am not trying to be contrarian, but am genuinely curious.)


All of your comments appear to be dead/flagged and I don't know why.


[flagged]


We've banned this account for breaking the site guidelines. If you don't want to be banned, you're welcome to email hn@ycombinator.com and give us reason to believe that you'll follow the rules in the future.

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Good stuff


We've had similar experiences in the swinging lifestyle (not to compare the two in any way, it just seemed like a good place to add our experience). We moved to a new area 2500 miles away, tried our best to make friends, had kids a few years later, tried again to make new friends with other parents (had a few successes), and then later on got into swinging.

WOW. You will never find a friendlier bunch of people who are always looking for new friends, even when there isn't attraction present (a common mistake in the vanilla world is that lifestylers have sex with anything that moves). It is the most welcoming community we've ever been a part of.


As a straight man, I did that with Tinder and made a number of friends, but they were always women. I never had any luck with guys I met on Tinder, not really sure why.


Ahhh ... Just want to ask, does that feel awkward trying to meet a new buddy on app such like Tinder ...?

I mean, if I have a Tinder profile, I will expecting people who tapped me are all womans. So when I found out it's actually a guy, I will be surprised and feel wired.


May I ask how you meet guys on Tinder if you're straight? Is there a friends feature?


There isn't actually a friends feature, but there are enough like-minded men (or it seems like there are) that are straight but want to meet other guys, so you can just have "looking for men or women" enabled.

I do have a friend that swears by couchsurfing.com[1] for finding new friends, but I personally haven't tried it.

1: https://www.couchsurfing.com/


I find this interesting. Here in the US, the gay social apps, still tend to be more focused on hooking up(in my experience). I have been using some of these apps since the beginning of college, and am now in my late 20's, and haven't developed a single friendship that was of any real quality.

Granted, I am sure some of that has more to do with myself and my personality, but any time I meet someone from "the apps", there's always some sexual tension, even if we establish beforehand that we're not looking for sex. It's an odd dynamic which I've tried to breakdown before meeting by adamantly establishing that I'm just looking for friends. Maybe it's where I live, maybe it's the kind of people I end up meeting, or maybe it's me. I know it's partially me because I am in a very different place in my life at my age than most people I know or have meet through these apps. But I sure do wish it was easier to make friend's via the gay social apps.

What app are you using in Tokyo?


> you cannot same gender friends in Tinder (if I'm wrong, please correct me)

You're right about Tinder, but Bumble has the "bff" thing.

I went on it for a while as a straight dude, and everyone I matched with was a gay guy. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯


I think you can make good friends at any age, but you need the right environment for that. When you're young you spend a lot of time with the same people, like in school, which is the environment you need to build a close friendship. When you're older you tend to meet a lot of new people, but you don't have many opportunities to spend a lot of time together. Except at work, which is why many people make close friends at work, but it's not the best environment since people don't like to mix their private and professional life together.


I agree entirely. Friendship requires repetition. When you are older, your time gets spread across more activities, leaving less opportunity for repetitive time spent together.

I'll add that the workplace can be problematic for friendship as there is extra room for undue hostility. If someone makes a mistake, for instance, that mistake may fall directly on your shoulders and friendships predicated on that type of situation usually do not end well. People do not want to feel like they are being taken advantage of in friendship.

Compare that with a scholastic environment and mistakes generally only affect the one who made it (or perhaps faculty, who students usually do not befriend), thereby not affecting friendships. If your own grades were dependent entirely on your friends' performance in school, you just might not be able to maintain those friendships quite so well.


I know that most people agree with you but strangely I consider the workplace a good place to make friends and get to know people. You are testing them all the time and you are able to see how they react in stressful situations. If someone is not compatible you'll know it within a short time.


Add to that heterogeneity that not everyone will have the same openness to friendship at the same time as another. Maybe you pulled an all nighter the night before going to your weekly Saturday spin class. You probably won’t feel social, but the people around you might.


Some of my oldest, closest friends today are people I worked with at a startup in the ‘90’s. But I always keep my current workplace and social life distinct.


I’ve had the most success with active groups that are organized around sports, hobbies, or volunteering. It’s much easier than looking for a bestie who has everything in common with you, or a group that just hangs about chatting. Having a topic that everyone in the group is focused on is easier for introverted me.


Regular, serindipitous interactions with people with whom you share an interest is a great facilitator. Basically, "a place of congregation" for your activity


The base ingredients for making friends seem to be the same as for committing crime: motive and opportunity. Both motive and opportunity decrease as you get older.


I have tried to make guy friends and the main problem seems to be that they're boring. We just run out of stuff to talk about unless we have some business related stuff to talk about. I prefer lady friends ( AS IN FRIENDS WHO ARE FEMALE WHO I DO NOT HAVE A SEXUAL OR WORK RELATION WITH AND WHO I AM NOT TRYING TO DATE ) as there's always the flirty subtext to play around with and they are just pleasant to be around and they probably think I'm trying to date them, even though I'm not. I just find them pleasant to be around and to talk about trivial day to day stuff with.

Maybe I'm really strange here, but do guys even have lady friends who are not their relatives, who are not their co-workers, and who they are not trying to date?

Edit: Downvotes? Is there something controversial about being friends with women to just have enjoyable conversation and platonic interaction without some sort of ulterior motive?


I'm not a downvoter but I think your very first premise is really flawed. A blanket statement saying men (or at least the ones you meet) are boring is kind of not recognizing the massive diversity of people. But it sort of gets clearer when you say next that you like the flirty subtext of talking with women, and then that starts sounding a bit creepy, especially when you are adding in the over emphasized insisitence its not about dating/sex.

I find it harder to make friends with males because it's often hard to find a good connection. I'm 47. But I have made good friends with other males once we find a groove (often based around humour)

I've often been surprised about the things other males think about once they open up. Initially some males can seem quite one dimensional.


My spouse is similar - he finds women easier to be friends with. I'm the opposite - I tend to get along better with men than women. (We are an opposite-gendered couple, btw). To answer your last question: Yes, for some reason there is something controversial about men and women being just friends and I wish folks would stop worrying about it.

I got a lot of crap when I was younger because of my friend choices. Teenage years? My parents wouldn't trust my friends. Didn't like me hanging out with them. Folks assumed I was having sex with this group of guys, which was really weird as I didn't generally date within our core group. In many areas, it simply isn't socially acceptable. Yet it is completely socially acceptable to be somewhat possessive of your romantic interest, up to and including forbidding them to have opposite-gendered friends. For men stuck in a "macho" society, it can signal that they might be gay and made fun of for it (and I don't actually understand why). It sucks, and I'm quite happy my spouse isn't one of those people.


I’m actually pretty scared of working with women. To give context I’m about to retire from the USMC. I was also in infantry so I was never exposed to working with the opposite sex. I think I will have to change almost everything about how I interact with people when I retire because I don’t think anyone can or will understand the darker humor that the infantry has.


Not strange at all. I’d really like to have more friends who are women, but social norms make that hard to do. Most women I hang out with are my wife’s friends or friends’ wives/girlfriends, but I feel like getting any closer than an acquaintance is culturally taboo.


Not to mention that the wife might have concerns.


A lot of guys are boring, especially for people who have studied and focused in their specialties for years and years. You have to find common ground, and that can become increasingly difficult unless your friends share parts of your core interests.

I work pretty hard to maintain some normal interests, enough that I can chat with pretty much anyone. I do find deeper relationships difficult though, as there are fewer people who share my real interests in my area (or even in my cohort of long term friends). Finding those people is difficult.


That's a fine way to live, but OP is about life after 30, when most people tend to pair off into marriages and flirty is more frowned upon.


Dunno, I am women and always had both male and female friends. Except the flirty part, but we have other pointless joking things.

Long term relationship is easier when you can talk about trivial day to day stuff, because is not enough serious stuff to talk about normally - after a while you just said it all.


I happen to be very much like you (except I'm a cis woman, and my friends are usually not cis women), but my impression is that people like us are the exception, not the norm.


Would it be fair to say you need to be titillated to give a shit?


Being a hetrosexual male, being titillated by women is not really a choice I have a lot of control over. I do have control over my behavior and what I do and say. I actually find extremely attractive women somewhat difficult to have relationships with as sometimes it's difficult to look at them without cracking a suspiciously wide grin.


You said you get bored without a flirty subtext. That's what I was referring to.


I agree, we guys are quite boring and run out of stuff to talk about! And we interrupt each other, try to add our 2 cents all the time, dominating conversations. Women actually listens and are polite, and that enables deeper and more meaningful conversation. Much more pleasant to be friends with.


In the past month three men, (one 45ish, another 55ish, another 74) two of whom I was barely acquainted with, have poured their souls out to me over their relationship and business troubles. I'd argue that it isn't hard to make friends, it's just hard to meet people in the first place. Men in particular get into a habit of focusing on business and family. More than once I've heard older men voice a complaint if their wives weren't the ones to build social relationships, as they expected them to fulfill that role. Below 30, people have more opportunities -- school, sports, activities -- through which they simple meet more people. Above 30, the number of opportunities to meet other people declines unless one makes a concerted effort to seek out their tribe.


"it's just hard to meet people in the first place"

If it's hard, it's usually a psychological difficulty rather than a lack of opportunity.

Unless you live somewhere exceptionally remote, you're usually surrounded by people and opportunities for meeting them are quite frequent. You could strike up conversations most anywhere: from streets to bus stops to parks to bars to dance and social clubs to special interest groups, work, cafes, parties, conferences, and so on.

Usually, though, most people don't make the effort, for a variety of reasons ranging from fear to awkwardness and lack of social skills.

Once you meet people, though, you have to go further and cultivate acquaintances in to friends, and lots of people fail to do that as well. Even after a friend is made, however, it's still a challenge to get closer and then to maintain the friendship, which again people often fail to do.


I don't think "striking up conversations from anywhere" is the way to go to find long-term friendship. Friendships work best when the lives of both parties (assuming over 30 years old) are in sync: this can be either similar situations, or common life threads to talk about. Outside that, the energy required to maintain friendship goes up dramatically.

For people over 30+ some common threads are same-aged children, similar pets, common hobbies, etc. It's just easier, and let's assume that my life is busy enough that I don't have the energy to work in new relationships that don't have a certain flow to it. It's not about fear or lack of social skills, because at some point we are ALL going to be awkward in a conversation and this is easily forgiven, especially since by the time we hit 30+ we are a bit more patient.

Personally, I've found that creating a small group is the best way to find new friends and the energy to cultivate it is spread out amongst the group. Inviting new people into the common circle is MUCH easier. It's easier to keep interesting conversation with 3 people than 2. But with more people comes the problems of scheduling and opportunities become slimmer.

Similar-minded people looking for friendship is easier than doing it alone.


How do you find out if you're "in sync" with someone? Conversations. How do you start that common circle, how do you pick people to invite to it? Fresh blood requires that someone talk to the strangers. And "anywhere" you've got at least one thread in common: You're in the same place, at the same time, for some reason. Often similar reasons.

Now sure, not every conversation with a stranger will turn into a life long connection between soulmates. Some of them you'll never talk to again. And sure, sharing the work between a circle of like-minded friends can help once you've gotten that like-minded circle of friends established.

But I have to say - some my best friendships have formed when a relative stranger struck up a conversation with me over a game. Or a job. Or a shared technical interest. Or, yes, by just being in the same damn place at the same damn time.


Just out of curiosity, how many new people would you say you talk to on a regular day, and how many of them become friends?

I'm probably just picky, because I can't imagine making a single friend over a year using that scattershot approach.


As I noted later in my comment "unless one makes a concerted effort to seek out their tribe," which agrees with your point. That stated, this being a technical forum, many of us are Myers-Briggs (if you believe in it) INTJ types -- so yes, we do potentially lack the social skills. Moreover, I reflect upon my own adulthood, where for much of it I have risen before dawn to work, skipped lunches, returned home somewhere in the evenings, by and large have been unable to take vacations, and find my weekends and downtime dedicated to family activities. I don't believe this to be outside the norm, and in fact I'd say in the details, that I have it better than most. So I stand by my assertion that while it is possible to meet plenty of people, most of us adult types are constrained by expectations and obligations, leaving us by and large, lonely and aloof.

I actually do live in a fairly remote place, pmoriarty, but your comment has me reflecting on culture. Seattle, where I regularly visit, is known for the "Seattle Freeze," whereby people are insular and guarded. I spent a lot of years there in the tech world and have no relationships to show from it; just business. Perhaps you are in a locale where the culture is more open and welcoming, where people are more willing to engage in conversations with strangers?


I moved to Seattle from the east coast about a year ago. I'm heading back because I don't fit in here. It's me, not the city.

I spent a lot of time working remotely. Bouncing up and down the northeastern corridor. I found a way to get acclimated to a city rather quickly. Find your tribe, friend the service staff, and it generally grows from there. Make yourself that you're a regular, and a good person.

I'm not an outdoorsy person, I'm not a "chill" person. What I enjoy wasn't common fare. That's not meant as a knock. The closest I found here, was the LGBTQ community. But there was a bit of trepidation with me being a software developer, i.e. causing problems for the city.

There is the Seattle freeze. But it's also we're busy and there is not that much in common. It's important to try and not be negative. Blaming the city is not beneficial. Maybe the city just isn't right for you. What do you want from your city, where you live?

I will say I did find it's more insular. My usual fare of trying to join a conversation at a bar didn't work. Saying hi, was not well received. I also think I had a cloud of negativity, from heavy job dissatisfaction that limited a positive response. My few friends here. Were gained from bartenders a bouncer, and someone I met at a mixer.

One other thing I'd note. Is I try and perform outside of work, event hosting, dj'ing, etc. I tried talking to promoters but got stood up a lot. Make an appointment to meet up and no show.


"for much of it I have risen before dawn to work, skipped lunches, returned home somewhere in the evenings, by and large have been unable to take vacations"

This is certainly nowhere close to the norm in europe. I only know a couple of people who work more than 40 hours a week (37.5 is standard in the UK), and they definitely take vacations.


Completely true, take everything I said and reverse it for Europe. But I'm referring to life in These United States, where we don't have health care, we don't have vacation, we don't have maternity leave, we have very little public transportation... ok, I'll just stop before I get out of control.


We have all of those things. We just have less of a "my neighbors should pay for it" viewpoint.


It's actually the exact opposite. You have more of a "my neighbors should pay for it" view. That's why you object to paying taxes so much. You want all the benefits of living in an advanced society, but you want someone else to pay for it.

This is simply observed by noting that most people, in both countries, actually work and pay taxes. Therefore, in Europe, most people are paying for both their own services and for those of people who can't afford it. That's an attitude of "I'll pay for my neighbor" not "my neighbor should pay".


Yes in the strictest sense of the word "we" have it. If my neighbor can't pay for it and everyone else refuses to pay for it, my neighbor doesn't have it. If my neighbors have health insurance but can't afford the copay so they have to let smaller problems become life threatening, they effectively don't have it.

It's like you are celebrating a system that didn't take much out of you to give seriously dehydrated people water while conveniently neglecting the result that giving them a bottle of water either made them destitute or prolonged their lives by a small amount. You also conveniently neglect that many first world nations manage to have universal healthcare and spend less per person than us. I will say this though, if you are rich there are very few better places to be for healthcare than America. Hoorah, what a great system; what a great quality of life for everyone!


It's not entirely clear that American healthcare is much better, even if you can afford it, unless you're talking about, like, stratospheric levels of wealth.


Confusing then that the US government pays more per capita for healthcare than the UK.


I'm assuming most readers are in an American context where, unfortunately, I don't think what he's describing is that unheard of.


Frankly, I am also by nature an introverted and guarded person, but I have found my life really enriched by consciously working past that to talk to people.


I live in Seattle, and I’d say that your crazy lifestyle is why you didn’t make friends here - and that it’s probably the same cause for most people who complain about the Seattle Freeze. You worked all day and hung out with family all weekend and an amazing friendship didn’t climb down your chimney? How baffling, must be the city culture to blame. (I moved here for work out of college, and made plenty of friends - by socializing in the evenings).


I've lived in six different US States (in the South, East, Northeast, Midwest, Southwest, and Northwest) and Washington State definitely stands out as having the largest proportion of socially inept people. The general pattern seems to be that they don't know how to make polite casual conversation with strangers and are either just rude or completely overshare.


Some of us end up oversharing, because we have not run into people who can have a conversation in years, and are feeling deprived. ;-)


true, I hadn't thought of that


I'm an introvert and am an NF type, and I'd generally agree with you. It's not the city, it's how you approach it. If you don't have friends find something to do and they will come. But you have to have the courage to make the first move. If you don't, who will?


I agree with your sarcasm, particularly as it pertains to Seattle. However, my vibe of Vancouver is different. Having lived in Vancouver and visited Seattle many times for concerts and so on, I can say that Vancouver maintains a sort of freeze even with a well above average intent to expand socially. I think because such a large percentage of people (out of necessity or not) meat some of the criteria in the parent comment, it's hard to strengthen. Getting anyone (except in certain niches) out to do something is like trying to pass pro-choice laws. When you do get it to happen, they'll bail (colloquially called the BC bail) at the last second.


^This! Seattle is overflowing with welcoming spirits like newfoundglory. It's your friendless, self-deserving, crazy lifestyle that's the problem. Got your own opinion? You can GTFO! /s

Disclaimer: My two Seattle visits were both welcoming and pleasant, and I've never met newfoundglory. Had I, I likely would have found them to be quite friendly.


INTP/J here. I’ve found most strong friendships created over over past decade we’re with very, very similar Myers-Briggs types.

Wanna be friends?


Also INTP/J. Up for it. How does one connect on HN?


myer briggs is basically meaningless


Yup, it's just modern astrology. A bunch of stuff that is mostly kinda true about almost everybody or things that people want to believe about themselves. A lot of it is honestly just ego stroking. "You're usually not a risk taker, except when it's important." It's embarrassing how many people fall for it.


I don't know about that. You just shouldn't strap more meaning onto it than that it's a survey that gives you a qualitative description of the answers you gave to it -- people have some innate attraction to such things and I find it hard to criticize them for it. I just don't think it's appropriate to use for career counseling, etc.


Educational Testing Service got interested in it long ago and then dumped it. The National Academy of Sciences did a huge project on improving human performance for the US military back in the 1980's, and they put it in the not useful category. What would you expect for an assessment developed by a team of two with no background in assessment?

I would extend your evaluation to say that it is not appropriate for use on others, but if you think that it helps you assess yourself, knock yourself out.


@mathperson - pureGuano covers my view of it too, which is why I added that caveat to my message. It's certainly indicative of personality, but not all encompassing. It's pseudo-science, but interesting and a starting place to understand someone.


You can't even consistently get the same results for the same person.


that applies to a lot of medical tests as well


How many of those purport to measure innate characteristics of the subject?


I'm well aware.


I think mathperson is referring to the fact that 'big 5' is the new personality type test that psychology researchers seem to take more seriously.

My understanding is that it's a lot more, I forget the word. reliable or repeatable? I mean, two different big5 tests are more likely to give you the same answer than two different MBTI tests.


I'm actually not familiar with this exam-I'll look into it!


Meh, it's a lens. The older I get, the more I appreciate different lenses and how subjective everything ultimately is. A lot of STEM-types chafe at this, and cling to empiricism as a bedrock in the tumult of human experience, but at the end of the day whether an idea has value to me is entirely orthogonal to its scientific basis or lack thereof.


You know, if you are going to assert something contrary to common belief, you really should include some arguments. Until you do, I am going to simply assume you're mistaken.


This jumps out at me on airplanes. You used to strike up conversations with the people next to you, unless they were sleeping or obviously working on something. Now they're wearing headphones, and it feels intrusive to talk to them.


Being crammed shoulder-to-shoulder with strangers in a capsule is stressful for most people. Some deal with the stress by chit-chattering with others to distract themselves. Others just want to escape into their own heads and block out the uncomfortable surroundings.

I don't think much has changed, except now more people use headphones and cell phones to signal that they're in the latter group. Previously they would have nodded and said "mm-hmm, oh wow" a lot.


Single serving friends


One cup friends.


I live in Seattle and everyone else on my daily commute is immersed in their smartphone, tablet, or laptop.


This is my experience as well. People in Seattle even when not on devices are very anti-social. When I was in the midwest, random people invited me to BBQ's and social events all the time.


This is known as the Seattle Freeze: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seattle_Freeze


Seattle is insanely difficult to interact with people and make friends. My take if you're curious: http://qr.ae/TbSyBG


Seattle is the home of a deep insularity.


Isn't it the same for any large city?


It might be but I won't make general claims based on a single sample.


Same for NYC, and SF.


So I go up to the pharmacist. He's an older gent about my dad's age. We know each other since I pick up my script for sleep issues every month.

"How you doing today?"

"Oh, you know how it is." He gives me a weak smile. I can tell he feels worn down from the daily grind.

I pick up my script, then think of a way to keep chatting.

"Hey, this is going to sound weird, but I also have <foo> medical condition. Do you have any advice on getting that treated?"

I have no idea why this made sense to me, but it was something like "Pharmacists fill scripts, and they also see prescriptions daily, so they know which illnesses are treated by which medicines, so therefore this is totally not a weird thing to do."

He gives me this super surprised look and stays mostly quiet. I say "I should see a doctor huh?" and he says yeah. I walk away feeling like a dummy.

I didn't mind at all, and I'm not afraid to try to make new friends. But now instead of this random person thinking of me as a neighbor (he always called me by name) I'm pretty sure he thinks I'm weird. And I am.

The point is, I don't really care about being weird. I don't think I'm alone in this. But I stay quiet because it damages social relationships to express myself in odd ways. It's better to be on a cordial first-name basis than have an arms-length-but-personal experience with them.

The opportunities you mention for meeting people are really not as frequent as you make it seem. And it's unclear what to say to force a conversation. Yes, some people have this skill. Some are also naturally good looking. But seeing as this is Hacker News, I think the audience might be closer to my side of things.

The reason I wrote this was that you mention there are all these opportunities. But going over in my mind, I can't see a single way to talk to that guy that isn't socially weird. He's at work. He just wants to get his job done and move on to the next customer. I don't know anything that could make him laugh. Asking about his day or asking him to tell me what it's like to be a pharmacist would be seen as yet another frustrating thing to deal with at work. And there are other people in line behind me, so this is an imposition on everyone else.

But those people are opportunities too, right? I could just turn around and start chatting them up. Except not really. It's the same for everyone else in life: We're all busy, all dealing with our own things. And the older you are the busier you get.

All of this is to say, you can live in one of the biggest cities in the country and still feel completely isolated and alone. I know. And maybe this comment will put it into context that it's not really their fault. It's just the shape of the situation.

I usually hack on my projects at the mall on a couch, and end up meeting quite a lot of people. But only if they happen to be hacking away on something too, and eventually I ask them about it. But that seems rather an uncommon situation. So I'm wondering "Outside of work and family, where would other hackers have excuses to meet people in daily life?"

Even now, the smart thing is to stay quiet and not post this. You're told to stay quiet in a thousand ways by the society around you.


I'm self-employed and I have a rented desk at the local WeWork coworking space. I go there when I feel like getting out of the house to get some work done.

Using the coworking space is a surprisingly good way to meet people. Obviously the guy locked in an office, headphones on, hammering out code should be left alone -- but there will be many people sitting in the common areas, chatting with their buddies. They might be drinking the free beer on tap. They probably have a startup, open source project, etc. that they're passionate about and would be happy to tell you about.


I co-own/run a co-working space and always enjoy opportunities to talk with the others here about our work and life outside of work. I've been in a shared/open office my entire working life and many of my friends have come through these environments.

I think consistently seeing each other daily for whatever period gives you a good chance to find common interests, incorporate social outings, etc.


attempting to start a friendship (or more) with someone who is serving you is one of the more risky avenues. if you're both on the same page, it can be totally fine and work out. unfortunately, most of the time you are just another customer to them and you just put them in a situation where they have to figure out how to gracefully decline while still doing the deferential customer service dance.


They are also busy working, and are probably not in frame of mind for chit-chat.


It doesn't sound especially weird to me, I'm sure a lot of people ask pharmacists such things to avoid seeing a doctor. I've done it myself. Pharmacist advice is even a thing I've seen advertised. It's possible these things are just different where I am.

In any case, I don't see that asking a pharmacist about a medical-related topic would be interpreted as a friend request.


Great post. So many things you wrote are so correct about human interaction in a city.

The point is that you are actually meeting the pharmacist. You're there every week. That's an opportunity.

Say you wanted to talk to him more, I would not be trying to act like more of a customer by talking about medical conditions, I would be talking about things he might be interested in, or mention something else that I'm interested in, or something that anybody might be interested in (weather/current news/sporting event), or something related to the current situation. Or even just throw something out there - "you look like you might know about <certain thing>, my mom has one and was just asking me about it". Even if you're wrong they'll be interested in why you might think that about them which can move onto other subjects. "You remind me of <such-and-such person>". "Hey, you remind me of my dad, what's a good present to get someone like you?". Use your imagination and you can come up with a million of these.

You could even just volunteer something about your life. "Nice day today, I'm in a good mood because I'm going on a trip away soon". If he's interested in talking he'll continue. Most people who are working boring jobs will want to chat with a customer that isn't annoying.

I think it depends on what you want to happen in the end. Do you want to meet this pharmacist out as a friend or more, or do you just want more small talk?

Small talk is, by definition, impersonal. If you want the relationship to be personal, you need to transition from small talk. Either find a common interest or show interest in his interests.

TBH I find small talk pretty irritating and mostly enjoy being impersonal in the city. There's too many people to be friends with everyone, and I don't have time for many friends as it is. "How are you?" - "I'm good thanks"!

Mostly when I do make the effort to chat, people are receptive.


OT: FWIW, in UK (and France, Spain, Kenya as I recall from visits) pharmacists do prescribe to a limited degree. All the local pharmacies to me [except supermarket pharmacies] have small consulting areas with a closed door where you can chat about your ailments.

NHS I think are keen to encourage use of pharmacists for minor ailments.


Slightly OT: where is it so weird to ask a pharmacist for advice? In places I've lived in it's either reasonably typical or not typical but within the realm of expected things.


You’re basically describing the whole field of small talk. It’s perfect for stuff like this. And then if he’s interested you gradually progress the conversation.


> So I'm wondering "Outside of work and family, where would other hackers have excuses to meet people in daily life?"

Play! Or, well, hobbies in general.

I've met people online through games and technical social forums, some of whom I later grabbed drinks with after we found out we were in the same area, and later still ended up working with several.

Nowadays I'm into boardgames - if you plopped me in a random city with no other contacts and a need to socialize, I'd maybe check online for boardgame bars. Maybe try to strike up a conversation about a boardgame another group's playing that looks interesting, or invite someone who's just grabbing food to join in. Or look up shops that might host the occasional MTG tournament - I don't generally play MTG, but it's a common enough game there's been a circle that plays it at every job I've had, and a tournament settings by it's very nature is going to force at least a minimal amount of interaction between complete strangers.

One of my friends is into drones - building them, racing them, the works. So there's racing events he goes to and meets people at, socializing during the downtime. More interactions of "oh, I recognized XYZ that you did online!" (common forums, videos, etc.) Also hosts a monthly movie night - a relatively easy excuse to get to know people better that he might only kind-of barely know at work.

Paintball seems like another option I should try picking up sometime. I bet paintball fields have some kind of open-to-all events to try and drum up business.

> But I stay quiet because it damages social relationships to express myself in odd ways. It's better to be on a cordial first-name basis than have an arms-length-but-personal experience with them.

Does it, and even if it does, is it really better? Extensive online socializing has made me very comfortable with being frenemies or worse with trolls etc. - worst case scenario, me and whomever I'm conversing with both find out we have better things to do than talk to the other party - and best case scenario, you've found something to bind over for a lifetime. Win/win.

(I realize this can be much easier to say than to internalize, but I wanted to plant this idea.)

> Even now, the smart thing is to stay quiet and not post this.

Then intelligence is overrated.

> You're told to stay quiet in a thousand ways by the society around you.

Then those parts of society are also overrated. Fuck 'em. Keep talking - how else are the other weirdos who also don't know when to shut up going to find you? :P


>If it's hard, it's usually a psychological difficulty rather than a lack of opportunity.

Sure, but that doesn't mean it's easier. In my experience, it's the other way around, really. I am rather good at operating tools, and tools to deal with the physical barriers to socialization are usually pretty easy to operate.

The psychological side of that, though, is... more difficult. There are tools there, too, but in my experience, those tools are much less well understood.


> I'd argue that it isn't hard to make friends, it's just hard to meet people in the first place.

I strongly disagree; I think it's the opposite. Friendship takes time. You need to invest the time into conversation, building trust, building a relationship. You won't have a good friend after a week together.


Exactly this. The tough part about making friends in your 30s and above is that many people don't have the time to spend together to truly grow a friendship. It's tough to hang out with a potential new friend at least once per week unless you live in a dense area or city. At least that's been my experience.

It's also why quite a lot of my close friends are ~10 years younger than me—I move a lot and each new city I hit I have to make new friends. Many times that means people in their 20s that can spend leisure time like that. Probably not the best for my renal system though.


I had the same problem. And for the meeting part if solved this problem by creating drop!in, a nearby event happening now app. An example from the other day, I was walking home from work, refreshed the app and realized there is a free Accenture-led API workshop just a few hundred meters nearby. Walked over had free Pizza and beers and had a nice chat with the local MD of the Accenture Digital Lab. This week we will meetup for lunch. So in my opinion, it's not a problem of meeting people, it's a problem of following up.

So at least for me the "meeting" people got solved.


Really cool concept. Downloaded the app, crashes immediately upon loading on my iPhone


Are you sure you downloaded the right app? It's this one :

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/drop-in/id1038351294?mt=8

Looking at the data I have received from the sign-up and data selection processes there should have been no problems.


Yep, that's the one I downloaded. I'm on a 5S. The problem might be that I'm on iOS 9 still, actually. I'll update later and report back


Thanks! Let's discuss this further on info@tenqyu.com. I really need to know what happens and of course will make it worth your time.


From the unit test on the 5S should be ok, let me know what happens after the update. But please don't update only because of this.


> the unit test

This is interesting...


Let me check what the problem might be. Shouldn't happen.


I grabbed your app because I've been looking for something like this for a while (there's tons of useless ones that claim to do this) however it's crashing on my Note 5 every time I start it after I signed in.


This is an iPhone app. How are you running it on a Note 5? And there is no signing in necessary. Are you sure we are speaking about the same app?


Ah, I guess there is either a copycat, or coincidentally similar app with the same name on Android

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=dropin.main


I've been looking for something like this for a while now! Thanks for sharing.


>it's just hard to meet people in the first place

I disagree. There are plenty of places to meet people. Instead its hard for most people to be compatible to hang out regularly. Most lonely people have plenty of acquaintances, but no close friends to regularly hang out.


As you know, it's anecdotal, but this may be down to rising interest rates!


They don't sound like very American men. Like the song goes, "I'm afraid of Americans... They don't need anyone, they don't even just pretend." I realized I have no friends at age 19. I've been fine with that for decades. I won't make any such generalizations about women. I know where I'm at. But I will say the younger guys seem weaker these days. They don't have the same general tough, friendless demeanor the Gen Xers had.


Bowie meant that as a criticism. It's not, and is not intended to be, a good thing. And it reflects all the way through the fuck-you-I've-got-mine, pull-up-the-ladder-behind-me baseline society we have inculcated, both within and without tech.


This post is, and I am not using the term to be hyperbolic or insulting, pathological. If we need songs to prove the point, Hank Williams, undoubtedly an American man, wrote "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry" in 1949.


>This post is ... pathological.

Flattery will get you nowhere.

>Hank Williams

Alcoholic, died age 29, sings about how he is lonely, like other alcoholics do.

British singer describes how he's afraid of Americans.

You see the difference, right? The current generation, the weak ones, they like to sing about how tough they are. "Heathens" or "Royals" is the typical sort of chest puffing bragging about their own prowess.

That's a lot different from outsiders describing their fear of your kind in song.


If everyone started out identical, however unlikely that is, and hobby interests compounded like interest, increasing the balance of ... warhammer 40K, for the sake of example, by 1% every year, then at age 18 you'd have identical interests and experiences and therefore make shallow friends with all kinds of randos who will diverge dramatically in the future, and by age 50, 1% compound hobby interest per year means you'll all be very diverse and therefore unlike to friend up except with people like you.

There's actually a pretty good financial analogy with... finances. At uni "all of us" lived the same lives in the dorms. We had all the same financial life, which was "student poor". Rapidly the ultra rich kids moved to the ultra high rent apartments, we had lives that diverged, etc. Decades later rather than all of us having the same financial condition and experiences, there are likely very few people exactly like me financially.

Finally there's a lot of hand wringing that I'm not hanging out with people who have nothing in common with me other than drinking the same beer or cheering for the same sportsball team. A lot of people grow up and see that as the waste of time that it is. At 18 you can be fooled into thinking a shared enjoyment of "Miller Lite Ice" is a deep personal connection, but many people can't be fooled that way at age 50. Not really a problem.


When I was younger I thought sports were stupid, but as I've grown older I've come to enjoy watching football a lot and to especially enjoy watching it with other people. Yeah, it's not going to go on my tombstone when I die, but how many things are? It's a common thing to watch, speculate about, emote over, etc., and the game itself has grown more interesting to me as I've come to understand it more.

I also think the importance of having a common lifestyle or a lot of shared interests can be overstated. I don't share that many hobbies with my wife but I enjoy talking to her and spending time with her regardless. I enjoy meeting up with old friends from school even when they're at totally different career stages than I am. You don't have to do the most expensive thing you can afford every night.


Sports are so boring and repetitive though. Especially when you don't care who wins, and I can't imagine why I'd care.


I think it helps to have played a sport before to appreciate watching it.

For example, when I was younger I used to play some football (soccer). I don't play at the moment, but when I watch a game there's a lot more for me to pick up on because of that past experience. I get that to someone who's never played before the game might look uninteresting as it's a relatively low point scoring game (compared to something like basketball or tennis), but to people who are into it there's much more going on than just the goals, it's the dynamics of the game as a whole that captures their attention. Having past experience playing makes it easier to see when a team is attacking well and defending well, easier to pick up on individual displays of skill, easier to pick up on new opportunities and how these could change the game, easier to pick up on the state of the game (chances of a win, loss or draw) and the ways the players respond to this.

If the only part of the game that mattered was when the ball was kicked in the net then it would be a boring game as it doesn't happen very often, but there's a whole lot more going on if you know where to look. You might still find the game boring, but hopefully this helps to explain how people get into it.


I don't doubt that that really deepens your appreciation, but I think even through repeated watching you can come to appreciate the game more. To give the most obvious example, someone without a lot of familiarity with football would probably be confused about why they were go back five yards behind where they were after the last play instead of the last place they got to because the penalty system isn't obvious to a neophyte (in soccer terms, consider how many people are baffled by off-side calls if they only ever watch a few games during the World Cup every four years).


I'm not even sure if your references to football and soccer are the same sport, or two different sports. I think they usually mean the same thing, except in certain countries where other sports (such as rugby) are called football instead.


I'm from the UK, we call soccer "football" here. The sport that people in the US call "football" we call "American Football". Many countries call soccer "football" (or variations thereof, depending on their native language). I've never heard anyone use the term "football" to describe rugby, though rugby (union) was supposedly a spinoff from football (rugby league came later). To add to the confusion, there are two other sports that have the name football, namely Gaelic Football and Aussie Rules Football, both of which are popular in their home countries.


I originated in New Zealand, and football generally meant rugby. Maybe things have changed since then or maybe I don't remember correctly.

I didn't realise American football could be abbreviated to football. We also knew it as gridiron, and it always seemed like the very definition of boring, repetitive sport. Guy takes the ball, runs at the opposition, is taken down, everybody stands around chatting for ~10 minutes, repeat :)


That circularizes the problem in that we use the same word to describe someone who happened to separately watch the same TV program as to describe something like a non-romantic life long soulmate. I think the article is talking about the latter, although the former is an open question, may or may not be an issue.


You can't build a deep friendship without first having a shallow acquaintance. Getting together every weekend to watch football is a good start to making a closer friendship that transcends the activity. Really any activity you repeatedly engage in together would be. Most close friends I have are people who I initially started hanging out with because we both enjoyed watching football, or playing pool, or playing a video game, etc.


It works well the other way too. Go to a bookclub about a topic you're interested and you might be surprised to find how much in common you have with people who you otherwise might have thought were completely different (different career, family, gender, nationality). I haven't made any friends that way but often the talks we have feel like everyone is old friends in the moment.


I can’t seem to read this right now since I’m over my limit of free articles but I’ll say that Meetup.com has been really helpful to find interesting people in the same boat.

My recommendation to people is to find a meetup (doesn’t have to be from Meetup, could be a sports league, religious group, volunteering...) that meets frequently so that you have a chance to slowly get to know the same group of people over a course of time. I find meeting up once per month is a little too infrequent for growing bonds and prefer weekly/biweekly meetups but sometimes you end up meeting someone who you gel with and it’s easy to meetup many times over beyond the meetup interval.


+1 - for anyone in the tech field (or even if you're not) that likes to meet some new people, join a few Meetup.com groups in your area and talk to random people inbetween the meetup sessions. 9/10 people will be a dud but I've ended up finding som really good friends via Meetup.


Open in incognito. Read as many articles as you'd like.


Incognito holds onto cookies too (in a separate instance of course). Did you find a way to conveniently overcome that without causing the NYTimes not to work?


Incognito clears the cookies once all incognito windows are closed.



What I do to get a few more free views is, add a `.` to the end of .com.

www.nytimes.com.


Or open the site in incognito mode. Works every time.


Or just disable scripts from nytimes.com using uMatrix or some similar extension.


Also don't give up on the first dud of a meetup. You need to check out a handful to find a good fit.


+1 as well. To piggy-back, I highly recommend EventBrite as well.


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