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Have you noticed that none of the friendships you’ve made later in life compare to those you formed in high school or college? You may be onto something.

As we grow up, there are many reasons why our ability to make close new friends declines:


  • The conditions you had in school change, so you have fewer opportunities to hang out for long periods of time and gradually become close

  • Your focus shifts from “me” to “us” as you pair up with a partner

  • You begin to place an emphasis on the importance of building your career

  • The workplace is more competitive than school was, so you’re less likely to let your guard down

  • Once you have kids, you feel compelled to spend your limited away-from-work time with them

  • As you lose friends, you become more jaded about the possibility of starting long-term friendships


The problem is, when the kids start to spend more time away from home, or a relationship ends, the reality can hit that your list of close friends has grown alarmingly short.

Author Marla Paul discusses how people change and seem to get more reticent about letting people in.

“Self-discovery gives way to self-knowledge,” she says, “so you become pickier about whom you surround yourself with.”

If you’ve found that your list of friends has dwindled significantly, writer Melanie Gorman offers these valuable tips for making new friends after age 35 (but they really apply to all ages):


  1. Like attracts like:  If you want to find other people who are looking for friends, you have to be open to meeting them.

  2. Find friends with mutual interests: Try sites like meetup.com to find local groups or ovooko.com to find people with common interests.

  3. Get out of life what you put into it: Once you find people you are interested in befriending, try reaching out a few times.

  4. Consider Facebook and Twitter: Social sites are excellent places to practice.

  5. Revive "back-burner" friendships: Scroll through your e-mail, Facebook or even your high school yearbook to find people with whom you've lost touch.

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