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lostinyoureyes's avatar

How do I "start over" after "breaking up" with close friends?

Asked by lostinyoureyes (1051 points ) February 10th, 2010

I know, a lot of quotations. Sorry!

I know most people have close friends they can count on from childhood… people they can invite to tag along and introduce to others whenever they have some kind of event to attend (a birthday party, work party, cultural event, etc.) or when hanging out with new people.

For me, it was two friends I had since elementary school. We could always count on each other. Fast forward several years, into university. One of these friends became toxic (and pretty much always was, but until recently I had been too lonely and naive to know otherwise), so I dumped him. I do not speak with him anymore. It stunned him and our other friend.

Now I’m a more social girl and do not waste time with people who make me feel like shit anymore. I have some casual friends and acquaintances, but without any close friends to count on. I feel like at this age, it’s hard to make close, close friends anymore. That special bond of since-childhood friendships just can’t be created. I wish I hadn’t been so shy and socially anxious all those years… if only I knew then what I know now.

When I meet new people, sometimes they wonder if I want to ‘invite a friend’ to their social gathering…. but I have no one to invite. There’s no one I know well enough that will bear a social situation with me that may or may not be pleasant… does that make sense?

Ughh, sorry this is so long. BASICALLY, I am saying I have but one friend to go through the good and the bad with me. I know I am lucky to have even her, but… is it possible to make friends like this at my age? I’m 21.

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29 Answers

ninjacolin's avatar

It just feels tough at first, once you get going you’ll see how easy it be.
21 is so young. should be easy. learn how to stop being shy and start being street smart.

PhillyCheese's avatar

I know exactly how you feel. I like how you use the term “toxic” I use that term too. When putting a friendship aside because you think they bring you down, it works out best for you but it’s hurtful for them.
I was in a similar situation, I started to talk to my bud again but I always knew that he would be a “toxin” to me. I consider him a distant friend.
I wouldn’t worry or think too much about it, i’d just concentrate on yourself and your closer friends rather than using your effort on something you’re unsure of.
You should avoid those who are negative because personalities are contagious and it will reflect on yours.

21 is a VERY young age. You can still meet a best friend you can call your soulmate. It’s only up to you to make it happen.

onesecondregrets's avatar

I’m going through the same thing right now, and have been for about a year. I wish I could help you because I know ho god damn lonely it is. I’ve thought about it recently, and it seems kind of corny- maybe on craigslist post for a friend? Like an advertisement, just someone to hang out with. You’d have to be careful in your choices of who responds but there’s nothing to lose. It is true, long time bonds beat no kind of new friendship. It stinks and I’m sorry. I’ll be your friend! :)

gemiwing's avatar

There’s still plenty of time to meet new people. Try to remember that this won’t last forever- things change.

If you’re in college look for groups on campus to join. If you’re not in school then look at volunteering to meet people who believe in the same things you do.

Come to think of it- I don’t know anyone who has a friend that they’ve had from childhood till now and I’m in my mid-thirties. Or if they do have one they’re not really all that close anymore, more like just acquaintances or ‘card friends’. People change so much between childhood and adulthood.

TheJoker's avatar

Something to bare in mind is that the type of friendship you’re talking about only really exists in childhood & adolesence. Adults dont really have those sorts of friendships. You’ll find the nature of your friendships will be different now you’re older. More casual aquaintences, quite possibly a larger pool of friends, but not so close. Most adults are either in a relationship, or are moving form one to another, & most people will have their partner as their closest friend.

ninjacolin's avatar

okay, more specifically. everyone’s different, but personally i recommend the night life scenes. pubs, evening art shows at little galleries, music and wine. as long as you’re into art and you focus on the arts, there’s usually some pretty cool friend circles that develop. but again, street smarts is required for this. which can be learned, of course.

lostinyoureyes's avatar

@ninjacolin – Thanks for the tips. I’m already doing some of that stuff… my question is about how deep these friendships can really go and if it’s possible to make the same kind of tight relationships that we do back in our younger years… well for me, younger than 21, haha. Like, people who are willing to go thick and thin with me.

ninjacolin's avatar

you can, but you have to keep it for the same amount of time or longer than your previous ones. ;)

lostinyoureyes's avatar

@PhillyCheese – I know I won’t ever be close with this person ever again. I’ve changed my views so much since realizing that I need to spend time with people who are good for me. I definitely agree that personalities are contagious. Thanks for your comment.

@onesecondregrets – Thanks :) I’ll be your friend too! I don’t think I’ll go so far as using craigslist for that though… there are a lot of venues for me to get out there IRL…it’s a matter of courage and making the effort.

lostinyoureyes's avatar

@gemiwing – Even if that’s true though, I still don’t have any close “current” friends…but thanks :)

@TheJoker – I actually find that really depressing. And I don’t have a SO.. I feel like my future SO will be wondering..“why doesn’t she have any friends?” which is one of the things that has stopped me from putting myself out there for dating. Thanks for your comments.

Janka's avatar

Do not stop dating because you think someone might be put off by something! I find it highly unlikely that anyone who would otherwise like you would care one bit if you have a close other friend at this point or not.

lostinyoureyes's avatar

@Janka – It’s just one of those stupid, irrational things that somehow makes sense in my head… but of course, you are right.

TheJoker's avatar

@lostinyoureyes…. I suppose it is abit. However, everything changes over time, & you’re just a spring-chicken so dont let it weigh too heavily. What you should try to remember is that most people your age are in the same boat. They’ve moved from College to University, or become dispersed due to work, so what we all thought would be life-long friendships start to break down. You may not have a SO now, but thats somehting that will change sooner or later. Just concentrate on having a little fun, happy people attract others after-all.

ModernEpicurian's avatar

I have to say that I am going through the same thing. And I’m 21 (yay for us!). My former close friends have changed and taken different paths to me now so that bond from childhood is broken. I did have a fantastic friend at University for a couple of years that filled that gap brilliantly, but now I don’t talk to her as much as both of our SO’ were threatened by our relationship. I think that it is possible to create relationships that are close, you just have to find the right person. They are out there :-)

I’ll be your friend!

Cruiser's avatar

I think you did the right thing….life is too short to waste with people who are toxic as you say…you seem to be a caring lady, you will make new friends in no time.

jrpowell's avatar

It is just how things get when you are older. Wait until you graduate and your friends start having babies and getting jobs. You will be lucky to see them once a month. I have seen my best friend one time in the last four months. And he lives a 20 minute bus ride away. I have time, he never does.

JesusWasAJewbot's avatar

College, work, plus your a female you will always make friends.

Keep the drama behind in 09!

PandoraBoxx's avatar

As an adult, you don’t really form the same sort of friendship bond as from childhood, because, let’s face it, childhood is dominated by school/parents/friends. As you get older, the people you meet have more commitments that fragment their time, so the opportunities to develop new bonds isn’t there in the same way. Some people develop friendships from work, but most work relationships are colleagues.

What does happen, though, is that you form relationships at various stages of your life, such as when you have children, you may form close relationships with parents you meet from day care. I am still close to people from these circumstances, and in some cases, have developed relationships with the children, who are now young adults, that have nothing to do with the parents. But it’s not the talk every day type of relationship.

anhidonic22's avatar

I think its the fact that we have high expectations, that is, when u do meet a friend, you expect them to be as amazing as your origional bestfriends combined with the fact that you jus cant bother going thru the testing phase and the getting to trust that sum1 phase. I passed through this exact same problem after i have left my bestfriends at my home town. i was miserably lonely at this new place for a whole year i used to socialize on my own not becuz i am incapable of forming new friends but i was too hung up on the past. But i jus realized its not worth it…. keep the old memories and form new ones….. 21 is young…. and trust me it is possible to make people like ur bestfriend… u jus need to allow people and openup to them

JLeslie's avatar

You will make new friends. When you are older you have to work at it a little more, you can’t wait around hoping someone wants to be your friend, you have to get out there, introduce yourself to people, plan getting together. In school, especially elementary school, you are together with the same people all day M-F so you have constant interaction, and then after school you see your neighbors and play together.
I think it is good that you have dumped the people who are toxic and are moving on. You never know, 5 years from now, if they get their act together you might be friends with them again. You are at such a young age that you and your peers will go through many changes.

I have developed friendships throughout my life, some are closer than others, but as recent as my late 30’s when I moved to TN I, actually we, my husband and I, have become very good friends with one set of our neighbors. We have travelled with them, spend lots of time with them, have helped each other when our families have been ill, celebrate together, completely trust them, I love them, and know we will be friends with them forever.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

My father used to tell me that one is lucky to have a friend that could be relied on.You’re not doing so bad ;)

marinelife's avatar

I made many close friends when I was in my 20s. Most of them by bonding over work. Some of those friends I have been friends with for more than 30 years now.

Do not feel like it is too late.

I have made good close firends with people at all ages.

Shae's avatar

I agree with Joker. When you grow up your friendships change. The people I spent hours and hours of my life with in school, are not even people I can bare having lunch with these days. Your life becomes busier and more varied as you mature. I have lots of friends for different parts of my life. There really isn’t just one friend that fits all those parts of me. My girly shopping friend would never got to a Sci Fi convention with me and my work buddy would be shocked to see me tossing back shots on Bourbon St.

You will find those people who fit all the parts of your life.

augustlan's avatar

@marinelife has good points. You do make different friends during different stages of life. I still have my best friend from school years, but we never see each other. Our lives are just too different. As a young, childless person, I made friends to party with through work. When I started having kids, I had lots of ‘new mommy’ friends that I met through a play group. Now that I’m older, I have a different set of social friends… those who like to sit around my kitchen table and play cards while we drink. These types of ‘social’ friends come and go as life changes, and may never be terribly deep. But, some friendships made in adulthood do last and are deep. I met my best ‘adult’ friend in the world when I was 21. We didn’t become close friends right away… we were just friendly neighbors. It took a while for us to ‘click’, but once we did it was a done deal. I’m 42 now and she’s still my best friend. I talked to her this morning!

janbb's avatar

I am in my 50s and I have three close women friends that I have become close with over the last 20–30 years. I also have one friend that I have been close with since we were 3 and 4 years old, plus many other friends that I am not as intimate with. There isn’t a qualitiative difference between the friendship I have with the woman from my childhood and the close friends I met as an adult. It is all about putting yourself in situations and groups where intimacy can flourish and then letting yourself be open to trusting and developing closeness with likeminded people. Not always easy but definitely do-able. Don’t give up!

life_after_2012's avatar

Your lucky because what is taking you a short time to learn it took me most of my life to figure out. your going to make a whole new pedigree of freinds now. the people you bring into yor life now will stand out to you. you didnt put your self thru the pain of turning your back on this person for nothing. i think your going to be okay. i don’t even know you but i can relate and i think you have a good outlook already about the situation.

evandad's avatar

Your shyness and obnoxiousness was part of the catalyst that bonded the three of you. You may never have friends like them again. Hang on to the one that’s left.

Marva's avatar

Dear! great news, you will live, honey!
I too had a very similar case, socially anxious @ high school, losing old friends gradually, which is a natural process: people change, then they don’t match anymore and toxicity is sometimes just the result of over-lasting relationships.
The point eventually is to be yourself, do the things you love to do, you will meet people in the procees.
Then open your heart: show your real self, tell of yourself sincerely and listen to others without fear or judgment.

In my case I went along “rootless” for a few years, but I had a good time with the people that I did connect with. Eventually, some of them are my friends now for 12 years and going, 7 years and going, 10 years and such, and through the years I also some how reconnected with people I used to be friends with in junior-high, people who went to the same school with me, all of these people know me really well, when I have a problem, they remember how I always deal with the same issues and give me the right mirror of the situation, we hang out and have fun, and tag along with eachother.

You will find that you will always be letting go of relationships that have stopped working and finding new one’s that work. It’s natural.
Don’t worry, it will work itself out.

lostinyoureyes's avatar

Update: Three years later, at nearly 25 years old, I feel I can finally understand and absorb the advice provided here. I’ve found a few new friends and will keep all this in mind as I ride through the waves of the relationships. It took me this long to find like-minded people to bring into my life but I am grateful.

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