I'm 22 and am going through what I believe to be a kind of rough patch as far as friendly relationships go.
Growing up, I had tons of close friends who I spent virtually all of my time with. I once was a lazy late-teenager with a small amount of "goals" and really no direction of where my life was headed. Surrounded by me were "friends" with the same kind of things going on. We all hung out, drank, did stupid things, etc, etc.
Taking the short fast forward to now, I have changed quite a bit. I am in college pursuing a degree and my hobbies include personal finance, health, grooming, and fitness. I am in a relationship with a great girl and have been for nearly 4 years. She has definitely aided in my somewhat "transformation" and we are very happy.
Since I decided to get my "stuff" together, I have become very disconnected with just about all of my previous friends. While I am quite busy working and going to school, it has dawned on me that through trying to keep these friendships up, that I simply just don't have anything in common with them anymore. They are still stuck (if not even more so) in the same stage we were a few years ago with even less of a direction in life. Drinking, drugs, and working at a near minimum wage job seem to be all that is cared about and I am just so sick of it.
I guess my question (although venting was a big motivation for this post) is where can a guy like me meet friends? I go to a small community college and work with the same kind of people as previously mentioned. I know I sound like a very judgmental guy with incredibly high expectations of people, but that isn't it. I'm just looking for close friends who you can actually have a conversation with instead of just drinking and talking about useless things.
Thanks for your time men!
School: likely harder at a small community college like yours, but it's still an obvious place to start--have you met anyone there you'd like to get to know better?
Clubs or other organizations
Sporting leagues: maybe there's an adult soccer or basketball league
You know, I was in the same situation recently. I'm 21 and I've changed a lot since I decided to work on myself and built myself as a man. In taking this decision I've lost numbers of "friends". Some I can't even have a conversation with but about work and girls. It isn't that I started judging them or something. We just naturally grew apart.
I was also at some point getting sick of them too. Until I had one really honest conversation with one of my friend and he told me I was his only friend willing to tell him the truth about himself. I'll spare you the detail but I realized that we can be good influence on our friends. Sometimes maybe the only good influence they'll have for a long period.
I'm not saying that you should start giving them all of your time and start chilling with again as it could be bad for you too. But if they're really your friends, and I mean really good friends, give them a day each 2 weeks or each month where you can do something together like going to a bar and play pool. It may changes their lives and change yours.
Now, about finding people that you can have an actual conversation with. I just want to say that those people are easy to find if you do the work. I, for a long time, felt alone. Incapable of finding meaningful friendship, especially with men in their 20's. I guess our generation is special! Still I made a commitment to find some and I did. Some in church and others in work. Some the result of old friendship and working on ourselves.
It's seems like i find a lot. The truth is I can count them on one hand. And I'm happy this way for I wouldn't wanted to have more: It's a lot of work and commitment haha.
To answer your question: you can meet them anywhere and you'll have to make the first step. Real friendship takes times, work and most importantly sacrifice. But they're are the best vehicle for development, joy and happiness if everyone's willing to grow.
P.s. Hope my English wasn't too bad haha.
I'm 25 and don't really know how to connect with people either. If you're in a relationship, maybe you could meet some people through your girlfriend's friends?
Normally my reply would be to look at your interests, and participate in relevant group activities. But, seems pretty hard in your case (I've never heard of a personal finance interest group!). As mentioned, intramural sports would be the best place to start, since you're already interested in fitness & health. School is the best place to start, in my opinion.
It's probably not the "finding" that is the problem. It is being open and talking to them when they show up. When we are in high school we are kind of forced into friendships by activities and classes. In College all of that changes. . . you've got to learn to interact with other people, no matter what the situation. Coffee shop, grocery store, gas station . . . The other part is going out and living a life. Doing that will bring people along. Next tip take people as they come. You may benefit from them and they may benefit from you.
They are still stuck (if not even more so) in the same stage we were a few years ago with even less of a direction in life. Drinking, drugs, and working at a near minimum wage job seem to be all that is cared about and I am just so sick of it.
It is not an issue of finding someone with whom you are in perfect sync. My best friends are actually my polar opposites. The differences are what make our friendships strong. They challenge me, and I them, and in fact debate is one of our favorite activities.
Realize that most colleges are little more than glorified babysitting services. Assume that almost everyone you meet in college is going to be, essentially, a waste of your time and effort. It's unlikely they'll be lifelong friend material. I do concede the occasional exception, but they will be the exceptions, not the rule. Their primary use to you will be as practice, as fodder which can be easily discarded as you move forward in life. (On a related note, I had one of those exceptions from *high school* contact me the other day, and it was a joyful reunion.)
So, there is very little down-side to experimenting, for you.
Treat it like a scientific experiment. Try treating different people differently. Employ different approaches.
Coming from my point of view, blunt honesty is a great approach, but you have to have the right personality to pull that off successfully. Most people don't.
So, try pleasant platitudes. Yes, the small talk is stupid and seemingly pointless, but that's because you're intelligent. When dealing with your inferiors, it acts as a social lubricant, and smooths relations.
Did that drive you crazy? Try something else! Hypothesize and then test that hypothesis.
As I said, consider most of them to be practice. You are already forced into social situations with them, anyway, so you might as well put that time to good use. It will help prepare you for dealing with the few who are actually worth your time.
And it will also teach you that it's a two-way street. Friendship is not under your exclusive control...the other person is just as important in the relationship.
Hey man, it seems that you're taking an interest in your own personal development kick-starting your life. Good for you!
One thought jumps out at me though, when I look at your list of hobbies, which "include personal finance, health, grooming, and fitness".
Those are all very individual pursuits. If you want to find new friends worth connecting with, you'll need to do something in common. Try picking up a new hobby that has to involve other people. Here are just a few options. You can checkout meetup.com or any other way that people in your area find each other.
Sports, martial arts, outdoor adventures, social justice causes, religious organizations, book clubs, model (insert mode of transportation here) builders etc. etc. etc. There are many, many more options.
Choose something that you enjoy and then seek out a group that is interested in that thing. If there is no group, try starting one! Good luck, bud. In the meantime, keep checking in with guys on this site. You're bound to meet someone people you click with eventually.
Here in Columbus Ohio there is something called the Columbus Young Professionals Club. It is a group that hosts events/networking/sports for people from 21 to 45. Not sure if there is something like that where you live. www.cypclub.com Check out the site.
Enjoyed your post. I was at a cross road of the same vein a while back, I'm 32 now. Don't feel bad if you drift away from those previous friends. Unless they are trying to improve themselves, they'll hold you back involving you in stupid shit. It's excellent that you have a great girl that you care about.
One of the comments below recommends trying to make friends via your GF's friends. That's okay but you'll most likely never be more than secondary in those relationships. Plus if you break up, and I hope you don't, you'd be losing your GF and likely a lot of other people too.
I second the recommendation to find hobbies that are more group based and meetup is a good place to start.
A lot of other guys have already said it but I'll say it again for what it's worth: what you describe is pretty normal. Some of us change while many of our friends don't. It's normal to want to hang on (especially since loyalty is a song that's been sung to us our whole life) but it's also completely normal to want to surround yourself with people with whom you feel you have more things in common. Don't feel bad; it's totally normal. As long as you're not being a prick to your previous circle of friends, it's not wrong to put some distance between you and them if you don't feel like there's a connection beyond nostalgia.
As far as meeting people who are more similar to you, all of it has already been said but here goes:
join a club
join a team
join a community / spiritual / religious org
take a course outside of school
look for meetups that are advertised online
The important part is to get involved in group activities that are aligned with your interests. Don't just get involved for the sake of getting involved; get involved in activities that will genuinely enjoy and will put you in touch with like-minded people.
And don't forget that, if a group or activity doesn't exist, you can always start it and try to recruit members. For example, if there are no finance-based activities in your area, you could start a volunteer group to help students or seniors do their taxes. Or you could ask around to see if anyone would be interested in putting together a TEDx talk about personal finances at your school, etc.
Thanks everyone for the replies! Tons of very great advice in each and every comment. I have been trying to spend less and less time on the internet which is why I have not responded previously.
I have been doing a lot better as far as what I like to think is expecting less from people and truly taking them for what they are. I have connected with a few people outside of my comfort zone at work and have been building friendships with them outside of the workplace. I have also done a little volunteering and hope to continue doing more group based activities.
Once again, thanks everyone for your input and awesome advice!
The thing my wife and I found is that groups of friends will change over time and that is okay. If you are a church goer go to the men's group meetings. As you are at a JC you may not have a lot of clubs to join. If you can find such clubs do take the time to regularly visit one or two. The key is making contacts.
Beyond that you may be in a transition period until you go to a larger college or start your career.
That is okay also.