There’s a cultural trope of a lonely middle-aged woman. She’s sad, frumpy, bitter, and lives with her cats. The idea of a “sad, crazy old cat lady” has been a joke in our society for a long time, mocking the pain of those women who find themselves in their middle age with no friends.
Women often face social criticism if they are not married and have no children, whether it is a personal choice or due to life circumstances. Even if you have a partner and children, it’s normal to want more of a social life beyond your family. No matter how much you love your children, it’s not the same as having peers you can go out with to have a good time or discuss your problems. Being stuck in a routine of going to work and taking care of your kids can leave you feeling like you have no life.
This article will outline some common reasons why you may find yourself with no friends as a middle-aged woman and what you can do about it.
- Tips for making friends as a middle-aged woman
- Commons reasons for having no friends as a middle-aged woman
It’s never too late to learn new skills and meet new people. Making new friends is still possible in midlife, and here are some of the best ways to do so.
1. Join a group tour
Your 40s, 50s, and beyond can be a great time to travel. Traveling is a good way to meet people and build social connections through shared experiences.
If you’re hesitant to travel alone, consider taking a trip with a guided tour group like Globedrifters. These types of boutique travel companies often organize small groups of solo travelers to travel together and get to know each other through shared activities.
2. Join an exercise class
Make exercise fun by doing it with others. Whether you’re interested in HIIT, yoga, or trampolines, there are probably weekly classes you can join. Can’t find any? Consider starting a walking or running club of your own by posting in your local groups.
3. Join local groups online
Search for Facebook groups for your area and try to become active by answering people’s questions. Sometimes you can meet local people online in that way. Events are often posted to local groups and open to the general public.
Volunteering is a great way to make friends over 50 and gain a sense of purpose at the same time. Many people volunteer as a way to fill their time and meet new people. Try VolunteerMatch to find volunteering opportunities in your area or reach out to local organizations and institutions that match the values you are interested in.
5. Try support groups
Consider looking for a women’s circle or a support group centered on an issue you may be struggling with. Support groups often centered around topics such as grief, having a loved one who struggles with addiction, building healthier relationships, etc.
You may be interested in joining workshops or practice groups centered on self-development or building better communication. Search Meetup.com for these types of workshops.
6. Join a hobby group or book club
Try finding a weekly group centered around a hobby or interest, such as a church group, knitting club, language practice, and so on. Having something to talk about with people you see regularly is the best way to make friends.
You might also like our article on social hobbies to meet new people.
7. Suggest fun things to do with others
If there are any women you know and like through work or other places, consider “making the first move” to extend your friendship beyond the shared space. For example, suggest checking out a pottery class together or seeing a movie.
Read our guide on making friends at work for tips on turning colleagues into friends.
8. Reconnect with old friends
You may not feel comfortable getting in touch with someone after a long time of not being in contact, but your old friends may be in the same loneliness boat you are and as willing to reconnect to old friends as you are.
Consider reading our guide on how to text someone you haven’t spoken to in a long time and reach out to someone you used to be friends with.
9. Find more ways to enjoy your solitude
The time spent alone will feel lonelier if it is repetitive and devoid of joy. If your days look like an endless repeat of themselves (come home, make dinner, watch something on TV, sleep, repeat, for example), you are more likely to feel empty.
Make sure you have a variety of activities you can do by yourself to suit several needs and moods.
For example, you may choose to use a coloring book, make a collage, write a short story, or knit if you’re feeling creative. Running, swimming, massage, and going to a sauna can meet some of your physical needs, while taking an online course can stimulate your curiosity and intellectual needs. Consider buying a hula hoop, watching videos online to learn a few tricks, or joining a class. See our article about fun activities for people with no friends for more ideas.
10. Try a coworking space
If you work from home, having a regular place you can work whilst surrounded by people can be a great way to meet new people and make friends. Some coworking locations have events that can help you meet other remote workers outside of work hours.
11. Check out in-person adult learning classes
Trying to make friends after 40 is difficult because we tend to meet fewer people as we get older. One way to make sure you keep meeting new people is by trying new activities such as in-person classes for adults. By signing up for a class, you’ll make sure you see the same people regularly enough to get a chance to get to know them.
12. Join a friend app
Most of us spend so much time on our phones these days. Why not use some of that time to look for new friends? Many apps are geared towards adults looking to make new friends: BumbleBFF, Friender, and Peanut. Try a few to get a sense of the one that works best for you.
13. Consider moving
While moving seems like a drastic solution, it can be worth it if you have the opportunity to do so. Moving to a place where you may have a more fulfilling social life may lead to your life being more satisfying all around.
If you live in a very rural area or an area where you’re surrounded by people who don’t match your values, look into moving. While making new friends is always challenging, some areas tend to have more people who are looking to make new friends. Places that have a large ex-pat community, for example, tend to have more events that are geared towards making new social connections.
There are general common reasons why one may not have friends that may fit you, but there are also some reasons that are unique to middle-aged women. If you’re not sure which of these reasons apply to you, try our “why do I have no friends” quiz to find out more.
1. Few opportunities to meet new people
Women may lose friends when they start to have children and build a family, particularly if they stay at home with the kids. Their friends may be having children at different times in their lives, making it difficult to meet up and support each other in motherhood.
When their kids are younger, women often meet up and talk at the park or on playdates, but as kids become teenagers, there are fewer opportunities. At that point, it may have been years of low to no contact with old friends, and it feels difficult to reconnect. Some friends may have moved away and can’t meet in person.
Often, mothers are expected to make friends with the moms of their kids’ friends but may not have common interests.
2. Lack of time
Many women feel that they are too busy with the day-to-day stress and too exhausted at the end of the day to socialize or don’t have enough time off, particularly if they don’t have family nearby or other support with the kids. Often, women feel the pressure to be the caretaker, not only for their kids but also for their partners and other family members.
Divorce is another reason that can impact women’s friendships. After divorce, women suffer more economic hardship. One study shows that women lose about 40% of their pre-divorce incomes. The resulting stress may impact how emotionally available they are to meet new people, particularly if they need to work several jobs and have little time left over.
4. Mental health problems
Mental health is another variable that can impact friendships. Women with depression, anxiety, or other mental health issues can struggle with certain parts of maintaining a social life.
Being on the autism spectrum can also impact one’s ability to make friends. A 2013 study suggests that girls may be less likely to be diagnosed as autistic than boys. If this sounds like this could be you, check out our article on having Asperger’s and having no friends.
Is it normal not to have friends as a middle-aged woman?
A 2018 survey of 3,020 US residents over the age of 45 found that one-third feel lonely. The male and female respondents were more likely to be lonely in their 40s and 50s than in their 60s, so while it seems common not to have friends in midlife, the situation can change.
Why is it so hard to make friends in midlife?
Many people struggle to make friends in midlife as they become busier and more stressed, and the amount of new people they meet dwindles. Seeing people occasionally makes it hard to go from acquaintances to friends.