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I'm struggling to make friends and I'm not sure what to do

Ya Boi

Active Member
I've been trying to meet new people and try to keep in contact with my friends back in my home state (I moved away a few years ago), but it's been really hard to do both.

I'm interested in video games, movies, and tabletop games like D&D and Warhammer 40k. I've tried looking, but it's hard to find people with the same interests. I tried making a post for a Facebook group for people looking for friends almost a year ago, but I think it got deleted by the moderators and I haven't tried again. I've also tried visiting game stores and while I found one group I vibe with fairly well, it's a long drive and with me working full-time now I can no longer make the regular meet up times. For the other stores I haven't spent enough time in them to get to know anyone. I have tried talking to people at my current job, but I'm a male in my mid twenties and most of the people there are women in their late fourties or fifities who don't look like they're into the same things. There is one person who I know is into some of the same things as me, but he works at the opposite end of the office space I'm in and I don't know how I can coordinate anything to meet with him, especially since I think I'm the only one intersted in forming a connection. For some of the people around my age I've talked to, they aren't very talkative and never try to continue any conversation I start (one time I complemented someone's DBZ shirt and he was just like "yeah thanks" and just went back to his phone). I also want to find online friends to play games with, but I'm not even sure how to do that. Then I worry that if I make online friends I'll never have time to play games by myself.

As for messaging my current friends, it's hard to do because they never message me. Even if I message them first they'll either get back to me late or never respond. At my previous part time job I got the phone numbers of two of my coworkers, one of whom said he was sad to see me go and seemed happy to stay in touch with me, and guess what, they never responded to my texts. It feels like despite being the one on the spectrum, I'm the only one with any social skills. I know some of them are probably really busy, but it still hurts thinking that I'm not worth acknowledging or that it's ok to ghost me for several days.

I'm not sure what to do about finding and connecting with friends. I don't know how to connect with anyone at my new office job. I'm scared I'll lose touch with my current D&D group and I'm not sure how to find another one (I know there are RPG finders, but I'm not sure which ones are the best). I've thought about trying to attend board game nights at near by games and maybe making another facebook post. I also want to try scheduling gaming sessions with my friends back home, but I don't know if our schedules will align or if they'll even respond.
Sometimes people just don't have the guts to say that they are too busy, and can't really be friends. So as long as you don't take it personally, then you are in a good place. Lots of people don't make a lot of friends because they just hang out with social media. Finally, the economy is forcing many to pick up another job. My daughter worked two jobs and went to the uni, and barely had a life.
Hi, from what you write, it sounds like you're taking all the right steps already. To be honest, you even show really a lot of initiative to find and meet new people, going to game stores and making online posts. I'm genuinely impressed. Of course I don't know why your Facebook post got deleted - maybe try posting another one?
I'm scared I'll lose touch with my current D&D group and I'm not sure how to find another one (I know there are RPG finders, but I'm not sure which ones are the best)
Is there a reason why you would lose touch with your current group? I once posted in a RPG Facebook group because, at the time, I was a DnD newbie who wanted to try it, and it worked well, I got messaged by several people inviting me to join their groups for a session. Maybe look for a RPG Facebook group (I don't much about other social media platforms) in your city or close to it and try to post there? Say you'd be interested in joining long-term if if works out, and that you're flexible with what kind of character you play, depending on the group's current character mix, and that could give you a few bonus points? Or put up a sign in those game stores (of course after asking the employees if that's okay) stating that you're looking for a group?
For some of the people around my age I've talked to, they aren't very talkative and never try to continue any conversation I start (one time I complemented someone's DBZ shirt and he was just like "yeah thanks" and just went back to his phone).
They sound a bit uninterested, yeah. Do some of them ever meet outside work where you could join? Maybe also that one you like more would be there? Or simply go to that guy and ask him directly whether he'd like to grab a beer that week?

I hope you'll find people soon, sometimes it takes a bit longer, especially at a new place. It sounds like you're doing all the right things, just keep trying. Sometimes people are frustrating.
I am rather new to all of this, having only discovered I was autistic about a year ago. But from all of the books and forum messages I have read and all the podcasts I have listened to, this is a pretty common theme. As I approach 50, I find myself in a similar situation. Back when my life involved more organic ways of interacting with people, such as classes, sports, my kids' activities, writing groups, etc... it was still a struggle to find people I wanted to spend my social energy on. Now that most of those things are gone due to being in a different stage in life, I am faced with a similar struggle to make new connections. It is tough to muster the energy to cultivate new relationships when life already takes so much energy to manage. Like a previous commenter already mentioned, I am impressed by your willingness to take initiative and take agency in your life.

If rom-coms have taught me anything, it is that you continue pursuing the things you love, eventually you will find your person (or people) when you least expect it, usually by accidentally bumping into them at a bookstore as you spill your coffee. I am only joking because that is my default coping mechanism. I honestly wish I had answers for you. Unfortunately, I find myself asking many of the same questions as you. So I guess all I can offer you at the moment is encouragement. Don't give up. You are doing great. Human connection is essential for all of us, so I think it is worth the fight. And while you struggle, know that you are not alone in this struggle. Good luck, my friend. If you discover any hard-won wisdom along your journey, please post some hints for others on this forum. :)
To some degree, this is just sorta how it goes sometimes, particularly when it comes to hobbies and whatnot, and making connections with people who are also into those things.

Like, video games are my primary hobby... and board games coming right after that... but actually getting together with anyone in person (other than the one specific friend I've known since I was a kid)? Yeah, it aint happening. I live in the middle of nowhere... I'm in the US, Illinois specifically, and most of the state is just grass and farms (I'm not close to Chicago). Oh there are things like board game stores, but... well, the good one is a pretty long drive from here, and the other one is, well... it's one of those ones that isnt REALLY a board game store, but instead a Magic: The Gathering store, where they dont do or sell much else (not exactly what I'm looking for).

Not really a whole lot I can do about that. But what I can do... and certainly what you could do if you want... is to make online connections. I've been doing that one for a very long time, since the early days of AOL, and some of the people I know are people I've known for many years now (and in some cases, also got to meet in person at conventions). There's LOTS of ways to connect with people online, when it comes to these hobbies.

Video games specifically, the best place is Steam, by far. I've met like a gazillion people on there, it's pretty easy to get involved in the community there. The consoles dont really offer that, as they dont have any out-of-game spaces to interact with others.

And board games, you might be surprised at how that can work. Boardgame Arena is all about playing digital versions of games online with others, or there's Tabletop Simulator (which can even be played in VR, if you like that). Boardgamegeek is the best site/forum for interacting with the community.

Something I learned from both Steam and Boardgamegeek is that connecting with others in a hobby community can often work differently than you'd expect. Like I said, I meet a lot of people on Steam, but... I'm not exactly the outgoing type. People come to me, not the other way around. I write a lot of reviews on there, and people come and find me after finding those. It's sorta the same on BGG (though I dont write reviews there nearly as often). That's absolutely not how I'd have expected to meet people in either of those places, but it's how it ended up happening. Hobbies are like that, really. Sometimes you meet people in very unexpected ways. But, that can go for meeting people in any setting, not just hobby related ones.

The trick to all of it though is to not give up, but also, dont obsess over it too much. These things take time, they really do. If you get yourself all stressed out and such in the process of trying to make friends, that stress is going to hang around you like a cloud, and people WILL spot it, and it can push them away immediately. Dont rush anything... just go with the flow, as they say.

As for connecting at your job, well... understand, jobs arent always the best place for doing that. After all, you arent there specifically to make friends... you're there to work and get paid, and so is everyone else there. And in some jobs people are often stressed out while there, which aint exactly the best state to be in for making personal connections. Dont feel too bad if you cant get meaningful friendships while at work.
Distance is hard to maintain, and it's hard to want to respond when it's not as easy to make or maintain a connection. If you can't at least stay at each other's places once in awhile, that's one less reason to keep contact. Try to create new friendships where you are- meetup.com based on your interests.

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