Mar 28, 2022 - News

Making new friendships in Des Moines

How easy is it to make friends in Des Moines?
Data: Axios poll; Chart: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

One of my biggest, but quietest heartaches over the last few years is seeing my circle of close friends shrink.

What's happening: When the pandemic hit, several friends decided to leave Des Moines to be closer to their families.

  • Others took the opportunity to find jobs in bigger cities.

Why it matters: Friendships are some of the most undervalued, but important relationships in our lives.

  • American culture puts a heavy emphasis on romantic partnerships, but friendships are known to improve satisfaction in our lives, help us feel secure and guide us through major life changes.

By the numbers: Our ability to meet new friends and retain friendships gets more challenging as we gain responsibilities and lose proximity to people we care about.

  • 50% of our close friends are replaced every seven years, according to a 2009 study.
  • In college, it takes 40 hours of time with someone to consider them a casual friend. But as an adult, it's more than double that (94 hours), according to Esther Perel, a psychotherapist and author who studies modern relationships.

More than 350 Axios Des Moines readers responded to our survey about friendship and the majority of you said you have friends, but are open to more.

What you're saying: Some of you said that you would like deeper connections and more friends with the same interests.

  • One respondent said their friends decided to move out of Des Moines several years ago, but "I do understand why they've left."
  • Another said the pandemic left them more recluse and with little energy to go out.

So what should we do? One of the biggest reasons we lose some of our friendships is lack of contact.

  • A tool to use: Make a list of the top 10 people you consider close friends. Reach out to the person it's been the longest since you've talked to and repeat the cycle every so often.

What else: Set aside your ego. If you feel hurt that someone hasn't reached out, consider that you may not know the entire circumstances.

  • Don't cut off an opportunity to improve communication that's meaningful to you.

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