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Struggling to make connections in Adelaide

Community Member

Hi everyone. Newbie here.

Basically I am at a stage where I am really concerned about my mother. To cut a long story short, we moved to Adelaide a couple of years ago, and we have both found it extremely difficult to make meaningful connections-friendships with people here.

My mother is in her sixties, and she has tried many ways to meet new people and get closer to them, including the following:

- Going to meetups. But it seems that people there are not interested in pursuing anything outside the meet ups. My mother is looking for something more than just spending a day a month with other people.

- Inviting people over for lunches, but none of these people ever did the same or even called back, etc.

Even through volunteering it is hard to build a connection as people are mainly interested in doing the job and leaving.

The overall feeling is that there’s well established circles in Adelaide that are extremely hard to break into, and that there’s no openness to anything new. And even people are reluctant to introduce you to their circle of friends.

Your thoughts and advice about all this would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you in advance.

7 Replies 7

Community Champion
Community Champion

Hi James,

I'm from Adelaide and I 100% agree. It is definitely hard to make friends here as it's so small and everyone knows everyone. I have HEAPS of aqquaintances, but only a couple of best friends. I am young too - 20.

Joining clubs at uni and making friends at work has seemed to help me. But also growing up here, I do know more people and have friends from school/childhood.

I know it sucks for you and your mother - just keep trying. There are also lots of online or Facebook Adelaide groups where people are organising to meet up/make friends. Check those out?


Community Member

Hi JamesL,

Welcome to BB! I wish I had some solutions for your mother - good on you for caring about her so much that you posted here about her.

I've been in this inland city for a year now - in your Mum's age group - and I don't know how to make friends with other women in this place! It's really, really hard in your sixties. Where I moved from wasn't so bad so I didn't realize this place would be so hard to break in to. Adelaide is not that big a city and I have heard that it is cliquey.

It sounds like your mother has tried really hard to connect with other people. I knew an English lady a few years ago who moved to Australia when her husband died (because they had already sold their house in the UK planning to move here with their children) - and she was much younger than sixties - and she told me she invited people to her home for lunch after church (which she joined to try to make friends) and they all came regularly but never invited her out themselves. She said she gave up and was very lonely for a long time - and she was a lovely person!

I think all your mother can do is keep persisting - eventually hopefully she will run into one or two people who will be friendly. But yes, it's really, really hard. Maybe she can try other volunteer work (I know covid makes it difficut) or get chatting to others out on a walk? Is there an RSL club or church or anything like that she can join? A seniors group anywhere? An exercise/dancing for seniors class? Cooking school even?

It sounds like she's doing everything right. It's very demoralising to constantly feel rejected. I'm glad she has you to encourage her and help her feel OK about herself. Tell her it's not her, it really is hard at this age to break into women's networks - they seem to be closed off about admitting new comers! I hope things will improve for her with time. Maybe some other people here will come up with some other ideas?

Really wishing your mother good luck and hang in there and try not to get too down. Cheers.

Community Member

Hi Jaz.

Thank you for your response, I do appreciate it.
I am actually in my thirties, and I am finding it just as hard as my mother to find people to connect with here, being new and all. And it is a shame because we both love Adelaide...

Community Member

Hi Hannah3, and thank you so much for your really kind response.

I really think that people who are struggling with this (especially newcomers) should form a group and get together and organize outings.

It is really difficult at her age too indeed, and it is a shame, because she is still fit, loves going for long walks on the beach, and exercises.

In any case, thank you again for your kind message.

Community Member

Hi JamesL,

Are you working full time in your 30's? Just wondering if the work colleagues are friendly - I used to form the best friendships when I was working. I'm not sure what the covid restrictions are in Adelaide and if you would be working from home?

I wonder if you have any special interests you could follow - I have made at least a couple of "friends"through music playing here - but that's it! I think having a common interest is the way to go.

I feel for your mother. Women form cliques and they don't like admitting newcomers! I often find men are friendlier! Would she consider getting a pet (dog or cat?) - at least for company of a sort. When I walk my little dog I at least get to chat to people also out walking their dogs. No friendships but at least it's a bit of human company!

If she can just find one good friend she will feel so much better. You too. But yep it's tough when you are older, and I honestly don't think we Aussies are always as friendly as we make ourselves out to be. It's also hard not to take it personally. It's not you or your Mum - it's them!

If you find a solution do let us know! Meanwhile we all keep trying. Being lonely is rotten! Really sympathize with you both. Loneliness is such a massive problem here on BB. It's a shame.

Community Member

Good morning Hannah3.
Thank you for your message.

Yes, I am working. However, I have always separated the private life from my professional life, meaning my colleagues cannot really be my friends. This is not to say that I don’t get along with them or that I don’t respect them, on the contrary. But I cannot fully trust them as I would someone I am not working with.

I have actually heard other people mentioning getting a dog to meet people, but to me in a way that sounds like people can’t trust you are a good person worthy to talk to unless they see you with a pet. And as you said, even then, you can’t really make friendships that way.
We do love animals actually, but since we are renting, we can’t have them at home. And also, we don’t have people to look after it if needed.

I do appreciate you taking the time to write to me. I wish you all the best as well. Have a lovely day

Hey JamesL,

For some reason I just stumbled across this which was written years ago. Hope things have turned up for you and your mother. If you play chess and need some fresh air at a local park… I’m always keen for a game. My 10 year daughter taught herself how to play in ten minutes by reading the instructions. Amazing!


I’ve travelled a lot and it’s hard in a new country… I know the feeling. 

Anyway, on that note. Happy Friday :- )