It's taken for granted when one is in school how many social and professional resources are at ones disposal. Especially in college, there is a cornucopia of networking and learning opportunities, from dormitory events, to lab assignments, to campus clubs and activities.
The social dynamics upon leaving the school system once and for all are of course an abrupt change of pace. The relaxed opportunities to meet people are gone, as most of one's connections are made through work; not living quarters or activities, and thus the dynamics of interacting with people is severely changed. It is hard, for example, to befriend someone who is your boss, or is a co-worker you don't see outside of the dress code and busy-work of the office or wherever your job may take you.
There is no guide, then, to making connections or friends once one has graduated from the forced social structure of education, and the temporary stature of jobs when the economy is booming further illustrates the difficulty of new social bonds. For me, everyone I knew from school; whether elementary, junior high, or high school, is long gone, many of them physically thrust to all corners of the country or even world, the others a natural result of the drifting that occurs when you no longer have classes or lunch breaks together.
And of course, it becomes hard to re-forge the types of bonds that grow and are tested by the perils of school, particularly in a smaller city where the resources of a large metropolitan area do not exist. It's easy to go to work, go home, call it a day. It's easy for social isolation to become the norm, for office work and house work to occupy free time and sleep the rest of it. It's easy to go through entire years without meeting new people, without forming new relationships, and without having someone to laugh at dumb jokes with, or cry on a shoulder with. For a low life like me, whose social life deteriorated completely to the whims of isolation, anxiety, and apathy, many, many years ago, the difficulty in somehow rebuilding what was lost is higher than ever. There is no guide, no step-by-step instruction, no easy function you can attend. The world spins on. That it spins on without anyone knowing of my existence is just a facet of life.