Looking back on the last few years, I wonder if I’ve excused myself from a number of friend-making occasions and conversations largely because it was hard for me to imagine bonding with someone for whom orthodontia — not to mention school lunches, tech use rules and homework — was simply a thing of the past. They said, “Nope, no kids,” and maybe my eyes were the ones to glaze.
That’s the perception Ms. Sandler found among some of the people she interviewed:
“It’s toughest in your late 30s and early 40s,” “Going Solo” author Eric Klinenberg says. That’s when social isolation tends to peak among people without kids. “What people report everywhere is this experience of watching friends just peel off into their small domestic worlds. That’s the real stress point,” he says, not aging and dying alone, as people fear — and strangers and family members alike tend to admonish — but the loneliness between when friends have babies and when they become empty nesters.