I feel for you. I feel for your loneliness & feelings of frustration at trying to form meaningful friendships...
I completely agree with you that it seems to be a common issue that a lot of people struggle with, & that perhaps it reflects something about our society &/or the way in which we interact with each other.
I think it’s fantastic that you’re proactive. I admire your efforts to make friends by volunteering, joining sports group, etc. You’re putting yourself out there, & I feel that’s very brave.
I think possibly what happens is if we connect with people over 1-2 common interests (e.g. sports) the friendship may not deepen simply because the basis of the friendship is quite literally just those 1-2 common interests. Also, I think there are people who don’t necessarily join groups to make friends; they are predominantly there for the activity itself & not much else.
My personal experience with forming deeper friendships is it helps to let people see the richness & depth of who we are, & not just 1-2 interests, because we are so much more than that...
For example, someone much be a keen athlete, struggles with anxiety, loves gardening, passionate about alleviating homelessness, works 2 jobs, highly sensitive, loves the beach & is caring.
Granted, that is purely a hypothetical example, but I suppose what I’m getting at is in order to have deep friendships, I feel it helps to show our richness & depth....
So, I would suggest maybe try building on the relationships that you have with your acquaintances. Maybe ask them out for coffee or lunch, & try to talk about a range of things. Let the conversation flow, & I would suggest not limiting it to whatever the club/society/organisation that brought you together.
Sure, yes, some people might say “no” or show up, & have no interest in deepening the relationship. Rejection hurts, but I think if you try often enough, hopefully you’ll start finding those people who are also looking for deeper friendships :)
Personally, I have build some incredible friendships by initially connecting with people over 1-2 common interests, but then deepening it by showing the many sides of who I am as a person.
By showing my “range” & connecting with people outside of what initially drew us together, that’s how those deeper friendships happened for me :)
I hope this maybe gives you some ideas...
Kindness & care,