Making new friends is much easier said than done. It’s scary because in most cases you have to get out of your comfort zone and put yourself out there. It can be as easy as saying hello to a fellow parent at your child’s school or perhaps a friendly wave to a new neighbor as you make the awkward eye contact during your walk to get the mail.
Once the weirdness becomes a thought of the past, it becomes a lot easier to talk to new prospective friends. In most cases, you are your biggest road block. Get over the high school stigmas associated with meeting new people and be yourself. Start out with a generic conversation starter like hello, I like your outfit or a discussion about the weather. Those icebreakers will give you the time to feel comfortable and help open the floor for future conversations.
Remember it’s hard to recall the first awkward conversations you had with the people you call friends now, but there was a period when you were just acquaintances. Then you found a common ground and built your friendship around that. Whether you were both parents, members of the same gym, or perhaps had mutual friends – there was a commonality that brought you together. Look for common ground with others and build relationship with those elements.
Building new friendships means spending quality time together. It can be attending a book club together or maybe just grabbing a cup of coffee. Making new friendships means learning about someone and sharing stories about each other’s life. Think of your budding friendship as a plant. In order for it to grow you have to water it and provide it with sunlight. Friendships are quite similar. If you want to make new friends, you have to be willing to put forth the effort and same with the other individual. Keep in mind, some people are more outgoing than others and it’s okay to have reserves in that perspective. But it’s necessary to take advantage of opportunities to cultivate your newfound friendship.
It doesn’t matter if you’re the new person at work or church, having friends is important because it integrates that aspect into your life and brings it to a level of normalcy. Friendships are great support systems when you’re internally struggling and need advice. The reinforcement that friends provide also helps fill the soul.
One thing to be cautious about, when meeting new people, is to always be genuine. Be true to yourself and don’t be someone that you’re not. If you don’t like fishing or running, then don’t pretend that you do just so someone will be friends with you. Find people that share common interests and goals and build your friendship. You’ll find that it’s much easier to maintain friendships and bond with people when you’re being yourself.