Making new friends is never an easy task, especially for the introverted or for the usual loner. Many times we get into a rut and we don’t have access to places where we can meet new people outside of work.
This is a barrier, but should not be an excuse. Let’s breakdown the different kinds of friendships, you heard of them before. There are the work friends, regular friends, and a best friend.
If you need to get beyond the acquaintances, and we know who they are, we need to make an effort. Expanding the social network is needed and we will get to that, but make the decision to move forward in expanding beyond the present state. Start by setting up yourself for success and acknowledge there will be plenty of duds. That’s OK!
You will know if the person actually is interested in you. They won’t talk about themselves all the time and there will be give and take. Friends will be there when life is good and crummy said Oprah Winfrey. “Lots of people want to ride with you in the limo, but what you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down.”
These are the ingredients of a budding friendship. Get ready to have a social life as an adult with the following tips. It is hard to make friends as an adult, so let’s get this out of the way first! There is a drop in our connections from because we move, get married, and have kids. This is all part of the transition, a study by the Psychological Bulletin found in 2013.
“After young adulthood and throughout the rest of adult life, when remaining life time is perceived as increasingly limited, emotion regulation goals become increasingly important. People emphasize emotional aspects of relationships and focus on close relationships, such as those with family members, with expected pleasant interactions that most likely satisfy emotion regulation goals.”
Join a club at church or a Meet-up group in the area that focuses on similar likes. Don’t be afraid to follow up and met people from these encounters. It can be scary, but put yourself out there!
If you love animals go to the dog park to meet other pet owners. You can also volunteer at pet shelters. Pet owners make good friends!
Professional events are a great way. During travel or on the go, you can meet great people with similar interests. People during these events are more open in introducing themselves. Some of these events are free, but there are those you have to pay for, make the sacrifice and find one you like.
Then there are those everyday places we go to like the coffee shop where we can build relationships. When you become friendly, with the regulars it is easy to connect, and spark conversations. You can meet people at the grocery stores, book stores, or going for hikes. Look to be more open minded.
Invite a neighbor for a barbeque, or for a walk. Be neighborly, as these days we just keep to ourselves. Invite them to a PaintNite in the area. These are fun and it will open you up to more possibilities.
Think about people who drifted apart, maybe it is worth reviving the friendship. Learn to forgive and apologize if it is your fault. But it is not worth it if it will allow more drama in your life. If not, look at other contacts you have and reach out.
Take an art, writing, or another fun class at the community college or through your community. This can lead to a wine night to study and communicate with people better.
Some other tips: You need to do your part. Offer support and be an encouragement.
Sometime you need to be inconvenienced like go to play you don’t want to go to, eat at a restaurant you don’t want to go to, or watch a film you can’t agree on. Compromise is important. It creates a foundation. If there is no balance and they have to do it their way all the time, communicate that with them. In any relationship there is going to be issues. So forgive and shake it off.
Be transparent and don’t think you know it all.
“Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: ‘What! You too? I thought I was the only one” - C.S. Lewis
When we can relate to each other and be honest that we don’t have it all figured out, it shows we are human. It is fine not to have it all together all the time. We are not robots and people of course want something more real from us.