Making new friends can be difficult but also rewarding. Life events, such as moving to another neighborhood, starting a new job or having a baby, can isolate us from our former support group and make developing new friendships more important than ever. Some tips can help to make new friends over time.
Tips on Meeting People and Building Friendships
Good friendships improve all aspects of your life, providing comfort and joy, strengthening your health, providing companionship, and preventing loneliness and isolation. As we age, many of us struggle to make new friends or maintain old friendships. Work, family, and other commitments can all get in the way. While making and keeping friends requires effort, it’s an investment that will make your life richer and more pleasurable. Whatever your age or circumstances, it’s never too late to make new friends or reconnect with old ones.
Friendships are an important part of life, but many of us find it difficult to find, make or keep friends. Life events, such as moving to another neighborhood, starting a job or having a baby, can isolate us from our former support group and make forging new friendships more important than ever. In other cases, shyness or poor social skills can prevent us from taking the first step in forming a friendship. This article offers practical suggestions that may help you to expand your social circle or reinforce the relationships you already have.
You may want friendship, but what kind of friend would you make? Factors to consider include:
Attitudes to others – we can drive potential friends away by demanding they share our attitudes, beliefs or behaviors. If you accept that other people have a right to be different from you, then you open yourself up to the possibility of experiencing relationships that bring a fresh perspective to your life.
Treatment of other people – think about how you like to be treated, then offer the same to the people in your life.
Don’t expect instant results – good friends aren’t made overnight. Sharing your deepest secrets in one night won’t necessarily create a close friendship. It may even drive the other person away. Take it slowly. Divulge ‘safe’ secrets first, and allow the relationship to hold some weight before you share the meatier issues in your life.
Curb the urge to criticize – constantly griping about the failures and weaknesses of other people can make your listener feel wary of you. How do they know you aren’t complaining about their flaws to other friends?
Don’t gossip – potential friends aren’t going to trust you if you constantly gossip to them about the trials and tribulations of other people in your life.
Don’t compromise yourself – each one of us has standards of morality and behavior. Don’t allow yourself to compromise yourself for the sake of ‘fitting in’ with a group.
Sometimes it can be difficult to differentiate between real friends and mere acquaintances::
An acquaintance is someone you exchange small talk with as you go about your day, trade jokes or insights with online, or chat about sports with in a bar. While most of these relationships will never progress beyond an acquaintance level, with effort, real friendships can blossom from online contacts, people you meet on social media sites, or from neighborhood or work acquaintances.
A friend is someone who shares a deeper level of interaction or communication with you; he or she is someone you can really connect with, face-to-face. A friend is someone you feel comfortable sharing your feelings with, someone who’ll listen to you without judging you or telling you how you should think or feel. As friendship works both ways, a friend is also someone you feel comfortable supporting and accepting, and someone with whom you share a bond of trust and loyalty.
Things to remember
Life events, such as moving to another neighborhood, starting a job or having a baby, can isolate us from our former support group and make forging new friendships more important than ever.
Participate in work social functions, join a hobby group or volunteer for charity work.
Friendships need love, time, attention and trust if they are to survive.