Articles about romantic and business relationships are plentiful, but what about friendships? Friendships are discussed relatively infrequently, but they form the foundation of support for many of us. This is the first in a 4-part series about friendships, and as always I welcome your comments and feedback.
Finding good friends when we’re in high school or at university is relatively simple. The atmosphere creates a common bond that helps us find people who have similar outlooks on life.
Once we get out of school, though, finding friends can be more of a challenge, and as we get older, we also get more selective about who we want to hang out with. We realize that certain personality types or vastly differing interests just don’t work for us.
What do you do to find friends if you’ve moved to a new town? Or are recently divorced? Or simply want to broaden your social circles? Here are a few suggestions:
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1. Get out and do things you enjoy. This is similar to the advice that singles receive to meet a new romantic partner, but it works to build new friendships, too. Put yourself in situations with other people doing things you enjoy, and at the very least you’ll have the shared activity in common with the people you’re meeting.
2. Be proactive. If you meet someone who seems to be on the same wavelength as you, don’t be afraid to see if they want to meet for coffee. Or, at least that’s what women do. Guys, I think you rely more on sports like golf, tennis, fishing, etc. Or drinking beer and checking out women. Whatever works; just make sure you take the initiative when you meet someone who is good friendship material.
3. Use Facebook and Linked In. At the very least you can maintain a connection with someone new through social media, and then follow up at a later time with a party invitation. Again, the idea is not to be shy and to pursue quality people who you think will add to your social circle.
4. Being open to party invitations. Especially if you’re an introvert, this can be challenging since it takes a lot of energy to immerse yourself in a crowd of people you don’t know. Nonetheless, if you want to make new friends, parties are a good way to do it. Your good friends were once total strangers.
A very good friend of mine and his wife have a policy to accept all invitations unless they have a conflict. As a result, they now have a wide circle of friends and are never lacking for something to do.
5. Take a class. Adult education courses will put you back in the school setting and again you’ll be in a situation where you have at least one thing in common with the people you meet.
6. Join a sports league. Especially if you enjoy being active, this is a great way to meet people with similar interests.
7. Take your dog for a walk. Particularly if you have an unusual breed, you’ll be amazed at how many stop to talk with you. Or go to the dog park. Dogs do funny things and you’ll have great conversation starters.
The bottom line is to stay open and to be aware of interesting people who have the potential to morph into a good friend.
How do you make new friends?