Making friends can be daunting, no matter what age you are. But the older we get the more difficult it becomes. Plus we now we have the added barrier of social distancing.
Here are some of our tips for making and keeping friends for the long haul!
Remember that you are not the only one.
It is very common to experience difficulty making friends. It’s something that we are all either currently dealing with or have dealt with in the past. We just aren’t open about it.
Talk about it.
You may think it was way easier to make friends as a child. In part, that’s because the people around you were talking about it. Growing up, parents and teachers were constantly discussing our development and the process of building relationships. The more we can recognise that talking about this actually provides the pathway to closer friendships, and will ultimately will really help us to build and sustain our connection.
Get set up!
The first step in making a new friend is to think of where you might meet them. This is where your existing social network comes into play — whether it be a friend, co-worker, or distant relative. Think about “who are the valuable people in my social network that can connect me with other people I might not know?” We already have blind romantic dates, so why not a blind friendship ones?
Deepen your current connections.
We all have workplace acquaintances that we know deep down could be something more. Find a common denominator you can bond over such as a shared hobby or interest! You don’t have to talk about work. Making an effort to gradually open up about different parts of your life that can help to deepen that sense of connection. Talk about your life or what you like to do in your free time. Perhaps set up a Zoom coffee chat with your favourite colleague or schedule a meet up with your neighbour.
Use friendship apps.
You may already use Tinder, what’s one more app? Apps are a great way to meet people. There are also apps and sites where you can connect with people who share a similar hobby. Apps are a great alternative to meeting in person and more convenient since you can do it all from the comfort of your own home!
Remind yourself why you’re doing it.
Normalise the anxiety and awkwardness — it’s part of the process. Just keep your eye on the prize: a new friend! We need to remind ourselves that this is uncomfortable. This makes me feel nervous. It makes me feel insecure. But I’m still choosing to do this for me.
Quality not quantity.
Working to build a relationship with someone you really connect with will be the best case scenario in the long run. To be honest, it’s exhausting to commit yourself to hanging out with a lot of different people. So focus on the people you truly want to build deeper relationships with.
Know when to let go.
We aren’t meant to hold on to every single connection we make. It is important to deepen meaningful relationships, but it’s also okay to drift from some people. Whether we’re moving, growing up, or changing, sometimes we lose certain connections — and that is okay!