By Sherri Gordon
Have the Right Mindset
When it comes to making friends as an adult, you have to have the right mindset. For instance, you cannot go into the process thinking that you are never going to make friends because your perception will become your reality. Instead, follow these tips and you will be well on your way to making some lasting friendships.
Focus on Being Open
In other words, don’t overthink the process of making friends. Instead of worrying about being rejected, or dwelling on the fact that you might not be fun enough, channel your inner elementary school self. Likewise, don’t assume that all your future friends have to be the same gender as you. Platonic male-female relationships are absolutely possible. Be open and inviting and see what happens.
Make a List of Potential Friends
Almost every person has one or two people in their life that they would like to get to know better. As a result, make a list of people you might like to hang out with sometime. Remember, making friends takes work and someone needs to take the initiative. After you have your list, consider extending an invitation for coffee and see what happens.
Put It On the Calendar
Let’s face it, everyone is busy. And despite your best intentions, if you don’t schedule it, you likely won’t do anything about making more friends. As a result, decide when you are going to ask that friend from the office to join you for appetizers after work. Set aside time to call the woman from your book club that you really connect with. The key is to schedule these initial contacts because if you don’t, you will just keep putting it off.
Yes, you are tired, busy, and over-scheduled. But, if someone invites you to do something, try to make it happen! If you have social anxiety, do your best to remember that this person invited you to a get together because they like you and want to get to know you better. Of course, if you cannot afford something or you are sick, then definitely decline the invite. But, make an effort to do something else together instead. Accepting invitations, even if you don’t know the person very well, is a great opportunity to open doors and expand your friendship opportunities.
Try New Things
When you are looking to make friends, it’s important to expand your horizons and try new things. You never know, you might just enjoy these new adventures. Plus, it will open up the possibility of making friends in new and interesting places. Take an art class or a dance class, you might not be the only one stepping out of their comfort zone and that in and of itself can be something to bond over.
Know Where to Find Potential Friends
Part of the challenge of making new friends is knowing where to look. Too many times, people assume that there are just no potential friends out there. But the problem is not the lack of opportunities for friendships, but the inability to put forth the effort to find them.
Leverage Your Social Media Accounts
The purpose of social media is to connect people. Whether they live far away or you haven’t seen them since high school, your social media accounts are ripe with opportunities to make friends. Of course, you are technically already “friends.” with them online, but if you see a friend post about something you are interested in, reach out and make a connection. You also can use social media to organize get-togethers. For instance, if you want to have a poker night at your house, post something on your social media account to see who might be interested.
Join a Gym
It seems kind of cliché to suggest meeting people at the gym. But people do it all the time. The next time you are in Zumba class or you’re walking on the treadmill, strike up a casual conversation with the person next to you.
Then, chat and say hello each time you see each other at the gym. Who knows? You might have the beginnings of a great friendship in the making.
Attend a Meet-Up or Networking Event
Whether you work from home or go into an office every day, meet-ups and other networking events are a great way to meet new people and potential friends. Not only are these events filled with people looking to connect with other professionals, but they also are great places to meet people who share the same passions. You can learn about these types of get-togethers through apps like Meet Up and Eventbrite.
Participate in a Sports League
If you like sports, consider joining an adult recreational league. Basketball, volleyball, tennis, golf, and softball
are all great choices. Not only will you be doing something you enjoy and getting in some exercise, but sports
teams usually go out for drinks or pizza afterward, which is a great way to get to know someone.
Maintain the Friendships You Make
After you have established a few connections, it’s important to stay in contact. Friendships are like plants. If you don’t water them regularly, they will die. Consequently, make sure you are regularly reaching out to your new friends; call or text consistently just to see how they are doing. Ask about their life. Show an interest in the things that are important to them. A good friend doesn’t make the friendship all about their needs; but also takes an active interest in the other person.