Friendships are a pretty important part of our lives

Posted on Feb 8 2017 - 2:00pm by Danielle Harrod

Friendships are a pretty important part of our lives, and vital to our own happiness. Research shows that as we age and make our way through life, those who have strong friendships, are the happiest and the healthiest – and to be honest, with the state the world is in right now, we need friends more than ever.

So whether you’re looking to meet new people and build strong friendships from scratch, or just trying to maintain the friendships you already have, we have some tips for both.

Creating new Friendships

Trying to make new friends can be a pretty daunting task. The thought of going up to a stranger and sparking up a conversation, is definitely scary enough to stop you the majority of the time. But there are ways to help break the ice beforehand.

Join clubs in your area.

Joining a club is a great way to ensure you have something in common with someone, which is of course a necessity when building a new friendship. Plus, it can be something you’re really craving if any of your current friends don’t feel the same way you do about something important in your life. For example, if you’re the only one in your group of friends to have any children, it would be worth you finding a baby and mum’s group, to get that support system you’re looking for.

If you’re not sure where to find out about clubs in your area, you can check out Meetup to see what’s available to you.

Reach out to people already in your lives.

You never know, that colleague or acquaintance you see every day but don’t think too much about – and to be honest, they probably don’t think that much of you either – could be someone you have a real connection with, neither of you just never bothered to explore it.

So next time you’re grabbing a coffee before work, why not buy one for that person in the office you always say “hi” to, but never spend enough time to get to know. It could be the beginning of something great.

Use technology and social media to your advantage.

We are definitely in the digital age, so why not use it for more than stalking people you went to school with a decade ago and aimlessly scrolling through memes – although don’t stop doing that, because that’s a vital part of life. Instead, why not use it to make new connections and reach out to new people.

Some great apps for this are:

Tinder Social. Admittedly, people might be reluctant to try this one given that Tinder is normally used for meeting love interests and casual hook-ups, but if you use it right, Tinder Social can help you meet people for platonic purposes too.

ATLETO. This app is specifically great for all those sports lovers out there looking for someone else to scream at the TV with and spend hours chanting football chants with.

Bumble BFF. This is the perfect app for those who are looking to build friends in their area. It works the same way as Tinder in the sense that you swipe and match with people based on their profiles. Only this time, you’re probably more concerned about what cute clothes you can borrow than how kissable their lips look.

Maintaining Current Friendships

While making new friends is an important thing everyone will have to do a few times in their lives, maintaining our current ones is something we need to ensure we do pretty much all of the time. Here’s how to make sure you do that:

Make time.

It’s so easy to get lost in your own lives. Work can become hectic, your family can become a handful (especially as we start to make our own) and of course, tiredness can get the better of you. But no matter how much you want to sit and binge watch Netflix in your pyjamas and a face mask on, it’s important that you take time out of your busy relaxing schedule, and reach out to a friend for dinner or a cinema night.

It doesn’t take that long, it doesn’t have to be expensive and it’s a simple but effective way to make sure you keep your friendships strong and everlasting.

If you’re really quite bad at managing this, then it could be beneficial to make it a monthly thing. Big a date and stick to it, embed it into your life and your schedule to make sure you don’t get side-tracked.

Be sure to pay attention to what your friends are telling you.

Your friends might be reaching out to you, but your busy schedule is getting in the way of you realising, which can quickly make them feel unimportant and disconnected from you.

If your friend asks you to go for a drink after work but you had plans to bury yourself in cheese and bread alone on your sofa, suck it up for a night and go be with your friend – they might really need you right now. Or you know, if you really can’t sacrifice bread and cheese for being in public (which I completely understand), why not invite them to join you.

Use technology to keep the conversation flowing.

Group chats are a vital part of life right now. I don’t know anybody that doesn’t have at least three on the go at any one time. How else are you supposed to make plans, laugh at the awful dates your friends have been on or vent your problems to?

Definitely get you and your friends in one of these to ensure there are no huge gaps in your friendships or conversations.

While all these tips are great ways to help you build and keep a strong network of people around you, there are some general thoughts you should keep in mind while doing so.

– While technology is a great way to meet new people and maintain your friendships, it can also get in the way of life pretty easily and ironically, become the very reason you struggle to connect with others. Don’t let that be the case, take moments to step away from your phone, laptop or tablet.

– Be spontaneous. Sometimes your friends are going to want to make last minute plans and you can’t say no just because you’re not feeling up to it – because let’s be honest, you probably don’t feel up to it 90% of the time. Not only that, but being spontaneous might be the thing that causes you to develop a new friendship with someone in the office. If a colleague or two want to go for a drink after work and ask you to come along, say yes!

Always be on the look for new opportunities to create new friendships, you never know, the next friend might become an everlasting one.

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