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 doing this the majority of the time. But there are ways to help break the ice and bridge the gap between total strangers and meeting someone with some kind of connection already.
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. Not only is it a great way to meet new friends, but can mean doing something you’ve longed to try, but non of your current friends share an interest in. 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 group, to get that support system you’re looking for.
If you’re not sure where to find 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 haven’t really spoke to could be someone you have a real connection with.
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 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:
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 singing those football chants with.
This is the perfect app for those who are looking to build friends in their area. It works the same way as Tinder in 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 friendships is something we need to ensure we do too. Here’s how you can do that.
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 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. Pick 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. This 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. 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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