Do you remember when you were with your elementary school friends, all telling each other how you guys will be bffs for life, and no new people will be in the circle? Yeah, times have definitely changed huh? Granted, some of us are fortunate enough to have those same friends, but throughout our current years of life, we’ve made new friends and have also ended some friendships. As we get older, we also start to realize the importance of having a good friend/friend group. This is not to say that our current friends are not up to par, but as life tends to take us on a rollercoaster, we find ourselves in a new state, country, city, or stage of life where it’s necessary that we make new friends.
It was easier to make new friends when we were younger. We’re always around the same group of people whether that’s at our school, in our neighborhood, after-school activities, etc. So the thought of learning how to make new friends never came across our minds. Oftentimes, it can be a little intimidating to step out of our comfort zone and talk to a stranger who we would like to know. The thought may even sound a little silly because we may be used to someone approaching us with a romantic interest in mind, so doing the same to make a friend may not feel as natural.
I’ve been in the same conversation with different groups of people and the question always starts as “how does one even meet new people and become friends?” or “why is it so hard to make new friends?”. I realize that this isn’t something we were taught how to do and it’s not in the “Adulting manual book”. For some of us, it comes very easily but for most, not as much. It doesn’t even help that we’re in a whole panoramic so things aren’t fully opened up (not including Atlanta & Texas) for people to gather with one another like before.
So why is it hard to make new friends? Well we’re all different kinds of people. Some of us may be shy, timid, disappointed by some friendships in the past (friendship PTSD), scared of rejection… the list can go on. It’s not going to be easy and will require effort to make new friends. The following suggestions can help get you on the right path:
Join an activity/class
You can always meet new people when you enter in spaces that involve doing an activity together… that can be taking yoga classes, playing tennis, participating in a book club, going hiking, etc. It can be easy to get to know a person through having a common interest.
Use Social Media
Everything and almost everybody is on social media now. That person you’re following who seems really interesting and nice to know, connect with them via commenting on a post or their story. Engaging in their content can go a long way. Social media allows strangers to connect with one another. It’s a great opportunity to meet a new friend especially since we’re in a panny.
Reconnect with old friends
If you have some friends that you fell out with (no drama or negative fall out) it may be time to reignite that old flame. As we’re getting older, it can be easy to lose connection with a friend when life throws us some crazy curveballs and our focus is limited. If they were a good friend to you before, it doesn’t hurt to try again. This might even help you to feel comfortable with the habit of connecting with someone new.
Be that “yes” person
Take those opportunities people bring to you. We can’t meet new people if we’re always in the house or to ourselves. Say yes to those invitations to go out. Say yes to join that group. Say yes to that event. What’s the worst that can happen?
Have a positive outlook
I always say we attract what we think. Meeting new people with a positive attitude and remaining open to making new friends, can help attract people who are also looking for a friend. And for those of us with Resting B*tch Face, we can do our best to look more approachable when we’re out with the right mindset.
Meeting new friends can be fun when we’re open and ready for it! It’s not guaranteed that everyone we meet will be our life long friend but when we put ourselves in the position to meet those people, the odds can be in our favor. The next step is to willingly be vulnerable and open to deepening the friendship – I’m not saying start telling people your deepest darkest secret but share things about yourself and allow people to get to know the wonderful person you are.
Be consistent when meeting with people and follow up. Show up at events. Continue doing the things that you enjoy with people who have similar interests. Say hi to people lol, that can go a long way and start up a random conversation. Friendships are so important in life. Adulting isn’t easy or as fun as we may paint it but having good friendships can help make the journey more fulfilling.
Aderonke Solanke is a creative with a passion for growth, awareness, self-love, tech, reading, writing, authenticity, woman empowerment and many more. She occasionally blogs about self-improvement and awareness on her site Soul Renovations (soulrenovations.net).