Whether you’ve always been the life of the party or a wallflower, you can find and make new friends. As we get older, it becomes challenging to make more friends. But anyone can have a full and rewarding social life – even if you don’t have a single friend at the moment.
Try these strategies to enhance your social life today:
1. Get out of the house. Potential friends aren’t going to line up and knock on your door. There are many ways to meet new people.
- Volunteer for a cause that’s meaningful to you. You’re likely to run into people with similar interests.
- Join a club. Meetup.com is a good place to look for others that share your interests. You can stay as busy as you like. There are groups that meet for soccer, meditation, card games, and anything else you can imagine.
- Ask coworkers to go out. Get a group together and have dinner or walk on the local trail. More people are sulking at home than you think. Help yourself and someone else enhance their social life.
2. Be real. Avoid the trap of believing that you need to pretend to be more interesting, funny, or cool. You’ll be forced to either keep up the act long-term, or lose your new friends because you misled them. It’s too much work to pretend to be someone else. Have the courage to be yourself.
3. Determine the type of friend you want. The person you say “hi” and “bye” to in the next cubicle isn’t the same type of friend you’d turn to when your favorite cat is run over by a car. Are you looking for casual friends to meet for happy hour on Thursday nights? Or do you want another close friend to share life’s ups and downs?
- There’s no right or wrong answer, but you can’t find it if you’re unable to define it. Think about what you need more in your life right now.
4. Avoid being afraid. You might feel intimidated when meeting new people. Or you’re afraid of rejection. Will you be able to maintain a conversation? These are common fears. They’re also unnecessary.
- Others are consumed with the same fears. They don’t have enough mental space left to judge you. The people that judge or reject you aren’t good friendship material anyway.
- Visualize yourself confidently approaching a group of people. See the group accepting you with open arms. Keep performing this exercise until it feels believable. Then go out and do it.
5. Allow the friendship to grow. Hanging out once won’t result in a solid friendship. Keep in touch with the people you enjoy. It takes time and frequent interaction to build a true friendship. Avoid letting the good ones slip away.
6. Keep an open mind. You might have an image of the perfect friend burned into your mind, but be open to other possibilities. The best friend you’ve yet to meet might be completely different. Give everyone a chance to be a friend. Keep your mind open.
7. Be persistent. Keep going out until your social life is full. It might take a while, depending on your social skills. But even the most socially awkward of us can find and keep friends. Stick with it until you’re satisfied.
Friendships add an additional layer of enjoyment to life. We all need friends for camaraderie and general socializing. Close friends are a true gift. Life is better when you have at least one, good, close friend. Get out there and meet a few new people.