The Art of Making New Friends
Do you find it harder to make friends as you get older? Sometimes we have lost touch with friends due to certain life events. Maybe you’ve moved and haven’t been able to meet many people. Many women have spent most of their younger lives taking care of families. The art of making new friends as we age is really less of an art, and more about just showing up and being open.
Kids grow up, divorces happen, and suddenly you have A LOT more time to yourself than you’d like. I don’t know about you, but when it comes to friends, I value quality over quantity. And quality friendships are hard to come by in the era of social media.
Be Friends With Yourself First
The first step in learning the art of making new friends is to be friends with yourself. By this I mean get to know yourself again. What things do you like to do? What new things would you like to try? Some of us have spent so long putting others first that we haven’t given any thought to who we are or what we want.
Ask yourself what qualities are important in friendships? Loyalty and honesty are huge for me. Being available at least for the big things is also important. As with any relationship. it’s very important you get clear on your expectations about friendship.
This is how you get clear on boundaries. When you are clear on boundaries and expectations, you can then focus on finding friends that align with most of your values. When your values are aligned, you can have a much closer bond.
Where To Make New Friends
Now that you have a good idea about what you like and things you’d like to try, you need to start getting out and doing those things. If you have trouble coming up with ways to meet new friends, here’s a few ideas:
Join a Bible study or women’s group at your local church. Many groups host dinners or retreats as well as in home bible studies. It’s a great place to meet women who share similar values and beliefs.
Nothing brings people together like the shared love of music. I’ve met many great people from all over the world through our love of one particular band.
There’s probably a group for every type of interest out there. And if you don’t find it, go ahead and start your own group! Just be prepared to arrange events on a fairly regular basis to keep people interested in the group.
Wine or brewery tours
With the increasing popularity of microbreweries and wineries, tours have sprouted up everywhere. Here we have bus tours that take groups to several different wineries and/or breweries. What easier way to meet people than when you’ve relaxed and laughed over a few drinks!
Throw a block party
A nice way to meet your neighbors is to throw an old fashioned block party. You can make flyers and take them door to door to introduce yourself and gauge the interest. Ask them to bring items like chips, cooler with drinks, paper plates, ect….
Join a book club, quilting guild, hiking group, or any other hobby group. You’ll already have something in common to talk about.
Host a wine tasting potluck
Once you meet a few nice people, have them over for a wine tasting. Create a theme for the evening, such as bringing their favorite Cab or their favorite whites for everyone to try. Have small nosh plates to pair with the wines.
Join a sports team
Sign up with your local parks and recreation, or organize a team through work. Many teams get together after games to hang out and have a few drinks. You’ll be in a team environment and staying active, too!
Take group lessons
Is there something you’ve always wanted to learn? Many places offer group classes for learning guitar, golf, cooking, and more.
A workout class
Take a cycling or other group class at your local gym. Your gym may not be holding classes just yet, but when they do, give it a try!
Not only does it make you feel good about helping others, you’re likely to meet other kind-hearted people volunteering their time. You can usually find opportunities everywhere–shelters, schools, and hospitals just to name a few. I have a friend who volunteers at a wolf dog rescue and loves it!
Take a small gift or baked goods to a neighbor
This old fashioned act of kindness is almost always appreciated. If you are worried about taking food, a plant would be a nice gift, too. Strike up a little conversation to get to know them and their family.
Get on the Next Door app for your neighborhood and see if anyone wants to do a morning or evening walk. It’s a good idea to be friendly with your neighbors. You’ll have friends close by. In addition, you can look out for each other if someone’s away from home.
The Art of Making New Friends As Adults
Some people are just born with people skills, but some of us are a bit more reserved. Making friends in our younger days seemed much easier. Now it’s like going to the dentist– you know you should, you know you need to, but it involves some discomfort. But once you do it, you feel so much better!
The whole point of getting out is to MEET PEOPLE! So at the next event, take a deep breath and strike up a conversation with someone! Smile and be approachable! Talk and laugh, but be authentic. You don’t need to pretend to be someone you aren’t to try to impress people. Genuine friendships are based on genuine people. Remember, quality over quantity.
If you meet someone a few times who seems nice, invite them to meet up for coffee or something. If you think the art of making friends sounds a lot like dating, it is! But hopefully without all of the games and rituals that can come with dating.
Be open to trying new things.
Being willing to try new things can open a lot of opportunities to make interesting new friends. So if someone invites you to go somewhere or do something you normally wouldn’t do, go for it. As long as you are relatively safe, don’t let fear of the unknown stop you from giving it a try. People are drawn to others who are fun-loving and adventurous.
Be open to different groups of people.
Many of us stick with what’s familiar, but it’s good to broaden our horizons. Venture outside of your usual group and make friends with people with different interests and different cultures. Widening your circle could open up a whole new world of things to try with interesting new people.
A few other tips
It’s sad that at this age, we sometimes struggle with acceptance. Try to remember that some people will love you, and some people won’t. Of course we want to be accepted and liked by everyone, but it’s not realistic.
Remember the work you did above to figure out who you are and what your values are? You want friends who align with those. Unfortunately, the others are not your people, and that’s perfectly ok. It says nothing about who you are as a person, or how likable you are.
Don’t measure your worth by how many people like you. And DEFINITELY don’t measure it by how much interaction you get on social media. Don’t confuse social media “friendships” with true friendships.
Finally, the last tip on the art of making new friends is to BE the friend you want to have. Be available. Remember important dates, cheer them on and support them. Initiate plans first sometimes. Don’t use them as a sounding board for all of your problems all the time. Of course, true friends want to be there for you, but it’s draining when the conversations are all about you and your problems.
Here’s to good friends and good times! Enjoy!