We never realize how easy we had it when we were kids. Wanted to find a friend? Your mom set you up on a play date. You looked over at the person in the desk next to you and passed a note. Even in college, you had a whole dorm full of people to potentially connect with. As an adult, you still need those personal connections, but they’re much harder to find.
Harder, but not impossible. You can do this.
1. If you’re feeling the desire for companionship, here’s the first thing you can try: access the people you already have relationships with. You have more than you realize. There may be a co-worker you joke with from time to time. See if they want to grab coffee with you before or after work. Ask the neighbor that you wave to across the street about what their day holds. Turn to the mom next to you at your son’s soccer game. Reach out. Connect.
2. Second, renew those old friendships. You may think it’s too late to talk to a college friend, but it’s really not. They’re on Facebook, Linked In, or Twitter and they’d probably love to hear from you. Often what prevents people from trying this is thinking, “I don’t have time to catch them up on my whole life.” So what? They probably don’t want to read a 20-page email summarizing every event of your life any more than you want to write it. So just skip it! Instead, try “Hi, I was thinking about you and wondered how you’re doing. I’m (in the construction business, married, a parent, etc.) now. How’s life?” Three sentences. You can do it.
3. Third, get out there. Meetup.com is a site that connects people with similar interests to others in their community. It’s not a dating site, it’s a friend site. Put in your zip code and see what’s around you. You can meet in a public place, and often it’s free or low-cost to attend the meetups.
Some other places to meet people:
o Take a class at the community center or local college.
o Join a place of worship and find a small group.
o Visit your local library. They offer community events more often than you’d think, and they’re also in the know with what else is going on locally.
o Take an exercise class, like yoga or karate.
o Take your dog to a dog park. (But don’t let your dog be the only one socializing.)
4. Fourth, volunteer. Many people think this option is just about what you can give, but there’s more to it than that. When you volunteer, you meet others who are in need, but also other people that care about people. Plus, it’s easier to get to know someone when you’re working together. You will not only find friends here, you will find quality friends. Now that’s something you can’t say about the local bar.
Making new friends can be an intimidating thing. Self-doubt and simple lack of information can cripple finding meaningful connections with other people. But the outcome is worth the effort. You may not feel ready for it now, but the funny thing is that the more you reach out, the more comfortable you will feel reaching out. You may start out with zero expectations that people will want to spend time with you, but as others start responding, you can’t help but feel bolstered by their reaction! I have never seen anyone who genuinely reached out for friendships not get some level of response. Chances are, the person you’re reaching out to wants to find a connection too.
'Til Next Session,
Stephanie Ann Adams
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