Navigating friendships as you grow older can be tricky. Most of your old friends are from your university and secondary school days. As an adult you may be a bit more focused on self-discovery, climbing up the corporate ladder, building a business, or even settling into a new marriage. Navigating through these different seasons and making new friends can be a bit of a struggle and sometimes you find yourself going through life with fleeting and surface/shallow relationships.
When it comes to friendships, I personally believe in quality over quantity. You don’t have to have a large number of friends; this can sometimes make it harder to keep up. A few good friends will make up for a crowd. So how do you make new friends as an adult?
Make a decision/mentally step out of your comfort zone
Everything starts in the mind. You have to decide that you’re going to make new friends and not shrink back at the slightest hurdle. So if you attend an event and you notice there are cliques, as this may be a possibility, don’t take to your heels and tell yourself there’s no need because everyone is already friends with everybody. Make the decision to follow through and talk to someone.
Take an interest in your neighbours
In this world of ‘drink water and mind your business,’ you may be unsure of how friendly is too friendly when it comes to your neighbours. Nobody wants to be perceived as the annoying nosy neighbour who doesn’t know her boundaries. So it’s easy to just go to work and come back and only contact your neighbours if contributions are needed for communal payments. But this won’t help in making friends. Instead of the odd one-word greeting, you give when you see them, strike up a friendly conversation and ask non-intrusive questions. Over time this could breed trust and friendship.
Join and get active in a community
You can join a community; a local church, book club, career-oriented community etc. Social media is a great tool you can use to discover these communities. Browse using hashtags and see what you find. Also, when you join, don’t just join to attend meetings and leave, get involved. Offer to take responsibility in areas where help is needed. Reach out to the quiet ones that seem as lost as you. They may also be looking to make new friends and you may both end up being answers to one another’s prayers.
Attend networking events
Sometimes we attend these networking events and we just ‘siddon look’. Basically, we stand on the sidelines. Have a plan before you go. Like I said earlier it starts in the mind. Decide on the least number of people you’ll speak to before leaving and stick to it. For the overly confident, it’s not just about hearing your own voice and selling yourself. Seek to listen and understand as well and then figure out how you can provide value. Most people warm up to a good listener.
There’s really no guarantee that these tips will provide you with lifelong friends, but you’ll definitely be well on your way. Good luck!