Many adults may find at certain points in their lives that they need to meet new friends. Perhaps a recent move prompts this realization, or people coming out of the early parenting years realize when they have more time that their friends are few and far between. Whatever the reason for desiring to meet new friends, there are several ways to go about finding friends and establishing friendships.
Especially as adults, we tend to be pickier about the friends we choose. We have firmly established ideals, morals and ethics and we may not want to choose friends who do not share common interests with us. Our standards tend to firm up as we age, meaning that we’ll probably have a definite idea about the kind of people that would make the best friends. Finding lifelong friends can be somewhat analogous to dating, and more challenging than it is to meet new friends of a casual nature.
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The first step, of course, in making new friends is to “get out there” in public settings. Friends don’t exactly land at your doorstep. If you are looking for a friend who shares common interests with you, consider joining classes or organizations where your interests are emphasized. If you’re passionate about reading, look to book clubs or classes on literature. If you are an avid fisher search for fish sporting organizations.
If you instead want meet new friends who are most likely to share your moral code, consider active participation in churches or organizations dedicated to causes most dear to you. This has you meeting new people on a regular basis, and gives you the opportunity to make new friends, potentially. Also consider volunteer work in your children’s schools, or opportunities to participate in social organizations at work. In other words, go to places where you are most likely to find people like you.
Think of the following opportunities as ways to meet new friends:
- Joining a church
- Joining a hobby club
- Attending local events
- Volunteering in your community
- Taking classes
- Attending social gatherings of work associates
- Joining a gym
When you attempt to meet new friends, you should also consider what you bring to a relationship. Certainly we all want a chance to talk and share our feelings, but we also need to express interest in what other people think and feel. Don’t monopolize conversations, but actually learn to listen to what others are saying. The old adage that to make a friend you must first be a friend is true. At the same time, don’t over commit yourself to people who are a constant drain on your time or seem to want to take advantage of your friendship. Look at the goal to meet new friends as one where you look for an equal.
It’s also important in the early stages of meeting people not to be too effusive or clingy. Just as in “dating’ relationships, your joy at being able to meet new friends might translate to becoming inconvenient to a new friend. Instead, advance carefully, and observe the other person’s space, boundaries and comfort limits with you. Keep your behavior mannerly and don’t immediately drop into a new friend’s house whenever you feel like it, or call them every day. Sometimes a friendship like this will work, but many people may see this behavior as possessive or oppressive.
When you meet new friends that really don’t work out, gradually distance yourself from these people, but don’t be rude or insulting. Simply fill your time with other commitments and be unavailable to someone who is not a good fit with you. However, do remember, that even casual friends provide good company. It’s well to have a few casual friends and pleasant company even if these people don’t qualify as your next best friend!