Working out how to make friends as an adult is akin to working out why I have thousands of hair grips and yet can never find one when I need them!
According to a new report released by the Mental Health Foundation, relationships that are vital to health and well-being are under threat by modern life, which can isolate people from one another and lead to loneliness. UK-wide research* carried out for The Lonely Society? shows that one in ten people often feel lonely (11%) and half think that people are getting lonelier in general (48%).
Think back to your school years, be honest it was basically never-ending roller coaster of friendships, from epic love affairs to devastating fall outs. It was easy, the people you spent every day with automatically became your circle of friends; sports teams, drama club, double maths on a thursday afternoon…ideal pools of friends.
I have a big group of people in my life, but only a small handful of really close friends, which I am totally ok with, it really is about quality not quantity. However, as a single 28-year-old, slowly but surely all of my friends are settling down, getting hitched and having babies, which leads to a somewhat drastic change in lifestyle to me.
As my single friends are dwindling, I’ve been on the hunt for some new fresh faces, new hobbies and to be honest I have struggled a little to integrate with new groups of friends. So I decided to do a little soul-searching and found these great tips;
Get To Know Yourself
I know this might seem a little wanky, but how on earth are you meant to know how to be a good friend to someone new, when you don’t know how to be a good friend to yourself. Take a little time and work out what you want from a friend, and what you have to offer. By getting to know yourself you have way more of a shot at finding new friends who fit with you and you with them.
Don’t be Needy
I cannot stress this enough, it’s no different to dating, the most needy and possessive you are the more likely any new friends will run for the hills. You don’t need to find your new best friend in a weekend, think of how long your other friendships took to cultivate and develop. Take it slow, remember not to put all your eggs in one friendship basket and whatever you do don’t alienate your existing friends in favour for the new ones!
I love trying new things, but I have been guilty of getting stuck into new hobbies that are very insular. So I have now signed up to the local WI who’s next meeting will include sushi making, then I’m heading off to join a photography group and have set up a local book club.
If you can’t find a club, make one! If you are interested in something, be in rambling walks, bird watching, cocktail making or pottery, then there most certainly are others who love it too!
Just like a romantic relationships, friendships shouldn’t be rushed into. It isn’t school remember you don’t have to just lump yourself with the first people who come along. It’s ok to not get along with everyone, and not have a connection with people simply because you have the same hobbies. Take a little time to go for coffee or a gig together, treat it like dating, have fun but not too many expectations. The most successful relationships are built over time
Get Involved in Friend Dating
This months Red Magazine had a great article by Alice-Azania Jones, who tried out Friend Dating. Think online dating but for platonic relationships. Alice tried Girlfriend Social and City Socialiser, both of which match together like-minded people based on location and interests, much like online dating without the snap judgements and awkward ‘where is this going’ conversations.
So what are you waiting for? Who says that friendships have to come only from a life long adoration of the Backstreet Boys or growing up on the same street.
I’d love to know about your adult friend making tips and stories? Any advice welcome!
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