Making and maintaining friendships while growing up was often as simple as being in the same classroom, eating at the same lunch table, riding the same bus, participating in the same after school activities, or living in the same neighborhood. Even if you weren’t the best of friends, you probably spent time with others who had the same schedule or had similar interests and found these people to be your childhood friends.
Fast forward to adulthood, where jobs, marriages, interests, and addresses expand and contract the pool of possible friends. Suddenly, creating and maintaining friendships takes intent and effort.
Whether you’re seeking new friends or keeping old friends, here are some tips you’ll want to acquaint yourself with.
1. Don’t Go Looking Where You Won’t Find What You’re Looking For
Just as you won’t find the keys you lost in your backyard under a lamp post at the end of your front driveway where there’s better light, you probably won’t find suitable friends in places you don’t want to be or doing things you don’t like to do. Don’t take up golf hoping to make friends if you don’t actually like to golf. Same goes for jogging if you don’t like to run, the bars if you don’t like to drink, or a garden club if you already know your thumb is never going to be green.
Bonus tip: Allow yourself to say “no” even if you’re feeling pressured to say “yes”. Friendships shouldn’t come at the cost of enjoying yourself just to enjoy others.
2. Find Your Tribe Where You Like the Vibe
Sharing an interest can be a great foundation to finding and maintaining lasting friendships. Seek out new friends wherever and however you enjoy spending your time and money. Have a dog you like to walk… head to the nearest dog park. Enjoy reading… join a book club. Good at soccer… join a community team. Like to travel… sign up for a group trip. Like to dance… head to a local nightclub. Want to be of service to others… volunteer for a soup kitchen, a local race, or any number of needs in your area. Local newspapers, radio stations, community publications, facebook groups, and online neighborhood exchanges are great ways to learn about and join in with others seeking similar experiences and social relationships.
Bonus tip: If you don’t find what you’re looking for, consider starting your own group, club, event, etc.
3. Timing is Everything
Consider your lifestyle and your availability to be available to others. What part of your day is most flexible? If needed, can you adjust your schedule to accommodate another’s? Do you need to plan well in advance to commit to getting together? Do you have reliable transportation if travel is required? Can you be on time? These may seem negotiable – and for the most part they are – but not being available or reliable can kill even the best of relationships.
Bonus tip: Schedule “friend” time into your calendar to avoid the “sorry I’m too busy” friendship killer!
For more ideas on creating and maintaining a healthy lifestyle, check out the blogs at W3ll!