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How to Make New Friends: Even When Life Changes

There are stages in life when making friends is easy – school years, then as parents when our children are growing up, or in a work environment. Friendship is important. We all know that, but why? “A review of 38 studies found that adult friendships, especially high-quality ones that provide social support and companionship, significantly predict well-being and can protect against mental health issues such as depression and anxiety—and those benefits persist across the life span.” We need good friends to buffer the twists and turns that life presents, especially as we get older. We also need a few good friends when conflicts arise -  relationship troubles, job stress, moving, health...


When my mom’s health was failing, I needed my sister and best friend to talk to, to help figure things out. Needed that, and it made us closer. Have you even been in a tough situation and having a friend to talk to made all the difference? Do share your comments below. But what if that friend or support is not in place - maybe life has changed your situation,  or maybe you’ve grown away from your early friends - what to do?


Before we dive into that, there's something fascinating I want you to know. New research shows that the average American hasn’t made a new friend in 5 years. Maybe people are busy with family life or other responsibilities. . Some other common reasons are “I’m feeling shy”  or “Everyone has their friend groups already set,” or if dating, or “I can’t stand the bar scene!”


The truth is very few people want to take the chance of being rejected. But this study also said that “they would go out of their way to make new friends if they knew how or had more opportunities." So how do we make that happen?  Here are 7 ways:


  1. Antidote for fear: Be genuinely interested in other humans. Ask people about themselves, give a sincere compliment, ask for help if you’re trying something new. Most people are happy  to be helpful. Also, don’t forget to be a good listener; and a little thoughtfulness goes a long way.  Also, know yourself and what lights you up. Are you a caring person, a great organizer, athletic, creative? These are just examples of positive attributes you should be aware of, so you can share them in new settings.


2. Plan ahead if possible. If you are thinking of retiring, don't wait until afterwards to feel acute loneliness set in. People who build their life around work relationships or who depend on their partners to set the social calendar can be hit extra hard if things change. So, use your weekends or free time to try out new hobbies, meet new people, and see what grabs you. 



  1. Say YES more often: It’s great to meet people who share your passions. Put yourself out there; seek them out. What do you enjoy doing? If it’s hiking you love, say “Yes” to joining a hiking group, If it’s reading or film, join or start a book or cinema club. Some other groups you can join are meetup groups, faith-based groups, a sports league (pickle ball is very social).The list can be as long as your interests. Many people are shy to make the first move; invite them in.


What do YOU enjoy doing? What makes you feel engaged? Whatever it is, it’s not only part of your blueprint, it’s a key to making new friends and enjoying your life too. And to support you in all the changes that come up, we have so much great information coming through, I want to invite you subscribe to the Youtube channel here. I don’t want you to miss a thing as the content is designed to empower your life. Back to number 4:


  1. Take a class: Anything from pottery, to exercise, to a new language. If you’re a runner, join a group training for a major event. You’ll see the same people again and again and it’s easier to build a friendship from that consistent contact. BTW - Come with a beginner’s mind, leave comparison at the door, and find the humor and camaraderie in learning something new.


  1. Volunteer: Even if you move to a new city and know no one, you can volunteer. Find a cause you care deeply about and see out how to get involved. Chances are you’ll meet other like -minded people who will be so happy to have you there. You already have things in common - it's a great start.


  1. Be intentional: If you meet someone you resonate with, invite them for coffee, tea, or for lunch, and get to know them better. You might even organize get togethers where friends bring a friend, and your circle expands. Reconnecting with former colleagues, schoolmates and friends is ahow many people find each other after years apart..


  1. Be open to intergenerational friends too.  I have friends in their 20’s all the way up, and it’s so refreshing to be together. I want to see more of that in the future as we all have so much to exchange.


Some friendships will be more activity-based like going to movies together. Others will strike a deep resonance. If you are uplifted when you are with someone, it’s likely that they feel the same. Tend to these friendships like flowers in a garden. We just need a very few good-hearted people who have our back and we have theirs. One thing is sure, no matter what your stage and age, you can make new friends at any chapter. Especially as friends move away or are out of the picture, it's important to be on the lookout for people we resonate with. These friendships are KEY to living a happier, more fulfilling, and a longer life too. 



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