Everyone deserves true, quality friendships in their life. Right up there with puppies, yummy food, and shopping sprees, genuine relationships can make us really happy. Researchers have discovered that about three-fourths of our overall happiness comes from relationships.
These relationships include those with your family, a romantic partner, and friends. Unfortunately, friendships sometimes grow apart and making new ones as adults can be difficult. Do you have friends you love being around and who make you happy? Or are you looking for those special people and hoping to make new ones?
I would be lying if I said that making friends or turning acquaintances into true friends is easy. Unfortunately, it’s harder to forge new relationships as adults because we’re always too busy and in our own world. It doesn’t help that striking up a conversation with a stranger is almost considered taboo today.
It seems that the more technologically advanced we get with social media, the further apart we grow from one another and the more we isolate ourselves. However, it is possible to have honest, in-person friendships; here are six tips that can make it easier:
Express Your Interests
Do you feel like you lead an exciting life? You have interesting stories, enjoy visiting unique places, and are always down to try different activities, etc. If so, assuming you enjoy being around other exciting people is probably safe. People like you who aren’t afraid to go out and live life who’ve had fascinating experiences.
These fascinating people are out there, and chances are they’re looking for other interesting people to be friends with. People like yourself- the dreamers, the travelers, the change-makers, exotic food lovers, film buffs, etc. You just need to go out and find them! Don’t keep your curiosity and interest to yourself when you meet someone new.
When you run into someone who seems like the type of person you want to be friends with, don’t be afraid to ask them questions or share your stories. Being tight-lipped and looking like you would rather be elsewhere isn’t a good way to make new friends. Let them know what they’re saying intrigues you and you’d love to hear more.
Revive Old Friendships
Gerald Mollenhorst is a Dutch assistant professor at Utrecht University in the Netherlands. He discovered that people change their group of friends every seven years. This may or may not be the case with you, but overall, he found this in his study. Even if it’s not true for you, chances are that there’s at least one friend you’re no longer in contact with but who you enjoyed being around and find yourself missing.
Why did you stop spending time together? Did marriage or family make it difficult to continue investing time in the friendship? Did one of you move to a different city? Maybe things never officially “ended,” but you just had a lot going on. Now is a great time to drift back into each other’s lives and reconnect.
If enough time has passed, their life has probably settled down enough to have more time to meet up, and they could use a true friend. They might even wonder about you sometimes, too, so don’t be shy; look them up on social media or email them.
An old Chinese saying goes: “If you want happiness for an hour, take a nap. If you want happiness for a day, go fishing. If you want happiness for a year, inherit a fortune. If you want happiness for a lifetime, help somebody.” I love this saying. Countless research has shown that making other people happy also makes you happy.
Be the person everyone knows they can count on in their time of need. Be their shoulder to cry on, pick them up from the airport, help them move, and offer to babysit their kids now and then so they can have a date night. These actions show people you’ll be there for them and that they can trust you.
Trust is essential in relationships and must be established for friendship survival. Remember that this doesn’t mean you should be their errand boy. Don’t ever feel like you need to bend backward for someone demanding too much from you, or think that you have to pay for their things, or throw them a party for every occasion.
Just be the person who brings out the best in your friends and do it with an open and loving heart. After all, what goes around comes around, and having karma on your side is an extra perk.
Meet Up Often
Friends improve every activity, whether it’s a spa weekend, a coffee date, a movie showing, or a shopping trip. Make it a point to schedule “play” dates with your friends on a somewhat regular basis. It’s easy to take your friends for granted when busy with your life.
You might even subconsciously only seek them out when you’re bored or going through a hard time and need to unload your drama or stress onto someone else. True friendships are about sharing the good and the bad, being a shoulder you can lean on, AND someone you can go out and experience fun things with.
If you want a quality friendship that lasts, you need to build and strengthen that bond by spending quality time together that is good for both of you. You can still talk about your problems while on a coffee date, but don’t let that be the only thing you talk about. Ask them how they’re doing, and let them unload their burdens onto you too. Make sure to balance the conversation by talking about pleasant and positive things.
Don’t Box Yourself In
Your job is vital to you, and that’s understandable, but don’t let it get in your way of making new friends. Don’t let it dictate who you can and can’t be friends with. Being a teacher doesn’t mean all your friends have to be teachers. Talk to the bus drivers, the cafeteria workers, the janitors- heck, talk to the parents even!
You never know with who you have things in common and can become friends. Life is more enjoyable when you have a diverse group of friends, so make it a point to engage with people of different cultures, religions, and backgrounds.
Anyone whose life differs from yours can become a valuable friend, so don’t limit your circle. Don’t be afraid to start conversations with people with different hobbies and interests because you can teach each other a lot.
Know That You’re Worthy
Unless you’re a total jerk, you have much to offer your friends. You might not have a Ph.D., be loaded with money, or look like a model, but your heart being in the right place is the only thing that matters. Don’t let your insecurities keep you from talking to someone who might seem like a good friend, and don’t compare yourself to them. You are worthy of good company and true friends.
If you’re positive and understanding, the right people will find you. If you’re the type who always assumes the worst and dwells on their flaws, you will put those vibes out there, and others can pick up on them. Remember, your vibe attracts your tribe, so put those good vibes out there!
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