Trying to Make New Friends?

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Did you just move somewhere new and need new friends?

Many of us are probably now graduatiing high school, college, getting new jobs, moving to new towns, etc. Well, for many of us that have grown up with the same people, it seems an unsurmountable task to try to make new friends! As having been on the giving and receiving end, here’s my advice as far as making new friends and meeting new people.

Friendships can be built on a lot of things–mostly being built on shared history, experience or interests. I’ve made great friends of a) someone I knew years ago in middle school, b) the guy I met at the AT&T store, or c) someone I met at a meetup group event. I select these three examples because they are each slightly different:

Person A is someone with whom I shared history. Even though I had not kept up with Person A for 9+ years, I had the shared history to spark up a conversation that literally was a picture of him from the yearbook and the words: “I found old yearbooks! How’s it going?” It can be that simple. Granted, it’s not always that easy, but it is a very easy way to jump start the conversation. That was back in November 2013 and we’re still talking!

Person B is someone with whom I shared an experience – getting/providing assistance at the AT&T store. Friendship with Person B was born out of him handing me his card at the very end if I had questions with my switching over my plan. Well, I did have a question, so I called. After that, he followed up with a text saying to let him know if I had any more questions. Well, I did and kept him in the loop as I was navigating the torturous task of trying to “win back” my number, switch over back to my parents plan, then back to my own plan, and off of another provider, etc. It was a heinous process which he was really good about navigating me through. Well, that was the spark of a friendship, as questions very naturally turned to other parts of life.

Person C is someone with whom I shared an interest – there is an app/online site called Meetup designed for individuals to meet other people within their local area who have the same interests or are in the same age bracket. Well, I had just moved and decided to go to one targeted towards my age group – trivia night at a pub and grill restaurant. Well, I went, met a lot of cool people, and was then invited to hiking the following day! And this was this last Tuesday! The shared interest was meeting new people. Once someone joined Meetup, he/she was making the conscious decision to meet new people that shared similar interests as them.

 

Friendships can really be born out of anything. But, here’s the rules of new friendships I’ve learned along the way (not all of them are my doing! Some were things people did to me!)

1) Do try to use a shared history/experience/interest as the catalyst for a conversation. This will come across as less aggressive and less “out-of-blue” for people. With the dangers of the internet nowadays, people will be more welcoming to you if they have already known you from somewhere else. Or, simply deliver a compliment!

— For example: need to borrow notes, looking for a good Italian restaurant, are you going to ______, that’s a cool shirt!

2) Do use local events / group events as a way to invite people to do things. This is a lot less intimidating for people, especially if you’ve never hung out before. Just saying “Hey, you busy today? Do you wanna hang out?” only really works with people you know well or certain kinds of people. But, for the majority of people, you can’t always guess that kind of invitation is mutually received well.

3) Don’t use shared sites outside of their intention. For example, someone on Meetup, under the group of similar age, messaged me casually out of blue in what appeared to be an attempt at making new friends. Well, I responded, he responded, etc. But, by about his third message, I got questions asking me about my relationship status. Considering the group I belonged to is not intended as a dating site, this immediately made me question the situation and places a negative connotation with the friendship. Unless you know for sure that the person on the receiving end of your friendship has the same purpose in mind, it would be unwise (at least at first) to try to add more to it than is there. Unless you’re wanting a booty call, those sorts of things take shared time/conversation.

4) Try not to complain about your lack of friends. It’s wonderful to meet new people! But, new people probably do not want to hear you consistently complaining/talking about the old people you know. 1) It makes you cling to the past and for new friendships, this isnt the kind of baggage you want; 2) It makes new friends subconsciously question you as a friend. Complaining/Insulting other people in front of new people makes them thing you would do the same thing to them. 3) You can easily say “I don’t have that many friends yet, as I just started ___” is fine. But, you’ll be hard pressed to gain new friends by consistently complaining about how you don’t have any, as they might be the new ones!

5) Make sure you go outside. You’ll be limited in the kinds of friends you can make if you stay indoors all the time. If that’s what you’re looking for, great! But, if you’re looking for people to go do things with – movies, farmer’s market, restaurants – those online can’t really do that sort of stuff with you.

Considering I just moved, I am remembering my own pieces of advice to make sure new friendships graduate mutually! New friendships are wonderful, as there will come times where you’ll need people for assistance, especially if your family isn’t close by- like borrowing a truck for moving furniture. =)

 

Happy friending!


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