How to make new friends –
Nobody warns you that making friends could be a problem when you become a grown-up, yet it is estimated that almost half of people (45%) say that they struggle to make friends! (2019 US study Onepoll/Evite).
People’s interests and lifestyles are constantly changing, and those changes can impact your friendships.
- move to a new city or area where you don’t know many people 🏙️
- lose touch with old friends
- move to a new school where you’d like to find new friends 🏫
- develop new interests that you want to share with your friends
- grow apart from your old friendships 🪴
- have felt isolated during the COVID pandemic, and want to grow a bigger circle of friends
- join a new workplace where you’d like to find new friends 💼
- be having a baby and want to meet other parents
There are plenty of reasons why you might find yourself wanting to make more friends.
Social media, films, and TV can often give the impression that you’re only successful if you have a HUGE friendship group, with friends who are constantly desperate to see you.
In reality, with busy adult life getting in the way, it’s very common to have a small friendship group or even no friends at all!
A lot of adults might keep one or two friends – or maybe even your only friend is your romantic partner.
If you find yourself wanting to make new friends, don’t feel guilty about it! So many people are in the same boat as you.
Today we’re going to teach you how to make new friendships, in the following sections:
- Having the right mindset
- Places to meet friends
- Building up friendships
1. Having the right mindset 🧠
Making friends can be intimidating, and really put you out of your comfort zone. It’s important to have the right mindset when you jump into it.
Making new friends can improve your life ☀️
Making new friends can help you to:
- Feel happier
- Build confidence
- Improve your social skills
- Learn from others
- Improve your health
Rejection is okay! 💔🩹
You might not connect with everyone you meet, and that’s fine!
Sometimes you can put lots of effort into being someone’s friend, all for it to not work out.
This is fine!
There are plenty more friends in the sea, the most important thing is that you’re trying.🙂
Be open-minded 🤗
People can be different in lots of ways, and this is a good thing! Keep an open mind when trying out new friendships.
Even if someone seems very different to you, that doesn’t mean that you won’t be great friends. You don’t need to have everything in common – people who are different can help you to learn new things and develop a new perspective.
You can be picky! 🧐
It’s important to find friends that are the right fit for your life. You don’t have to accept anyone who comes along – you can be picky!
If someone makes you feel bad about yourself, stressed, uncomfortable, or sad, you don’t need to keep them as a friend. Ending bad friendships can improve your life!
Shy/anxious people can make friends 🥰
Struggling with shyness or social anxiety can make the idea of making new friends feel impossible!
This is totally normal – so many people struggle with anxiety, but are able to overcome it to make new friends.
Connecting with people who feel the same anxiousness can often help make it easier to make friends, and build your confidence.
2. Places to meet friends 🏞️
So, if you’re ready to get out there and start making friends – have a think about where you want to look!
Are there any hobbies or interests you’d like to share with someone else?
You could meet people in places like:
- Book clubs
- Fitness classes
- Language lessons
- Cooking classes
- Sports teams
- Training courses
Work or school 🎓💼
- After work/school classes
- Training groups
- Mentoring networks
- Social clubs from work/school
Going out 🚌🎪
- Public transport
- The dog park
- Coffee shops, restaurants, bars/pubs
- Travel tours/groups
- Food festivals
- Community centres
- The library
Volunteering/Community Work 🌎🤝💖
- Volunteer dog walking e.g. local charities, Borrow My Doggy
- Litter picking
- Community gardening
- Soup kitchens
- Charity events
More ideas below! ⬇️
104 ideas to help your community
Social media 📱
- Facebook groups
- Next Door UK or Next Door USA
- Interactive/team computer gaming – Discord, Twitch
Friends of friends/family 👪
- Your friends’ friends
- Friends of family members
- Couples/double dating via your romantic partner
- Family events
3. Building up friendships 📈
Look for opportunities to talk 💬
Every time you speak to someone, you get a new opportunity to make a friend!
You can talk to anyone – the more people you talk to, the more chances you’ll get at making a friend.
Show that you’re friendly 😇
- Make eye contact
- Smile 🙂
- Listen to what they’re saying
- Put your phone away! – Pay attention to the person to make them feel important
- Make the other person feel special – ask them questions, show that you’re interested
- Use relaxed and confident body language
- Consider subtly mirroring the other person’s body language to make them feel more comfortable
- Use good manners! – Say thank you when people help you
How to make a good first impression
133 ways to make someone feel special
Strike up a conversation 😏💬
This can be the most difficult part of making new friends – what should you say to start talking to someone new?
Consider researching conversation starters to help you prepare for talking to new people.
- Offer them a compliment – “I love your shoes! Where did you get them?” (try not to be too personal with this one as it might make someone feel uncomfortable!)
- Comment on the weather or things going on in your environment – “I’m absolutely loving the weather today!”
- Ask for help with something – “Can you help me decide which shoes to buy?”
- Offer them help (if they look like they need help) – “Would it help to open that door for you?”
- Ask them a question
- If you’re waiting for something together e.g. waiting for a bus or class, ask if they’ve been waiting long
- Show them a funny video/post from social media – ask if they’ve seen it!
Starting conversations can be really uncomfortable and take a lot of practice to get right.
Don’t be too hard on yourself if someone doesn’t want to talk or the conversation gets awkward!
Practice will help you to build confidence!
Find things in common 📺🐕🛹
Finding common interests is a great way to build friendships.
You could find out if you have shared interests in:
- Career interests
- Where they live
- Social media
- Family – do they have/want children?
Stay in touch! 💌
Good friendships take a lot of time and effort.
Make sure to check in with your new friends!
This could do things like:
- Ask how they are
- Remember birthdays/holidays
- Ask to meet up
- Invite them along to events
- Send them funny posts on social media/things they might be interested in
So that’s it! Hopefully you’re feeling more confident about making new friends.
If you know any friends or family members who might benefit from these tips, share this post with them!
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