How to Make Friends (No Matter How Old You Are)
By Sara Butler
One thing no one ever seems to explain about being an adult is how hard it is to make friends the older you get. Friendship is something that humans need, and studies show that social support is crucial to your overall health and wellness. It can boost your self-esteem, help improve your health, and even ease anxious feelings. We need friends -- but finding them and keeping them seems to be the hard part.
Studies have found that about 33 percent of adults age 45 and older feel lonely and isolated socially. This can lead to detrimental impacts on your overall health and wellness, including an increased risk of issues such as heart disease, stroke, and dementia.
In school, from grade school to college, making friends seemed pretty easy. But how do you do it as an adult? Read on for some tips on making friends no matter how old you are!
Get a Hobby
Life can be chaotic. If you have a family of your own, your own interests have a way of taking a backseat. The thing is, having hobbies and getting together with others to pursue those hobbies can help you to meet people who can one day become your friends!
Connect with the things in your life you enjoy and use them to help build friendships organically. Take a community class, a group exercise class, or even join a book club. There are so many opportunities to meet others doing things you enjoy, so make time for it.
Make the First Move
It may have been a while since you were involved in the dating scene, but building friendships as an adult does require you to use a few lessons from your dating days like not being too nervous to make the first move.
If you meet someone you think you may have friendship potential, invite them to do something. Don’t let the fear that you’ll be rejected keep you from trying; you never know, they could be looking for a friend too!
Join a Group
If there’s a community group or volunteer opportunity you’re interested in, then try it out. It’s a great avenue to meet new people that you may be able to foster a friendship with due to similar interests.
Another great thing about groups is that they can help to create a routine for you that will help to establish a rapport with others over time. As you get to know people, the easier it will be to create deeper relationships that can turn into friendships!
When you meet new people, have an open mind. You may create friendships with people who at first glance don’t seem like your “type.” That’s why it’s important to be flexible as you interact with new people and give everyone a fair shot at being your friend. Focus on what they have to offer that is positive and ignore some of the differences that may have made you shy away from someone in the past.
Often, people tend to gravitate toward others who are like them. Just remember that someone who may appear much different than you can add richness to your life the more you get to know them.
You get out of friendships what you put into them. So, if you’re looking to foster a budding friendship, make sure to reciprocate. In the natural give-and-take relationship, don’t be the one doing all the taking. Instead, try to actively be a participant in the friendship.
Many people are very comfortable using online resources to keep in touch -- and to strengthen or create new friendships. Don’t be afraid of online relationships with others. They’re real and can create a lot of happiness in your life.
Search on social media for groups that encompass your interests and use that as a way to meet new people. Who knows, you may feel like you can be more yourself when meeting others online and it can be just as socially and emotionally satisfying as any other relationship in your life.
Finding friends is hard. There’s no wrong or right way to meet new people and spark potential friendships with them. You simply have to be willing to step outside of your comfort zone to do so!
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