As we age, our circle of friends can begin to narrow. There are several factors that play into this, such as no longer being in school, having a social circle that has deteriorated due to neglect or changes in lifestyle or moving to a new location. At some point, we may notice that we have forgotten how to make friends. What was once so easy has now become a daunting task and you may not even know where to start. To help regain a social circle, read on for our tips on how to make friends.
1Find Friends in People you know
The first step to making friends is to find people you may want to get to know better. Start by drawing on current contacts who you feel you relate to. There are most likely a handful of people you already know who you define as acquaintances, but all friendships have to start somewhere!
Consider co-workers or people you see on a regular basis (neighbours, people you bump into) that you have a good rapport with. Also consider getting back in touch with friends you’ve lost contact with.
2Meet New Friends
If your social circle is very small or you have very little in common with the people you already know (colleagues, acquaintances, etc.) consider branching out of your comfort zone and meeting new people. Putting yourself in situations where you are exposed to the same people over and over is a very good way to find friends. If school or work is out of the question, consider joining a class and attending at the same times or a social activity or sports team. Being exposed to the same people will allow you a chance to get to know them bit by bit to see how well your personalities mesh.
3Start making plans.
Once you have a few people you’d like to start hanging out with, it’s time to make the leap. This is often where shy or especially lonely people hit a wall. The fear or rejection or of things not working out can often overpower the urge to make friends.
Depending on how you meet people, you could ask them to hang out one on one relatively quickly, such as if you met
through an acquaintance and spent hours together laughing, or it may take a bit longer.
Asking someone to hang out can be daunting, but there are methods to make it easier. If you take a class with someone or work together, consider asking them to have a drink or a cup of coffee afterwards. Keep your tone light and friendly, with an air of “it’d be great if you came, but if you can’t, no worries”.
4Get people’s contact info
You may meet people every day and decide you like them, but that won’t go far if you have no idea how to ever get in touch with them again. Get in the habit of asking for people’s contact information after meeting them. This could be as easy as adding them to Facebook or Instagram, or you can ask for their email address to continue chatting about a topic, or even for their phone number (don’t worry, you can always start by texting).
5Know how to make plans
Know you’ve met people, you’ve gotten to know them better and you hopefully have their contact information, now what?
To spend time with someone, you have to plan it and being able to make plans that feel effortless and easy to attend is an art.
One popular way to make plans is to propose a skeletal plan first and working out the details if they accept. For example, if you were chatting about a band you both like and you hear they’re playing at a bar on the weekend; ask if the person would like to join. If they say yes, build from there.
Or you could have a semi-solid event already in place and then ask if they would like to join you. Such as “I’m going for a run on this trail this weekend, want to join me?” you can adjust your scheduling accordingly but it will allow you to keep the event to a place you’re comfortable with while hopefully making a new friend.