Deliberately making friends - Deepstash

Deliberately making friends

Making more friends in adulthood will take some deliberate effort. One challenge may be to put yourself out there, as it can trigger fear of rejection.

You may engage in two types of avoidance to prevent you from making new friends.

  1. You may practise 'overt avoidance' by not putting yourself in a situation where it's possible to meet new people.
  2. You may engage in 'covert avoidance', which means you show up but don't engage with people once you are there.

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MORE IDEAS FROM How to make friends as an adult

One study found that volunteers who thought they were liked shared more about themselves, disagreed less, and had a more positive attitude. Other research found that, on average, strangers like us more than we realise.

These studies remind us to go into new social events assuming people will like us.

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Friendships are a treasure

Friends provide a comforting sense of stability and bonding. A defining feature of friendship is that it's voluntary - it's a relationship of great freedom that we hold on to only because we want to.

The downside of this freedom is that the lack of formal commitment and the pressure of other commitments can cause a friendship to fall by the wayside.

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  • Find an event. Sign up for something ongoing (such as a book club or a hiking group) and commit to showing up.
  • Prepare yourself to interact. Do something to put you in a good mood. Think about the strengths you bring - if you're funny, deep, insightful, or quick-witted.
  • Open up a conversation with a stranger using the 'insight-and-question method. Share a commentary on something around you, then ask your companion's opinion of it.
  • Exchange contact information. If you meet someone you like, ask for their contact details.
  • Follow up to see if they'd be open to meeting up sometime.

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Once you've initiated some new contact, the next challenge is turning them into regular friendships.

It is easier to sign up for activities where you have multiple opportunities to connect with the same people continually. If you want to make friends, you should commit to showing up regularly. Even if you feel uncomfortable at first, don't sell yourself short. If you persist, you'll feel more comfortable and get to know people better.

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Friendships don't just happen. We have to set aside time to regularly reach out to people, reconnect with old friendships, awaken new ones, check-in, and find time to hang out.

Don't just show up. Say 'hello when you get there. Let go of the myth that friendship happens organically. Regularly introduce yourself to other people and ask them for their phone numbers, rather than waiting passively. Then follow up and ask them to hang out.

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The busyness of many people's adult lives can cause them to quickly lose contact with friends.

One study found that people had lost touch with about half of their closest friends over a period of seven years. What's more is that we are often losing friends faster than we can replace them. If we are not careful, we risk living out our adulthood without friends.

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To deepen a friendship, it pays to get vulnerable. To make true friends, you have to share things about yourself. Ask people questions too so that they share about themselves.

Tell people what your passions are, how you spend your free time, what you're looking forward to, and ask them for the same. Studies found that the more people share about themselves, the more they end up liking each other.

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RELATED IDEA

Why you need friends

Friendship helps protect the brain and body from stress, anxiety and depression. Being around trusted others, in essence, signals safety and security,

Research suggests that you only need between four and five close pals. Close friends should be someone you can talk to, someone you can depend upon and someone you can enjoy.

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The Great Friendship Myth

We all have been told that we make all or most of our lifetime friends during the school or college years, which is bizarre as we barely know how to intentionally make friends in that age when things just happen haphazardly and suddenly two people start being friends.

Real friends can be made in our adulthood if we choose to. We should realize that having a good friend is probably the best thing in the world. A lifetime friend can make us happier, smarter and kinder. Friendships make good times better, and bad times not that bad.

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Focus on Being Open

Don't worry about being rejected, or that you might not be fun enough.  

Be open and inviting.

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