As a society, we don’t like to talk about loneliness in adults. We’re expected to learn all of our social skills while we’re young, and then use them to make friends and companions who’ll stay with us on our journey through adulthood. As many people are painfully aware, it’s not that easy, and it doesn’t always work out that way. Many people struggle to make friends – especially close friends – and as a result, they lead lives that feel lonely and incomplete. People in such situations often suffer from low self-esteem and depression, which in turn makes it even harder to make new friends.
Community groups aimed at helping people form connections and friendships exist, but they often focus on the elderly, with little thought given to younger adults who may be struggling with the same issue. That’s despite what some people are calling an epidemic of loneliness among young people, with Millennials thought to be particularly prone to living lives of solitude. It would seem that while there’s a growing awareness of the problem, there’s a lack of information advice available for those affected by it.
In our own small way, we’d like to try to help with that problem. There isn’t a single guaranteed method when it comes to finding new friends, but there are a few things you can try, and these five tips are our best advice on the subject. If you’d like longer-form advice and a case study on the topic, you might find this article from clinical psychologist Linda Blair useful.
Try Friend Dating
We know what you’re thinking – “what’s friend dating?” – but the clue is in the name. Just as dating apps have become the default way of finding a new romantic partner, friend finder apps have become a popular way of making new contacts. People often need new friends when they move to a new area, and fortunately, someone in the world of technology has thought about the problem. Dating app experts Bumble have built a friend-focused companion app called ‘BumbleBFF,’ which is aimed at connecting people with like-minded friends, and there’s no reason why it shouldn’t work for you. Download the app, complete your profile, and get chatting with nearby people who you have a few things in common with.
Go Beyond The Surface
There’s a reason that a lot of people hate small talk. Small talk goes nowhere – it’s just a conversation that fills what would otherwise be an awkward silence, and it doesn’t forge any kind of relationship between either person who’s speaking. If the only conversations you have with people involve trivial subjects, you’ll only ever have trivial relationships with those people. To make a friend out of an acquaintance, you have to find out more about them and let them find out more about you. Don’t ask them about the weather; ask them how their day is going. Ask them how they feel about things. Find out their opinions, and give them yours. Make a joke and see if they laugh. Through doing this, you can quickly ascertain whether someone could potentially become a friend to you, and the process will happen naturally.
We know that this is easier to say than do, but positivity attracts people almost as much as negativity repels them. The people you wish you were closer to probably give off an aura of positivity and success, and that’s part of what makes you wish you either knew them better or were more like them in general. Smiling when you feel lonely or joking when you feel blue takes both courage and determination, but it will send off positive messages to the people around you. You’re not alone in wanting more positivity in your life – everybody does. Think positively, speak positively, and smile. This isn’t just good advice when it comes to finding friends; it’s good advice when it comes to attracting success in all walks of life.
If someone turns down one invite to go for a drink, go to the cinema, or take part in any other form of social activity, don’t take it personally, and don’t assume they’re not interested in spending time with you. Imagine how little fun playing online slots would be if you gave up the first time you paid for a spin and didn’t win anything! If you’ve ever spent any time on online slots websites, you’ll know that it’s far more likely that you’ll get your reward when you’ve stayed with a game for a while when nothing seemed to be happening and kept plugging away. Making friends isn’t quite the same as playing mobile slots, but the same principle drives it. Keep inviting people to things. Keep talking to them. If they don’t want you around them, they’ll make that clear. If they seem friendly and engaging, keep making an effort.
This is especially important. We’ve told you to be more positive, but it’s important that you only become a more positive person of yourself. Any friendships you form through pretending to be someone or something else will feel inauthentic, and won’t make you happy. You need – and deserve – like-minded friends who are genuinely like-minded. Don’t pretend to be interested in sports to make friends with a sports fan, and don’t agree to repeatedly go to pubs or bars with someone if you don’t enjoy drinking alcohol. Work out what it is that makes you happy, whether that be a hobby, an activity, or just a type of film, and try to find people who share that interest. The internet can help with this, but so can local community groups and events. Go to where like-minded people are gathered, bring your positive attitude with you, and friends will follow.
Whether you’re a shy person who struggles to start a conversation or a confident, outgoing soul who’s the life and soul of the party, it’s possible you can suddenly find yourself feeling alone through circumstances you never saw coming. Don’t beat yourself up for it, and don’t give up on the idea of making new connections You’re never too old, and you’re never without hope. Get out into the world and start meeting amazing people!
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