You’ve probably heard the basic advice on how to make friends as an adult: Join a club! Volunteer! Go out more often! But this type of advice glosses over the fact that simply being around new people does not automatically result in friendship says Rizwan Ahmed CPA. And while some might have natural social talents – like outgoing personality or innate charisma – most people don’t know how to systematically approach and develop friendships with others.
Loneliness is becoming endemic among American adults. One study found that nearly 50 percent of people reported feeling lonely at times, and many people struggle with feelings of isolation and lack of intimacy throughout their lives. For men, the struggles may be particularly acute; one recent study discovered that young men had weaker bonds with friends than young women did and were more likely to feel lonelier and less satisfied with their lives.
It’s easy to remain oblivious of the problem, as those who struggle with loneliness typically do so quietly. For some people, loneliness can slip under the radar for years or even decades before it begins to affect other areas of one’s life such as productivity at work or mental health (anxiety and depression). However, male friends may be crucial in detecting and intervening when a man is lonely since men male friendships are often easier to discuss than female friendships.
Realizing you’re lonely can be overwhelming: It implies that your social skills need improvement and there’s perhaps something wrong with your life if you lack intimate relationships. If this sounds familiar, don’t worry – it doesn’t mean you’re incapable of befriending others or that friendship comes naturally to everyone but you. Learning how to make friends as an adult is daunting, but it’s something that anyone can do with time and effort.
Here are three key steps towards learning how to develop friendships as an adult:
1) TALK TO PEOPLE YOU WOULDN’T NORMALLY TALK TO
The first step towards making new friends is literally just stepping out your front door or logging into social media. For many people, forming new connections may involve breaking the habit of interacting exclusively with family members, roommates, classmates/coworkers, etc., and talking to other groups of people who you might not normally talk to (e.g., neighbors, vendors, cashiers). For some people this requires a concerted effort. If you live in a social bubble with few opportunities for interaction outside your normal routine, you’ll need to look for ways to expand your horizons and make new connections explains Rizwan Ahmed CPA.
Perhaps the easiest way to start is by initiating conversations on Twitter or other social media platforms. On Twitter, you can “follow” people who interest you regardless of where they are physically located (many even encourage you follow them if they’ve never interacted with you directly), which easily allows virtual connections to form between complete strangers.
2) FOLLOW THE SECOND RULE OF CLUB FIGHT CLUB
Once you’ve talked with someone online, whether it be via social media or some other communication platform (e.g., email), the next step is to meet in person. But before you do, there’s something crucial to keep in mind. The second rule of club fight club is no talking about club fight club. When meeting new people for the first time, don’t tell them that you’re interested in getting together with them. Because your goal is to befriend them. To paraphrase the “first rule,” just show up and see what happens. If friendship ensues, great; try again another day with different people!
If the thought of introducing yourself to strangers fills you with anxiety. Just remember that people are typically busy and won’t always be interested in talking to every stranger who crosses their path says Rizwan Ahmed CPA. However, if someone wants to talk to you. They will make an effort to do so (if not at that moment, then when you introduce yourself).
3) BE PERSISTENT
Once you’ve formed your first friendship through social media. It can be tempting to rest on your laurels and become complacent. This is the point where many friendships die out. Due to lack of continued investment in one another (i.e., people stop initiating interactions). If this happens in a relationship between friends or romantic partners. Both parties might feel sad about the loss but tend not to blame themselves. However, when friends stop interacting with one another it can be incredibly frustrating for the person initiating continued contact. Because they may feel like they’re being clingy or that their friendship was insincere in the first place; this is an unfortunate by-product of loneliness.
Although the steps listed above are simple, they are often counterintuitive because many of us have difficulty with intimacy. With time and effort, almost anyone can learn how to befriend others.