Many adults wonder how to make new friends. If the following sounds familiar, read my response below it.
I feel like I only have like one guy friend maybe 2. The one we don’t have a ton in common but our wives are friends so we hang out. The other is a guy friend from work we eat lunch together quite a bit and chat at work but never anything outside of work. I am sick of not having any friends I can do stuff with and what not. How can I either get my work buddy to hang out some or how can I make new friends. I am not into bars or what not and only drink a little here and there.
Here is my advice:
Most people will advise you to get out more, like to find a hobby, go to meet ups, play a sport, and so on. Those are important if you don’t have ways to meet people, but I’ve found developing skills to start conversations not just about weather, sports, and traffic, but to create meaningful connections, allow both parties to share vulnerabilities, and create friendships, not just two people talking superficialities, far more important.
Without those skills you can talk to people forever and never become friends. With them, you’ll meet people buying groceries or at the hardware store. You’ll create situations to socialize because you’ll expect success in doing them.
I spent years having mainly superficial relationships until a few people commented that they knew me a long time but didn’t feel like they knew the real me. Hearing a few people say that in a short period of time woke me up. The process to change took dedication, diligence, and years, but improved my life as much as anything. It was scary because opening up meant allowing myself to be vulnerable, but how else do you get support?
I look at it analogously to someone asking how to get in shape and many people advising to go to the gym, and other external things. I’m agreeing those things are important, but if you don’t know how to use a gym, you could go, not get fit, and learn to dislike gyms. If you learn how to make yourself fit and enjoy it, you’ll automatically create ways of keeping yourself fit, even if you don’t have access to a gym. In practice, you need to go to places and learn new skills, but in the long run, the skills stay with you and places come and go.
In my experience, my Meaningful Connection exercise has probably helped me most, though all of my Communications Skills for Business and Life have helped, which is why I posted them. Many of my coaching clients work on social skills for business find that applying them with spouses, kids, family, friends, and others improves their lives more than they expected.
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