As a kid, it was easy to become friends with anyone who liked the same cartoon or sport as you. But as an adult, making friends requires a different mental outlook.
Number four on the top five regrets of the dying is “I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.”
Instead of feeling regret, take the time now to learn how to create friendships that will last a lifetime. Here’s how:
Reconnect with old friends
Sometimes life interrupts a friendship and it falls by the wayside. But you have history with these people.
If you want to make friends, look to the people you’ve already shared laughs, hard times and deep conversations with.
This study suggests that “dormant relationships – often overlooked or underutilized – can be a valuable source of knowledge and social capital.”
Find an old friend today and reach out.
Many of us have been in this scenario: you’re at a cocktail party and start chitchatting with someone new. But quickly you realize they’re only talking about themselves. Within ten minutes of talking you know they’ve traveled to exotic places and just got promoted at work.
Bragging is a way people seek validation. But you already know from experience that you don’t like talking to people who brag.
If you want to make friends, be interested in the other person. Feel humbled when they ask questions about you. Trying to be interesting just makes you that person at the cocktail party people can’t wait to move on from.
This study found that when participants expressed interest in their fellow participants, they were viewed “more favorably, were more willing to engage in future interaction…and acted in a more receptive manner.”
Making friends means being likeable and being likable means showing you’re interested in them.
Be willing to be vulnerable
Psychologist, Robert Epstein said, “Vulnerability is the key to emotional bonding, without which relationships tend to feel superficial and meaningless.”
As a kid, you’re always in a vulnerable position because virtually everything is new all the time. But as an adult, it’s easy to get caught in a routine. You have work and family to balance daily.
By putting yourself in new, vulnerable positions with others around you – like trying rock climbing at a gym or volunteering for a fundraiser or giving an art class a go – you can potentially find the grounds to create a bond with someone.
“Such situations make people feel needy and provide occasions for other people to provide comfort or support,” added Epstein.
Make the time
Have you ever gotten into an argument with someone because of time commitments? Most of us have.
But if you want to make friends, you simply need to make the time for them.
Researchers found that “the leading cause of persistent relationships is reciprocity — returning a friend’s call.”
Furthermore, they found that touching base at least once every two weeks keeps a friendship alive.
Making friends as an adult doesn’t need to be daunting. Start by sending this post to an old friend and tell them you want to get together.