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In an incredibly fast-paced and technology-reliant world, “social distancing” can mean more than physical. Sometimes, making friends after college can seem difficult. Here are four tips for making friends as an adult for those looking to branch out and expand socially in this new climate.
1. Put in the effort
A 2009 study investigated participants’ loneliness levels over five years. Those who thought friendships happened because of luck showed much higher levels of loneliness. This study hinted at scientific evidence that people who put no effort into finding friends were more lonely than those who believed that friendship didn’t just come to them.
The study likely uncovered this trend because those with an effort-based mentality toward positive social dynamics probably devoted more time and energy to nourishing their friendships. Plus, having friends is vital to an individual’s health. Scientists have also found that adults whose childhood best friendship carried over into adulthood experience less anxiety and depression and higher self-esteem than much of the general population.
2. Open up
Be a friend! No one is going to feel fulfilled or have fun talking to a brick wall. To be a good friend, you need to be open to discuss your innermost workings and projected development. Stop believing the myth that making friends as a kid was easier.
Finding others with commonality in experience or interests has never been easier, thanks to technology. Even if your dynamic doesn’t develop further, strengthening your casual bonds with others by spending time with them and sharing your thoughts or feelings can lessen your feelings of isolation. Normalize your anxiety and awkwardness as just a part of the process.
3. Reset yourself
Coming fresh out of school into the workforce, many of us have only ever been among people we have a lot in common with as locals or colleagues in a specific field. Due to this fact, most friendships are dependent on routines. Without these routines, shallow friend dynamics may begin to disappear altogether. Try not to shy away from this reality, even if it may be a little disheartening.
Making new friends allows you the opportunity to build a “new you” to introduce to others and switch to a “quality over quantity” mindset. Focus on people with whom you want to have deeper relationships. Working to foster a friendly relationship with someone you genuinely connect with will be the best-case scenario in the long run.
4. Remember your worth
Keep in mind that how we perceive our lives will determine the qualities of our experiences and how we value those experiences. You have a lot to offer even if you think you don’t.
The fact that you’re looking for friends should mean that you’re ready to be an open, honest person. Friendships today will likely be less randomized and possibly even more based on utility or commonality than ever in a new social atmosphere of constant, niche categorization.
Do you have difficulty making friends? How have you met your friends? Share your thoughts in the comments!