How to Make New Friends and Reconnect with Old Ones

Friends catching up

As children, many of us found it easy to make friends, whether at work school, social activities, whilst learning a new skill or even out shopping with our parents. Kids have a wonderful way of striking up conversations with almost anyone, as little social butterflies growing into confident young adults. Once school finishes and we enter the workforce, making friends can become very difficult and somewhat awkward, particularly for those who move to a new location or go through major life changes. It stands to reason that the kids we were close to growing up are not necessarily going to be the type of adults we wish to be around, as we change, grow and become more comfortable with who we are. If you feel like your social life is a little lacking but aren’t sure where to start, here are our tips for making new friends and reconnecting with old ones.

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  • Try a new hobby

  • Taking a dance lesson or joining a sports team may sound like something reserved for kids, but it’s actually surprising how many adult clubs, classes and meetups there are! A quick search online or flick through your local newspaper will give you an idea of what’s going on around your area, as will meet-up sites that bring together groups of people with common interests. Meeting new people becomes easy in this kind of environment, as everyone is working towards a common goal, in a new setting and most likely, there to meet new people too.

  • Reach out to colleagues

  • Particularly for those working for a large company, work is a place you’re likely to meet people you want to get to know better, and unfortunately, people you probably wish you never met. Rather than keeping to yourself or avoiding invitations from the social club, put yourself out there. Ask to join an interesting colleague for lunch, suggest after work drinks, or invite your team to join a lunchtime sports competition. Don’t underestimate small gestures either, like wishing a workmate happy birthday with a cake, saying good morning to the office manager and checking in on those who seem to be having a bad day.

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  • Hang out with your friends’ friends

  • It’s often said that we are the company we keep, and that we attract the people we deserve. Hopefully that means you already have a few quality friends whose company you enjoy, but it also means that they probably have a network of people with whom you’d enjoy spending time, too! Strike up a conversation with your friends’ friends at their next party, or ask your friend to bring them along the next time you’re going out.

  • Be okay spending time on your own

  • There’s a fine line between solitude and loneliness: whilst loneliness is an isolating and horrible experience, solitude can be liberating, calming and a time for creativity and exploration. Once you’ve made a few, strong connections with people and have made plans to be social, spending time on your own can be extremely rewarding, particularly if you map out your days in advance. Go to the movies, redecorate your house, start writing that book you’ve been avoiding, visit a day spa, read a magazine and spoil yourself.

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  • Travel the world

  • Travelling is one of the most valuable experiences you could have, as it introduces you to new cultures, landscapes and lifestyles, but it also enables you to connect with people from all walks of life. While going on a trip with a friend does provide you with a secure base, don’t be afraid to plan a trip on your own and meet people along the way. There are so many tours that will force you to mix with a range of people, as will youth hostels, pubs and the local activities.

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  • Have an open mind

  • As with dating, most of us have an idea of what we want in a friend. We want to spend time with someone who is our age, really fun and adventurous but also happy to spend a quiet night in, will be there in times of need and always ready to listen, but not someone with too many other friends that require their attention. Often forgotten, is that not only are we not the perfect friend, but that it is unrealistic and unreasonable to expect that one friend can meet everyone one of our needs. It’s okay to have one friend who may be a little older than you but is a great movie date, or another friend who isn’t so interested in going to a party with you, but is always willing to meet for a 5:00am gym session. Be open to different types of people and experiences.

  • Reassess your current friendships and value those close to you

  • We all know someone who appears to have hundreds of friends, but when it comes down to it, most of them would disappear if things got tough. Having acquaintances or people you only see a few times a year is fine, provided they make your life richer and your experiences together are positive. Life is too short for competitive, petty or dishonest friendships, and it’s better to commit more time to those you value rather than spreading yourself too thin with people who really don’t matter to you.

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  • Spend time with family

  • Brothers, sisters, cousins and parents are the first friends most of us have, and as we get older it becomes apparent that family bonds are unlike any others. Call your parents regularly, buy your siblings dinner, make that two hour trip to visit your great aunt, and tell your family how much they mean to you. Most of us take for granted the love, friendship and loyalty unconditionally offered to us from our family, which are qualities that one the best kind of friend exhibits. 

  • Reconnect with old friends

  • As time passes, life gets busy and people relocate, we lose touch with people for whom we once cared, and start neglecting the friendships that once meant so much to us. Don’t let distance and time deter you from reaching out and reconnecting with old friends, particularly in the age of social media where finding people is easier than it’s ever been.

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