Friends are the family you choose. We all need friends, but it's hard to find them. A recent study found that people who had 3-5 close friends were happier and more successful than those who had less than five. So how do we find new friends? Here are some steps to help you cultivate your social connections, so you can live a meaningful life with your closest friends.
Define Your Friend Profile
To get to know others better, create a social network profile. It's about who you're interested in and how you want to spend your time. It's about finding connections with others, and what you need from them, too. Try to spend at least two hours a day doing things you enjoy—like walking, going for walks, taking your dog for a walk or hiking, or taking dance classes. It's about giving yourself space for a few hours to do what you love. Create Deep and Striking Networks Think of your network as your email address, and your friends as the people you're really close to. Your network is the list of people you're connected to, and your friends are the people you're in touch with most often. It doesn't matter how large or small your network is, as long as it's something you care about.
Be a Good Friend
Cultivating your friendships means finding people who have similar values and shared passions. Focus on finding people who are good at things you're not. For example, if you love to read, hang out with people who love to read as much as you do. (And hey, if you can learn from them!) Always be up for a good time. People who love to laugh, explore, travel, and have adventures are the kind of people you want to be around. It's exciting to see other people discover new things, and you can offer to explore a new place with them. Make each day an adventure. There's something special about the look on someone's face when they're exploring a new place. Even if you're just watching an adorable animal in its natural environment, it can feel like you're getting more time to know each other.
Let Friends Help You
Some people are more confident in social situations than others, and some people don't have a lot of social anxiety. These are people who can make new friends quickly, simply by reaching out to other people. However, people who don't like social situations might find it harder to start new friendships. If you find yourself struggling to make friends, let friends help you. Here's how. Have a conversation. People find other people through talking. Ask someone else to introduce you to someone. That's how I met the woman who introduced me to my husband and best friend. Also, seek out people in other groups that you would like to be a part of. Join a sports team, find a club at work, or join the Girl Scouts. Ask around and make friends with people you might want to be friends with.
Network with Other Friends
Group activities can help us find and connect with new people who share our interests. Once you've found a great group of friends, you can go from one to many by introducing them to others. Social networking sites such as Facebook and Meetup can also help. These sites allow people to find and connect with others who share common interests and hobbies. While we might find comfort in our local group of friends, going out of town for a weekend to meet new people can give us a refreshing break from our ordinary lives. Get Involved in Community Activities For people who are introverted, taking part in community activities might be a good way to get out of your comfort zone and meet new people.
Create Shared Experiences
Set up regular events that will bring your friends together. Whether you choose a dinner party or movie night, gather a few close friends and pull out the stops. Ask your friends to bring something to share and allow everyone to contribute and then make sure to pay attention to your friends as they share. Make your friendship fun. Mention it a few times a month. Invite your friends to dinner. Schedule a game night. Form a book club.
Invest in Your Friends
Invest in your friends. No, I don't mean this in the sense of buying them a fancy gift. I mean by putting the effort in to connect with them. When you invest in friends, the friend in return invests in you. There are several key ways to invest in your friends. First, make time to spend with your friends. When we make time to spend with friends, we build a relationship that is worth investing in. Secondly, offer help. When you ask your friends for help, you are taking a good look at how you can help them with their life and, in turn, build a relationship that is mutually beneficial. When you want to invest in your friends, ask them what they need, then get it for them. This will make your relationship stronger and it is the epitome of investing in your friends.
These days, social connections are more important than ever. Though friends are more important than ever, it's even more important to build meaningful relationships with the people we know. The key is to know your true purpose and purpose in life, then use it as motivation to do good things, connect with other people, and create great friendships. Your life is a personal journey and you need your support network to navigate it.
Published by Anita Stuartz