3 Steps to Make Meaningful Friendships as an Adult
If you have the same friends from childhood consider yourself blessed. If you’re like many of adults, your childhood friends have long been gone. Life happens. You move, they move, you grow, you start a family. Life goes on. New people come into your life and your circle changes. But, what happens when you find yourself as an adult with no real friends? What do you do to make new friends? As children, it seemed so much easier. Just show them your new toy or simply ask, “do you want to be my friend.” That worked just fine. But that doesn’t go too well when you’re an adult. Imagine going up to a random person and asking, “do you want to be my friend?” So how do you make a lifelong friendship as an adult? There are three things you can do to make a meaningful friendship as an adult.
Before I get into the three steps, I want to first tell you that you are not alone. “As an adult, we think that everyone has their friends and we are the only ones seeking them. Nothing could be further from the truth.” says friendship expert Dr. Irene Levine. According to Dr. Glenn Sparks of Purdue University, “The geographic and personal distance between people continues to grow, and there are some harmful effects for those who lack relationships.” Research conducted in the U.K. found that 1 in 10 people do not have a close friend.
Having a close friend, someone you can share your joys, fears, and life with, is essential to living the reconnected life. So let’s make some new friends! Here’s how:
Be the friend you want to have
If you want a meaningful friendship you must first be the good friend that someone else needs. It’s like a woman who wants a loving, caring, committed husband and she herself lacks those qualities. The people you’re surrounded by are a reflection of the person you are. So, take some time to do a self-critique. Do you, or are you willing to, answer the phone at any hour of the night to comfort your friend? Are you willing to go places your friend wants to go even if you don’t want to? Are you willing to be honest even when it may hurt? Remember, you can’t ask for what you yourself cannot give. Or else you’ll be a friendship leech.
Weed out the leeches
Let’s face it. Many people come into a friendship with a one-sided attitude. They always take but never give. They may listen to your problems, but they never open up to you. Leeches are friends who drain the life out of you. They don’t add value to your life. These are the people you want to avoid. They are always gossiping, putting you down, asking for money, and using you as a therapist. (Just to name a few).
Approach friendship like dating
When looking for a friend, it’s best to approach it like dating. Before you date you first know the type of person you want, or don’t want. The same with friends. You don’t want a leech for a friend and you want a friend who can add value to your life. Make a list of the qualities you’re looking for. Next, go to the places where these type of people hang out. Art galleries, parks, malls, bookstore, etc. Interact with them. Get to know them. Go on a few “dates” together. Eventually, if it’s true friendship, your friendship will be long lasting.
Finding a friend as an adult can be harder to do. It takes patience and time to build a meaningful friendship. But it’s possible. Remember to be the friend you want to be, weeds out the leeches and approach friendship like dating.
If you need a place to start making friends, join Maven Moms in the Making. It’s a group of dedicated moms learning to manage motherhood.