“A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for.” -John Augustus Shedd
Meeting new people and making friends can be intimidating when you’re an adult. When you’re a kid, there’s school, extracurricular activities and plenty of free time. As adults, responsibilities get in the way and will limit our free time. It can take too much effort to build new relationships and feel as if we are starting over again – why so much hassle just to make new friends? If you have noticed, you have less friends now than you did 5 years ago. Reason being is the older we get, the fewer friends we have. Friendships are tested by life events, causing relationships to drift. Moves, career changes, marriages and parenting all play a part in this.
I am a firm believer that in many instances while your circle may decrease in size, it increases in value. When times are tough you know which friends are truly there for you. However, for military families and those of us who have moved to new areas, the need for healthy relationships nearby is a necessity. We all need that in-person connection.
You can find new friends and create meaningful relationships as an adult, as long as you’re not afraid to step out of your comfort zone. Stepping out of your every-day routine will help you see this, I did this very same thing 5 years ago and made a friend who I now call my best friend.
Relax, Make a Move.
So you find it hard to put yourself out there, it kind of feels a bit like dating. Finding someone you have things in common with, a person you feel comfortable with and can easily talk to. But you have to make a move. A friend won’t show up at your doorstep, you have to give some in order to get some in return. This is the effort of two, and odds are, they feel the same way. Startup a conversation and end it with another time you can meet up again.
Now this is more like it! Who said making new friends had to be scary?
Be Yourself, But Consistent and Vulnerable.
I know it sounds totally cliché, and you’ve probably heard people say that more than a handful of times in your life – because it’s true. People spend more time worrying about whether someone will like them or not, when all you need to worry about is being yourself. Speak your mind, laugh, be funny, do what you do. Not everyone is going to like you – and that’s okay. Don’t be afraid to show your sense of humor and the real you.
As I mentioned before, as kids, it was easier to be consistent and make time to hang out. As adults, it isn’t that easy. However, consistency is key in building new relationships. A great way to stay consistent and get out there to meet new people is book clubs, workshops, networking groups or volunteer at a local charity. This is a way to meet up with the same people, and work on building a relationship.
Lastly, vulnerability is key in making new friends. If you can’t open yourself up and emotionally bond – relationships are meaningless. Get deep into your life, it may seem time consuming for you, but it will make your relationship all the more valuable.
Have you stepped out of your comfort zone in the past? What tips do you have when making new friends?
About the blogger:
Angela Caban is an Army National Guard spouse, freelance writer, published author and branding expert. Her husband was one of the many soldiers impacted by the unprecedented activation of the National Guard in 2008. In 2010, she founded the Homefront United Network, a military spouse and family support blog created to assist spouses who do not live near an installation, but also focusing on bridging the gap between National Guard, Reserve and Active Duty spouses. As a branding and digital influencer, she has created content for A&E, Lifetime Network and PBS. She has an extensive background in Human Resources and Communications, with her Bachelor’s in Business Administration and a Master’s in Human Resources. Angela resides in the beautiful Garden State of New Jersey with her husband of 11 years and two children.
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