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14 Ways to Find Good Friends No Matter What Your Age

14 Ways to Find Good Friends No Matter What Your Age

Making good friends as you get older can be difficult. Trying to balance your personal life with work can leave you with limited time to get out and about. Worse still, the longer you leave it the more anxious you become about meeting new people.

Whilst it can be difficult to take that first step back into the world of socializing, once you have made the move you will usually find things fall neatly into place.

To help you kickstart the process, below are 14 possibilities to keep in mind – with some initiative, a smartphone, and a charm offensive, nothing can hold you back.

1. Overcoming nerves

Firstly, I’m aware the below 13 points may seem easy in consideration. But when the time comes to socialize, it’s often a tad more difficult. If you are shy, highly introverted, or out of practice with talking to people, it may even seem like an impossibility.

If you have anxiety, then you can find services such as the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) – it offers tips on how to deal with, and even overcome, some of the symptoms to make socializing easier.[1]

Just remember, many times you will find yourself nervous and anxious before meeting people, but once you’re talking away you will calm down and begin to enjoy the experience.

It’s just about taking that first step and chatting to people, but you can condition yourself to make positive steps simply by following some coping strategies here:

Feel Anxious in Social Situations? Try These Methods 

Or watch this video:

2. Opportunism

Now, to meeting people! The first option is challenging as it depends on your personality type – it will either be too obvious or crushingly difficult.

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What are your opportunistic options?

Approach your neighbors, for instance, and get to know them over a coffee or tea. At work, offer to catch up over drinks and get to know your colleagues in a relaxed environment. Attending a party? Get talking to people when you arrive, find someone you have something in common with, and then offer to connect on Facebook. From there you can suggest meeting for drinks.

This one will be nerve-wracking/annoying for the introverts of this world, but an opportunistic streak (even if it’s a cheeky one, such as inviting yourself to after work drinks you heard colleagues discussing) can go a long way.

3. Frequent a local café

Choose a café you like, head there at regular intervals, and practice your charm offensive on the baristas. It can be fun practice for other social occasions, plus you can genuinely get to know people.

Day after day, as the weeks pass, your confidence will grow and you will become a regular – a great way to practice witty conversation with the staff.

Also, it’s a chance to drink some coffee and tea and you can’t grumble at that.

4. Break out of your comfort zone

Break on through the habit of a lifetime – try something you would never normally do. This could be taking up rollerblading or learning a musical instrument – nothing is stopping you from joining a local band.

Volunteer at the local theatre, or take up amateur acting. Out of the randomness can come lifelong friendships, so dare yourself to try something new.

5. Meetup

Meetup helps you find meetups that interest you – it’s as simple as that. It can be difficult to meet new people and think of conversation. Especially if you’re nervous. If there’s an activity to get on with, though, then conversation can be free-flowing. 

Check out what people say about Meetup:

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6. Travel

Heading off on holiday, whether locally or abroad gets you around people – obviously. In this scenario, everyone is in the same situation. You’re in a new location, you don’t know anyone, and it’s an ideal opportunity to get talking to complete strangers.

Wondering where to go?

Lonely Planet is an excellent site to check out for ideas – it has a brilliant blog.

There’s also Atlas Obscura, in case you feel you have done it all from a travel front, which offers endless weirdly wonderful tourist spots from across the world.

And of course, we have plenty of suggestions for you on Lifehack: World’s 10 Best Destinations To Travel Alone

7. Volunteer

All it takes to find a worthy cause is a quick Google search. It may be a local cat shelter needing volunteers to take care of its felines at weekends, supporting the local library, or at a sporting event (motorsport races always need track marshals, for example).

Wherever you volunteer, there will be other volunteers, too, making it a fun way to get to meet new people. It’s also something to add to your CV/résumé.

8. Join (or even start) a book or film club

You can find plenty of these already set up on the likes of Meetup. But if there isn’t one in your local community, then you can start one.

Books or films are an easy choice to get a conversation going, as you’re rarely like to find people who hate films.

Simply ask someone what films they like and you will be off for hours. Ask someone about their favourite author and you will get the same result.

9. Late night classes

If you want to learn something new, and meet a batch of new people whilst you’re at it, then here’s a rewarding option. Have a search on Google for late night classes or adult training courses in your area. You will pretty much immediately meet a group of people with a shared interest.

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10. Try meet-friends apps

There’s an app for everything these days, including ones for making good friends no matter the situation you’re in. Peanut , for example, is for your mothers looking to connect – “Meet as Mamas” as the site puts it.

Or there’s Bumble BFF. This is very handy if you have found yourself in a situation where you just don’t know anybody nearby (e.g. if you have moved to a new city).

Huggle is an other: “Discover people who go to the places you go to” reads the slogan. The app filters people based on the locations you go to, what you get up to, and what you’re interested in. From there, you can connect and see where it all leads.

If you’re over 50, there’s Stitch. It’s about companionship, travel, and activities and can connect you with people locally and globally.

11. Join a sports group

Sports, asides from keeping you fit, are usually pretty sociable occasions.

Think of the likes of badminton, tennis, cycling classes, cricket, and various others. Book yourself into local matches at you have got a bit of casual competition on your hands – a great way to get natural conversation flowing.

12. Get a pet

Animals are great companions, which is a major bonus right away if you’re feeling lonely.

Whether you get a cat, dog, fish, hamster, or a pigeon (yes, these make great pets!), there are going to be other people out there who love these sorts of animals as well.

A pet dog is arguably the best option, as you can take it for walks, bond, and head to meetups (such as with the pug one in New York above). It’s an easy conversation starter, as most people can talk for hours about the various quirks of their four-legged friend.

13. Start blogging

A bit of a shift now, as the final two involve sitting behind a computer. But you can find good friends from across the world easily if you start blogging on a platform like WordPress.

With its online community, it won’t be long until you have come across lots of people you have things in common with.

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All you have to do is setup your blog (for free, if you want to) and start posting away:

Pick a topic you’re interested in, such as films, music, or food, and people will arrive to look at the content you’re publishing.

14. Online gaming

Video games aren’t for everyone, but if they have piqued your interest then there are plenty that encourage socialising (in digital form).

If you’re suffering from anxiety and unsure about getting out and about in your local city or town, then games can be a fun way of starting the step towards bigger things.

MMORPGs (massively multiplayer online role-playing game) are a great place to start. Titles like World of Warcraft have many millions of players across the world.

Some people have even married after meeting on it![2] That’s not mandatory of course. But it shows you how well you can get to know people through a mutual passion.

Your age can’t stop you from meeting friends!

No matter how old you are, you can still make friends and bond with others.

To begin with, just keep things simple and avoid unnecessary stresses.

Start a blog, chat to people online, read some of the ADAA guide if you’re nervous, and maybe reconnect with an old friend you have not seen for a while.

After that, you can slowly ramp up your socializing plan to take on bigger opportunities. Ultimately, you’re the boss. You don’t have to meet anyone – downtime in solitude can be great, after all – but if you have experienced a twinge of loneliness on a Friday night, then consider a few of the steps above to make some good friends.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Anxiety and Depression Association of America: Coping Tips
[2] Cosmopolitan: 3 Couples Talk About How World of Warcraft Brought Them Together

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Alex Morris

Creative Writer, Copywriter, & Journalist for Business, Culture, Lifestyle, & Work

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Last Updated on January 6, 2020

9 Powerful Techniques for Building Rapport with Anyone

9 Powerful Techniques for Building Rapport with Anyone

If you have ever heard the expression “doesn’t meet a stranger,” you likely know that the phrase describes someone who is unconditionally friendly and able to converse with anyone. Some people have this trait, and others wish they did.

I cannot tell you how many times a colleague has walked into work or sat down to talk to me at an event only to say, “Hey, I met your mother. She is so friendly and so nice.” My mother truly doesn’t meet a stranger. She seeks to find common ground with each person she engages.

Throughout my life, I have met other people who can walk into a room of strangers and emerge with the seeds for deep relationships and bonds. These people are open, vulnerable and – typically – great listeners.

From these folks, I have learned several techniques for building rapport with anyone:

1. Shift Your Mindset to an “I Am Worthy” One

If you struggle with feelings of low-worth, you may have difficulty building rapport. You will wrongly believe that other people are better than you, and perhaps that you do not deserve to be in communication with them.

You must believe that you are worthy in order to share your ideas, challenge ideas that are incongruent with your belief system and banter with others.

If you want to learn the skill of building rapport with anyone, you must first examine how you esteem or view yourself. At your core, you are worthy. You do not have to do or be anything to be worthy; you are worthy by virtue of your existence.

You are worthy because you are living the human experience. If you can shift your mindset and truly embrace your worth, it will be easy to build rapport with others.

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2. Ask Some Variation of “Tell Me About Yourself”

I recently read a fascinating article by New York Times reporter Jolie Kerr about NPR host Terry Gross.[1] Gross, the host of “Fresh Air,” starts her interviews by asking subjects to tell her about themselves.

She says opening interviews this way allows her to avoid mistakes that places subjects on the defense. She is also able to learn, via their own words, what’s important to them. Conversationalists may consider doing the same way.

3. Look for Indicators of Shared Humanity

At our core, we are all the same. When I feel anxious about being in a relationship or conversation with people who appear “perfect” or are very accomplished, I remind myself that at our core, we are all the same.

Regardless of how much money individuals have in the bank, they want to be treated with the same dignity and respect that each of us requires for ourselves. They want to be liked because of who they are, not because of what they have.

If you can remember that, at our core, we are all the same, you will be better positioned to build rapport with anyone.

4. Identify One Thing You Can Appreciate About the Person with Whom You Are Conversing

I grew up in a very religious household. Our entertainment was going to church revivals or visiting my mom’s friends’ churches. When our church had events, different speakers with different styles would preach sermons.

I learned that regardless of who the preacher was, the tempo of the music for different churches, I could receive something from the speaker. As a young adult, I worked for a Lutheran social service organization, and my mentor was a Methodist minister.

As a result of these experiences, on one day I could be in an apostolic church, and on another I could be in a Lutheran church. One day, I could be at a Pentecostal revival, and another day I could be at a Lutheran auxiliary meeting.

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Over time, I learned that it didn’t matter the race or religious tradition of the group I was visiting; if I paid careful attention and tried hard, each speaker and each congregation had something unique and worthwhile to offer.

The same is true in conversation. Separating the truly disgusting people who harm children or exploit the vulnerable, there is something to admire about almost everyone. Even your enemies have admirable traits. Even the colleague who annoys or triggers you in ways you didn’t know were possible has something that is worthy of praise.

If you approach every conversation with this mindset, you will indeed be able to build rapport with almost anyone.

5. Inquire About Family, Friends and Pets Only If Your Speaking Partners Introduce These Areas First

If you feel stuck in a discussion and are not sure how to make a connection, look for cues that the person with whom you are speaking is open to discussing his or her family or pets. These areas are deeply personal, and while most people gush when talking about their family and the animals that they adore, you have no idea what is happening in a person’s life that may make him or her less than receptive to tackling these issues.

Not every person’s life is filled with happy memories or experiences about family, friends or pets. For instance, there was a time in my life where I hated engaging with people outside of close friends about my oldest son, who at the time was living with his father. Being in situations where people assumed I had custody and then not knowing how to discuss the situation triggered anxiety and stress. I would get defensive or look for ways to exit the conversation.

I have also been on the opposite end where I asked what seemed to be a benign question about a person’s child only to learn that the child had recently passed away.

I offer these examples as cautionary tales – listen to determine what topics are within bounds and which ones are off-limit.

6. Research about the Person

To have substantive conversations, you must research the person or persons with whom you are engaging. You should know what drives them professionally and personally. This technique is more appropriate when you are attending an event and have a sense of who will be at the gathering.

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In the age of social media, this information may be more readily accessible than you expect.

7. Listen to Understand

Listening is an underrated skill. As a society, we are intentionally taught how to listen well. Even when we invite colleagues or friends out for lunch or dinner, most of us struggle with the urge to check social media, text messages or email.

When we are not distracted by technology and devices, sometimes we prepare responses while the person with whom we are engaging is still speaking.

Listening highlights how you hold the other person in esteem. Since many people are poor listeners, when you exhibit good listening skills, you signal to other people that you are interested and that they are worthy. Take a look at this guide to learn how to listen to understand: How to Practice Active Listening (A Step-By-Step Guide)

The respond in kind by having positive feelings about you and by wanting to be in conversation with you again.

8. Be the Person Who Tells the Truth

In my professional career, I have developed a reputation as a truth teller. I work to tell the truth in love and to tell the truth even when doing so carries some risk. I am learning that people in authority or in great leadership positions do not always have people around them who are willing to tell them the truth.

Honesty requires courage and a willingness to take a chance. It requires diplomacy and wisdom – and you must understand the conditions that make different leaders more receptive to truth. But many leaders can come to appreciate someone who they know will be honest with them.

If a leader asks you how you truly feel, find the courage and the words to diplomatically and carefully tell the individual the truth. This will improve your rapport with the leader.

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9. Be Open

So many conversations at happy hours, receptions, conferences and events are transactional and shallow. I am skeptical that many result in genuine and authentic connections.

I think one of the reasons this happens is because everyone has a representative, the better version of ourselves whom we send to social events. When someone dares to send or show up as their real selves, the decision is like a breath of fresh air. And it allows others the freedom to shed the persona and the liberty to be themselves. This works in large settings, and it can work as a technique to build rapport.

When I advise that you be open, I am not referring to giving too much information too fast or doing so in a way that is irresponsible. I mean acknowledging where you are in the moment.

If you are at an event but are focused on a presentation that you have that went awry, say that. The conversation may go something like this,

“I really am interested in learning more of what this speaker has to say, but I am mentally stuck thinking about a presentation that I just gave that didn’t go according to plan.”

When you do this, you give voice to what you are holding inside and you let the person with whom you are engaging know that there are dynamics at play that impact how you are showing up.

You can indeed build rapport with anyone, and these tips show you how!

More to Enhance Communication Skills

Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

Reference

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