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Published on August 17, 2018

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 May 21, 2019

19 Golden Pieces of Relationship Advice From the Experts

19 Golden Pieces of Relationship Advice From the Experts

Have you ever noticed that when you are having relationship problems, all of a sudden everyone around you is a relationship expert? Friends, family members, work colleagues – the stream of well-intentioned relationship advice seems to come at you from every angle. And most of the time the conflicting advice you receive can leave you feeling more confused than before you brought it up with any of them.

With all the different sources of information we have access to now, seeking advice can get overwhelming. So to make what can be a complicated area of life simpler, we have gathered the best pieces of relationship advice from around the world, and put them all in one place.

1. It’s Not Your Partner’s Responsibility To Make You Happy

How often have you heard people in relationships say “he just makes me feel so bad about myself” or “she makes me so angry”?

The truth is, nobody can make you feel anything.

It is up to you to accept responsibility for how you feel. This is an important part in owning your personal power. Amy Morin, licensed clinical social worker, psychotherapist and author explains that:[1]

“At some point, almost everyone has given someone else power over the way they think, feel, or behave.”

She goes on to explain that one of the most effective ways to retain your personal power is to accept responsibility for how you feel.

“Don’t let other people’s behaviour dictate your emotions (and) instead, accept that it is up to you to manage your emotions, regardless of how others behave.”

Not only are you giving away your own personal power when you outsource your happiness, you are also setting expectations of your partner that are unrealistic, and that will put a lot of unnecessary pressure on your relationship. Now repeat after me:

“I am in control of my own happiness” and “My partner is in control of their own happiness.”

2. Effective Communication Is Not Just About What You Say

The most common issue couples have is miscommunication. With this comes frustration and disconnection resulting in a lack of intimacy and trust.

Tony Robbins explains that:[2]

“People often confuse communication for talking or making conversation, and this is the root cause of why many of these same people are so unsuccessful in communicating with their partners.”

Robbins continues that everyone has different ways they give and receive information:

“Communication in relationships, at its core, is about connecting and using your verbal, written and physical skills to fulfil your partner’s needs – not just making small talk. Some people like to talk, some prefer touch and others are more visual or respond better to gift giving than an outward discussion of feelings. You probably know which communication style you prefer, but what about your partner’s?”

Effective communication in relationships is not only about being aware of how we send out information, but also how we receive it. Scenarios such as one partner thinking everything is fine and the other thinking “he/ she never listens to me” are all too familiar.

Active listening is integral in the communication process, this involves being fully present to your partner. Put down your phone. Turn off the TV. Get closer to your partner when they want to speak with you (no yelling to each other from another room).

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Give your partner your full attention so they know they are your number one priority and that what they are saying matters. Also, clarify that you have heard them properly, and that you understand what they have said by repeating back what you have heard in your own words.

3. Identify Your Love Language

Not only do we all communicate in different ways, we all experience love in different ways. One person’s way of giving and receiving love can be completely different to their partner’s. Because we usually give love the same way we receive it (because that’s our love language), often we are not giving love in a way our partner likes to receive love / feel loved.

Dr. Gary Chapman, speaker, counselor and author of The 5 Love Languages® series says:

“Everyone experiences love differently, and it’s easy to miss the mark when it comes to showing that you care.”

Dr. Chapman called these ways of expressing and receiving love the “5 Love Languages.” They are Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Receiving Gifts, Quality Time, and Physical Touch.

His books and his free online The 5 Love Languages® quiz helps couples to understand each other. Each individual has at least one language that they prefer above the other. And once you and your partner know what each other’s love language is, it takes the guesswork out of how to give and receive love in meaningful ways.

4. R.E.S.P.E.C.T.

Underpinning everything we’ve covered so far is one of the most important elements of any successful, healthy, long-term relationship — Respect.

The couple that holds the world record for the longest marriage, Zelmyra and Herbert Fisher (86 years) said the best piece of marriage advice they ever received was “Respect, support, and communicate with each other. Be faithful, honest, and true.”[3]

On the website loveisrespect.org, respect is explained in a thorough, easy to understand way:[4]

“In a healthy relationship, partners are equals, which means that neither partner has “authority” over the other. Each partner is free to live their own life, which can include deciding to share some aspects of their life with their partner. Respect also means that, while we may not always agree with our partner/s, we choose to trust them and put faith in their judgement.”

How do you show respect in a healthy relationship?

“Respect in a relationship is reflected in how you treat each other on a daily basis. Even if you disagree or have an argument, you are able to respect and value each other’s opinions and feelings by ‘fighting’ fair. Respect isn’t about controlling someone or making them do what you want them to do. Respect is actually about the freedom to be yourself and to be loved for who you are.”

5. Have Clear Boundaries

Setting and sticking to clear boundaries can be the difference between a healthy, happy relationship and a toxic, dysfunctional relationship.

Loveisrespect.org exlplains that:[5]

“Talking about your boundaries with your partner is a great way to make sure that each person’s needs are being met and you feel safe in your relationship.”

Some boundaries to consider are how much time you spend apart, when you will be physically intimate, who you will talk to about your relationship, what details of the relationship you are comfortable sharing.

6. Know Your Values

Tony Robbins explains the importance of values in his book Awaken The Giant Within:

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“To value something means to place importance on it. All decision-making comes down to values clarification.”

Values bring energy and direction; they’re at the heart of what makes an individual tick. When you know what’s most important to you, making a decision is quite simple – individually, and as a couple.

So to start the process of working out your values, Robbins suggests answering one simple question “What’s most important to me in life?” then brainstorm the answers. Once you have a list of answers, arrange them in order from most important to least important (these are your “moving-towards values”).

The flip-side of the exercise is making a list of what Robbins calls “moving-away from values”. These are the things you actively avoid in life. Arrange these in order too. Seeing these will help you get clarity over your avoiding behaviours, and have greater clarity in your decision making.

Robbins’ next step is a big one, something most people may not have done before. Now ask yourself “What type of person do I need to be in order to achieve all that I want in life? In order to be that person, what would my values need to be? What values do I need to add / eliminate?”

Think about all areas of your life when you answer these values questions, paying special attention to your relationship. What sort of person do you need to be in order to have the relationship you want?

7. Let Go of the Small Stuff

After the honeymoon period is over in a relationship, it can become easy for couples to slip into “the comfort zone”. In this comfort zone are things like laziness, lack of effort and nit-picking over things that you may not have even noticed in the blissful getting to know each other stage.

In their book “Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff – in Love“, Dr. Richard Carlson and his wife Kristine Carlson explain how couples can avoid letting the little everyday irritations in life get to them, and how to appreciate each other. Their top tips include:

  • Let It Go Already – in summary, make the decision to forgive, forget and move on.
  • Throw Away Your Scorecard – don’t keep score of what you do and what your partner isn’t doing.
  • Allow Your Partner To Be Human – remember that you are in a relationship with a fellow human who is doing the best they can.
  • Learn To Laugh At Yourself – learn to laugh at yourself and diffuse potential arguments with the power of humour.

8. If You Can’t Avoid the Fight, Fight Fair

No relationship is perfect, and part of any healthy relationship is the ability to have discussions and air concerns with your partner to avoid “bottling things up” and potentially having outbursts about unrelated issues later on.

Another gold nugget from “Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff – in Love” is ‘Don’t Fight Unless The Mood Is Right‘. When someone is angry, you are not going to be speaking to the person, you will be speaking to the mood. Giving each other space when one of you (or both of you) are in a bad mood, and coming back to discuss your concerns when feeling more level-headed is a more rational way to deal with disagreements.

The site Love Engineer with relationship experts from around the world has a list of Do’s and Don’ts when fighting (how to fight fair) including:[6]

  • Do not attack or give insults
  • No yelling, throwing, hitting or pushing
  • No blaming, criticizing and / or judging
  • No giving the silent treatment
  • Do take responsibility for what you can change or how you can improve the relationship
  • Ask for what you need in the relationship
  • Work on seeing the other person’s perspective.

9. Parents – Don’t Forget About Your Partner!

Relationships Australia, Inc. has a range of advice sheets to help with different aspects of relationships, with one focus area being Parenting and Relationships. Their sub-topic in this focus area is ‘Don’t forget about your partner’:[7]

“If you are feeling overwhelmed by caring for children, working and doing a million other things, it’s easy to start taking your partner for granted. Try to find time for yourselves, even if you are busy and tired.”

Which brings us to the next important piece of advice…

10. Make Time for Date Night

Drs. John and Julie Gottman of The Gottman Institute advise that “The plain and simple truth is date nights make relationships.” And in case you’re wondering what a date night is, they explain this as “A date night (or date afternoon or morning) is a pre-planned time where the two of you leave your work life and work-in-the-home life, and spend a set amount of time focusing on each other, and really talking and listening to each other.” [8]

The Gottmans go on to list the most common date night obstacles, and how to overcome them:

TIME – scheduling / blocking out time in your calendar and showing up no matter what.

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MONEY – dates don’t have to cost a thing. Going for a walk along the coast or in the bush, sitting in a park watching the world go by, or taking a trip down memory lane going through old photos – you are only limited by your imagination!

CHILDCARE – “Trade childcare with other couples (in your friends group). If that’s not possible, see if a trusted family member or close friend will help you in your quest to spend sacred time together. Look for inexpensive babysitters in your neighborhood, or ask friends for recommendations.” suggest the Gottmans.

11. Don’t Neglect the Importance Of Intimacy

Intimacy is something not always discussed openly, a topic often linked to sex can sometimes even be seen as a taboo subject. However, intimacy is much more than just physical intimacy.

Relationships Australia defines intimacy as:[9]

“Intimacy is about loving trust and support; accepting and sharing in your partner’s feelings, being there when they want to let their defences down and knowing that your partner will be there for you.”

According to Brené Brown, an expert on social connection, the key to unlocking intimacy is the ability to be vulnerable. Brown says:[10]

“if you want to cultivate deeper relationships, you have to take your “armor” off, no matter how vulnerable it makes you.”

An article in Psychology Today titled “The Real Secret To Intimacy (and Why It Scares Us)” also explores this connection between vulnerability and intimacy:[11]

“To know that you are seen and loved for who you are, and to perceive someone else in all of their vulnerability and love them as they are, may just be one of life’s most fulfilling experiences.”

12. Leave a Toxic Relationship

So far, we’ve covered advice relating to staying in a healthy, loving relationship. But sometimes relationships just aren’t made to last – toxic relationships. (If you are unsure about whether you are in a toxic relationship you may want to check out this article: 8 Signs of a Toxic Relationship)

Ending any relationship is not a pleasant process, however ending a toxic relationship has a whole new level of complexities and things to be aware of. You will need to be mentally, physically, emotionally and financially prepared to end it otherwise (as most research will show) you will continue to go back to the toxic environment.

However, according to Power of Positivity,[12] there are many ways to get out of a toxic relationship peacefully. We have listed the top 3 below:

  • Surround yourself with positive social support
  • Identify and express your emotional states
  • Find a lesson in the distress

13. Long-Distance Relationships Can Work

With so many people meeting online as well as a lot of people working away from their partner or family, it’s no wonder this is one of the most searched relationship topics. The old saying goes “absence makes the heart grow fonder”, and in the case of a long-distance relationship, never a truer word has been spoken.

Having a strong support network around you is important. The video below offers some helpful advice including communicating regularly and creatively, making plans together and having a goal (end date) for the long-distance element of the relationship in mind.

Let’s take a look at the video:

14. Maintain Your Sense of Self

If your entire world revolves around your relationship and you become all about the other person, chances are you are not taking time to nurture hobbies, friendships or taking care of yourself. Maintaining your sense of self in a relationship is critical, after all, your partner fell in love with you and everything that makes you unique.

Sharon Martin, licensed psychotherapist and co-dependency expert, explains that there are many ways you can maintain your sense of self in relationships including:[13]

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“Knowing what you like and what matters to you; Asking for what you want, rather than always deferring to his/her wants; Not keeping yourself “small” or hidden to please others; (and) Staying true to your values”

15. Keep the Spark Alive

In an article published in Self, several couple’s therapists explain ways to keep the spark alive in a long-term relationship.[14]

From making a game out of it, to checking in with each other every day, all the way through to downloading a special app to help reignite the flame in the bedroom, the opportunities to keep the embers of love burning are only limited by your imagination.

16. Regain Broken Trust

Dr. Magdalena Battles says it best that

“Trust is the rock upon which all relationships exist. If that rock is chipped away by deceit, over time the foundation crumbles.” She continues with “When something more serious happens such as infidelity in a marriage, the trust and foundation are broken in an instant. It is not easy to rebuild trust, but it is possible.”

She suggests the COME FORTH method to overcome broken trust in a relationship.

For the offender:

  • C: Come clean
  • O: Open yourself emotionally
  • M: Make meaningful conversations
  • E: Engage in full transparency

And for the person who has had their trust betrayed:

  • F: Forgive
  • O: Open conversations
  • R: Request what you need to get back to a healthy relationship
  • T: Talk about the betrayal to a confidant or professional
  • H: Heal yourself to heal the relationship

17. Be Supportive in Stressful Times

Robbins Research International has published just how important being supportive of our partner during stressful times really is:[15]

“When we routinely provide our partners with the emotional support they need, we can create a new depth of love in the relationship. Because as ironic as it may seem, when stress makes your partner more ornery, argumentative, or distant, that is when he or she needs you to show up the most.”

18. Be Patient (And Realistic)

Patience is an important element in a healthy relationship, especially in the initial stages when old habits need to be ironed out or baggage let go. But what about later on in the relationship?

Monica Parikh, attorney, writer and dating coach, points out that we need to look at our partner’s actions – do they match their words? Has your partner committed to counseling or made a commitment to change? Or are they simply saying what they think you want to hear to get you off their back?[16]

“You have only one life to live. Don’t waste it on a promise and a dream, especially absent a real commitment” — Parikh

19. Love and Fear Go Hand in Hand

Sheryl Paul, M.A., shares insight into her time as a love coach:[17]

“Love is the biggest risk we take. When we love, we open our hearts, our minds, our bodies, and our souls to another, and as such, nothing renders us more vulnerable to being hurt and to experiencing loss.”

Paul continues

“Fear doesn’t often show up as pure fear (but instead as) irritation, doubt, numbness, and indifference. When these feelings show up, it doesn’t mean you’re in the wrong relationship. On the contrary, it means you’re quite likely in the right relationship, and the fear-based self—knowing the inherent risk of sharing love with an available partner—is trying to protect you from getting hurt.”

Final Thoughts

Relationships can be the most challenging, and the most rewarding part of your life. We have covered a lot of advice topics under the umbrella of relationships to help with the most common questions asked. By following this advice, and turning towards your relationship, giving it the attention it deserves, you will be pleasantly surprised with how deep your connection with your partner can truly be, and how fulfilled you will feel.

More Practical Relationship Advice

Featured photo credit: Candice Picard via unsplash.com

Reference

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