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14 Ways to Find Good Friends No Matter What Your Age

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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.

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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 September 16, 2021

10 Signs You Are in a Codependent Relationship (And What To Do About It)

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10 Signs You Are in a Codependent Relationship (And What To Do About It)

Codependency has become a buzzword in our society, stemming from the field of addiction. It remains unclear in the field of Psychology as to what the symptoms of codependent relationships are, how to define it, where it originates from, and what you can do about it.

Read on to learn more about codependency and discover the 10 signs that you are in a codependent relationship and what you can do about it.

What Is Codependency?

Research has attempted to quantify, categorize, and define codependency since it seems to permeate so many different types of relationships and many people worldwide.[1][2] However, because a clear definition ceases to exist, it is difficult to get a true number of how many people struggle with it.

Organizations such as Codependents Anonymous point to codependency being a “disease” and provide a safe place for those struggling in their relationships. However, they make it clear that they provide no clear definition or diagnostic criteria to identify codependency. The one common denominator appears to be that those self-identifying as “codependents” often come from a dysfunctional family and exhibit “learned helplessness” characteristics.[3]

10 Signs You Are in a Codependent Relationship

If there’s no clear definition, how do you know if you are in a codependent relationship? Codependency can be identified by evaluating your own behaviors rather than the behaviors of someone you are in a relationship with. By identifying certain thoughts, feelings, and behaviors you tend to engage in, you can start to identify any trends that exhibit codependent characteristics.

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Here are the 10 signs that you might be in a codependent relationship.

1. It’s Hard to Say “No”

Codependents have a hard time saying “no” in their relationships. They often are afraid of being rejected or abandoned, so they say “yes” to their partners because they don’t have the confidence to say “no.” This can manifest in all areas of the relationship, whether it be financial decisions, co-parenting, delineation of tasks, or sexual intimacy. Codependents will default to being “walked all over” or “bulldozed” by their partner and lack the ability to empower or assert themselves.

2. You Find Yourself Doing Things You Don’t Want to Do

Codependents are afraid of abandonment by their partner. They end up doing things they don’t want to do just to keep their partner from leaving. They are in desperate need of validation, attention, and acceptance by their partner and are willing to do anything to avoid jeopardizing their partner leaving them. They lack the ability to self-evaluate. They hold their partner’s opinions and judgments above their own belief about themselves. This can lead to codependents compromising personal morals and values to gain the approval of a controlling partner.

3. You Feel Compelled to Help Your Partner Solve Problems and Be Needed

Codependents need to be needed. Their entire self-esteem is dependent on bringing value to their relationship partner. If they can be helpful, then they are valued. Codependents will often give way more than expected and try to be “helpful” and solve their partner’s problems. They end up caring more about their partner’s life than their partner does. This leads to their partner judging them even more because a codependent will try harder if they fall short.

4. You Think and Feel Responsible for the Other Person

As codependents try to solve their partner’s problems, they take on the responsibility of their partner’s life. This leads to feeling responsible for everything that happens or doesn’t happen to their partner. This over-involvement releases their partner from taking responsibility for their own life and puts the blame solely on the codependent for anything wrong that happens. Taking responsibility for something that you have no power to change perpetuates the cycle of codependency by creating a feeling of “if I could just do more or do it better, my partner will love me.”

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5. You Tend to Anticipate Your Partner’s Needs and Over Give

Codependents who take responsibility for their partner’s life must be on the alert all the time. They must anticipate their partner’s needs before their partner can ask for anything. This leads to hypervigilance and a hyper response towards their partner. This builds resentment from their partner who is constantly being scrutinized, often leading to withdrawing from the relationship.

6. You Seek to Please Your Partner Before Yourself

Codependents don’t think much about themselves and their own needs. When constantly putting their partner’s needs before their own, their only source of approval comes from pleasing their partner. Oftentimes, a codependent is unaware of what they truly want and feel because so much of their life is focused on someone outside of themselves. Thus, there is no benefit to pleasing themselves. In fact, they feel as though they are being selfish or wasting time that they believe should be spent focusing on their partner.

7. Events and Situations in Your Relationship Feel Controlled

If a codependent’s partner’s needs are not met, a codependent will often be controlled by their partner using coercion, advice, or manipulation tactics designed to evoke helplessness and guilt feelings in the codependent. In this way, the codependent’s role is kept in check by their partner, and the dependency is reinforced.

8. You Desperately Seek Love and Approval From Your Partner

The basic needs of connection and approval when not fulfilled as a child continues into adult relationships with the belief that “if my partner gives me love and approval then and only then I am okay”. This false belief creates a situation where a person gives up their power to their partner.

They don’t believe in their own assessment of themselves and their own value. They don’t trust their own feelings and lack the ability to make good choices for themselves. This allows the partner to make decisions but not take any responsibility for the outcome of those decisions.

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For example, if their partner tells them to quit their job, end a friendship, or stop doing a hobby, it will not affect the partner’s life, but the codependent person’s life will become smaller and less satisfying. This perpetuates the cycle because now the codependent has less to focus on and gives more attention and energy to their partner who becomes the only thing they have left in their world. This increases the desperation to try even harder to make sure that their partner gives them approval. It also creates a distorted belief that no one else will ever love them.

9. You Pretend Circumstances Aren’t as Bad as They Are

When a person no longer believes their own feelings and defers to their partner’s opinion,s they can no longer trust their own views and experience. They believe that they are the problem and that if things are bad, they are the reason for it being that way. They minimize reality to avoid having to make changes. If they can pretend things aren’t so bad, then they don’t have to do anything different. After all, if there is no problem then there is no reason to fix it.

The other thing that happens is a codependent will experience time differently. If it is not happening right now, then it never happened. The feeling is “if I am fine now, then I have always been fine and that problem didn’t really happen” or  “it must be my imagination or overreaction.”

The codependent will convince themselves that they even agree with the problem to avoid conflict or change. “It must be okay for my partner to stay out all night and not call or quit their job for the 3rd time this year or spend money and not pay the bills.” Again, this perpetuates the cycle and the codependent will work even harder to pay for everything except being treated badly because they believe that is all they deserve.

10. You Don’t Trust Yourself, Your Feelings, Your Decisions, and Default to Your Partner

Ultimately, codependency is learned in childhood. There is a disconnect between what a person feels and what they have been told to think about their feelings. They are told over and over again that their feelings are not to be trusted in very subtle but consistent ways. They have heard things like “you are too sensitive,” “you shouldn’t feel that way,” “your feelings are ridiculous,” or “no one else feels that way.”

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They believe that there must be something wrong with how they feel and not that there is something wrong with what they are being told. The core of the issue is that there is no authenticity or truth in these messages, and the main point of getting the message to not trust your feelings is to give up your power and keep you off balance.

If someone doesn’t trust their feelings or their worldview, they must default to someone else who they believe is more capable and more knowledgeable about what is best for them.

What Should You Do If You Experience These Signs?

If you experience any of these signs or realize that you are in a codependent relationship, there are many things that you can do.

First, try to find areas of your life that have small emotional risks and start becoming very conscious about what you are feeling, and use those feelings to make small decisions. For example, ask yourself what color of shirt you feel like wearing today or whether you prefer an apple or a banana.

Connect with the feeling first—become conscious and curious. Why do I feel like wearing red? Where did that feeling come from? Now that I am wearing red, does it still feel like it fits with the original feeling? Learn to trust your feelings again. Also, notice how often you don’t say what you really feel or simply don’t tell the truth. Codependency and lying are partners. If lying is the problem, then knowing the truth is the solution, and becoming aware of the problem of lying is the beginning of the way out.

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You can also try journaling. You will be amazed at how much connection you have to your inner wisdom and truth that you lose as you say words you don’t mean or don’t even say out loud, which you can preserve through writing. Moreover, meditation can also be a powerful tool to help rewire your brain to learn to trust yourself again. Lastly, find someone you can trust or a therapist to get a clearer reflection of any distorted thinking patterns that keep you stuck in codependency.

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Featured photo credit: freestocks via unsplash.com

Reference

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