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5 Things 20-Year-Olds Don’t Get About Making Friends

5 Things 20-Year-Olds Don’t Get About Making Friends

Most 20-year-olds are busy navigating the transition from youth to adulthood. One thing that’s not on their to-do list? Learning the principles behind making friends. It seems to come so naturally in childhood that they don’t give it a second thought.

What they don’t know is that the way we make friends changes as we grow older. Suddenly, growing a social circle isn’t something that happens organically. It takes effort, just the same way romantic relationships and career developments do.

The good news is that making friends is a skill that can be learned and nurtured like any other. Here are five things any soon-to-be-grownup needs to understand to develop a rewarding and active social life.

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1. Small Talk Pays Big Dividends

Young adults who are used to earnest, soul-baring, all-night discussions in dorm rooms often believe small talk is a superficial means of communication. In fact, small talk is the quickest, most efficient way to gain insight into someone’s personality and find shared interests.

Small talk is more than a conversation about the weather that’s become the clichéd definition. Anything from movies and TV shows to vacation spots and hobbies is a potential topic. It’s all about finding common ground to form a base for prospective friendships.

2. Shared Interests Make Stronger Ties

Kids are able to make friends by just “hanging out,” but, for adults, that’s no longer an option. Cultivating an interest opens the door to involvement in activities, providing an opportunity to meet others with a built-in common bond.

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The key is in choosing a genuinely fulfilling interest. If you become a compulsive “joiner,” people will see through the pretense, and insincerity is one of the quickest ways to end friendships before they even begin.

3. Friends Should Inspire Admiration, Not Dismay

It’s a fact of life that teenagers are often most attached to the friends who draw the most objections from their parents. As we become adults, we discover another fact, which is that we’re judged by the company we keep.

We have a tendency to seek approval by mirroring the appearance and behavior of those we spend time with. Seek out others who have qualities that you want to develop in yourself. When you’ve outgrown the need to rebel, the best friends are ones who challenge you to improve and become your best self.

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4. Making Friends is a Long-Term Investment

Once you turn 30, the window of opportunity for making friends begins to close. This isn’t a negative development. Rather, it’s part of the natural cycle of life as we marry and start families that take most of our attention. At that age we also have more fully developed values, making us more selective about those with whom we spend our time.

It’s smart to make as many friends as possible while you’re in your 20s. As time goes on, it becomes easier to maintain close friendships than to make new ones, so the relationships you develop then will be a significant part of your future.

5. To Have a Friend, Be a Friend

Twenty-somethings often make the mistake of thinking they have to be the smartest or richest or most athletic or best anything for people to like them. They can end up exaggerating or even lying about their achievements in a desperate bid for popularity.

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Think about someone who’s always talking about his or her great vacation or expensive new car. Are they fun to be around? Instead of making yourself look important, make others feel important by taking a genuine interest in them and what they do.

Making friends as adults is no longer the happy accident it is when we’re young, but we all have the basic tools to develop relationships. Creating a social network should be part of the learning curve of all 20-year-olds.

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5 Things 20-Year-Olds Don’t Get About Making Friends

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Last Updated on December 17, 2018

Why You Think You’re Not Good Enough and How To Believe in Yourself

Why You Think You’re Not Good Enough and How To Believe in Yourself

Have you ever wanted to say something at work, but a little voice of doubt crept in and said, “what if you are wrong”?

Maybe you wanted to apply for that promotion or ask that special someone on a date, but something kept you from taking action. When you think you’re not good enough, you tend to fear the outcome and lack faith in your abilities. That is why it is vital you discover how to believe in yourself so you can accomplish your goals and create your dream life.

Whatever your situation, the fears and self-doubt your false beliefs create will always stop you in your tracks. Identifying the beliefs that cause you to sabotage your life is the first step to removing them.

Self-doubt causes inaction, and inaction leads to regret. When you are not following your passion and living your dream life, you are left with a lot of questions:

  • What if I took a chance on myself?
  • Could I have had a better life if I took more risks?
  • Am I be satisfied with the legacy I am leaving behind?
  • What could I have accomplished if I did not settle for less?

So why would you think you’re not good enough?

1. Parenting

The perception you have of yourself is based on your past experiences. There are studies that show children mimic everything from their parents ability to regulate emotions, to their parents belief about money.[1]

I have had clients who did not believe they were good enough because they did not receive any positive reinforcement as a child. When they were young, their parents were extremely overprotective.

Think of your childhood challenges like dragons you had to slay. Each obstacle you overcame was another dragon you successfully removed from your life. As you slay more dragons, your self-esteem and confidence increase. When someone has overprotective parents, their parents end up slaying the dragons.

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As a result, the child builds more confidence in their parent’s abilities, while still doubting their own.

If you are never encouraged to slay your own dragons, you start to doubt whether you can. It is only natural for a child to conclude their parents are always helping them because they think they need it. This child ages into an adult who still believes they are not good enough. They seek the help and confirmation of others, and they rarely stand-up to opposition.

Solution: Slay Your Dragons!

If you want to believe in yourself, you are going to have to take steps to rebuild your trust in yourself. Start by keeping your word to others and arriving on-time. By showing yourself that others can (and do) trust you, you are going to feel more comfortable trusting yourself.

As you move onto larger and more challenging tasks, you have built a foundation of trust in your ability to keep your word. Next, you are going to want to reclaim your sword from others. At first, you may want to confide in whoever it is currently slaying your dragons.

Understand if it is your parent or someone who loves you, they want the best for you and mean well. You are simply going to tell them that you want to do the work, and will ask them for their thoughts in the planning phase. Feel free to check in with them and give them updates on your progress, while making sure they understand you are wanting to do the work yourself.

Then when the task is completed, let them know so you can celebrate together. Now that you have slayed your own dragon, you can start to reclaim your confidence. By you utilizing them as your guide, you get the added bonus of someone you respect and admire, telling you how amazing you are.

Think of it like a symbolic passing of the torch. Now, you are both dragon slayers. Which means all the positive attributes you attributed to them slaying your dragons, now belong to you.

2. Over-Exaggerating and Oversimplifying

Your past experiences may involve you or someone close to you failing. When you experience failure, you can lose your desire to continue. This has less to do with whether you are brave or scared, and more to do with the fact that your mind does not like failure.

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No one enjoys participating in events in which they under-perform. Outside of the usual reasons of embarrassment, feelings of inadequacy, and fear of failure – it is simply not fun.

Who wants to play baseball if they strikeout every time it is their turn? Would you enjoy singing in front of an audience if you were booed off the stage every time you performed? I could go on, but I think you get the point.

The thing about those two examples is no one really strikes out “every” at-bat. It is also unlikely someone could be booed off the stage “every time” they performed in-front of an audience.

What ends up happening is you oversimplify and exaggerate your past experiences and then your mind believes you. If you believe you are not good enough to ask someone on a date because they “always” tell you no, then do not be surprised you never muster the courage to do so.

If you want to overcome these feelings of inadequacy, start by changing your beliefs. This exercise does not need to be complicated. If you believe you strikeout every time it is your turn, I want to you to go to a batting cage and keep swinging until you hit the baseball.

When you experience success, I want you to take a mental note, write it down, or have someone video it. This is your proof that you do not always strike out. Then, whenever your belief that you are not good enough resurfaces, you are going to replay that video.

Regardless of the situation, you can find a successful experience that you are overlooking.

Solution: Read About the Failures of Others

It sounds a little crazy, I know, but reading about the failures of other successful people will improve your confidence. In a study conducted by Columbia University, they found that teaching students about the failures of great scientists encouraged them to do better.[2]

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When you are battling fear and self-doubt, you tend to over-exaggerate the abilities of others and diminish your own by comparison. You start to believe the successful are successful because they are courageous risk-takers, who do not take no for an answer. You tell yourself, they are meant to succeed, while you on the other hand are not.

When you are able to relate to the successful, you start to realize they have the same struggles and challenges you do. The only difference is they kept going.

Now it is not a question of whether you can succeed, it is a question of whether you want to succeed.

3. Undervalue Yourself

What is the main difference between someone who believes they are good enough and someone who does not? The person who believes they are good enough understands they are a person of value.

What I mean by this is if you do not believe you are worth being listened to, you will not have anything to say. If you do not believe you are good enough to be respected and treated as such, you will accept and rationalize all kinds of mistreatment.

There is an old saying that we are treated as we allow ourselves to be treated. When someone has the confidence and self-esteem that commands respect, they will not accept being treated any kind of way. However, if someone does not see themselves as worthy, they will remain in toxic situations because they do not believe anything better is on the horizon.

Dr. Jennifer Crocker, who worked on a series of self-esteem studies, found in her latest research that:[3]

“College students who based their self-worth on external sources–including appearance, approval from others and even their academic performance–reported more stress, anger, academic problems, relationship conflicts, and had higher levels of drug and alcohol use and symptoms of eating disorders”

Solution: Internalize Your Self-Worth

Instead of valuing yourself based on the awards, recognition, and accolades of others, you need to search internally. By basing your perception of yourself on your core values, you can regain control over self-image.

Instead of focusing on things that are outside of control, keep your mind on what it is that makes you special. You are not defined by your job, relationships, religion, or education. Rather, you are defined by the manner in which you participate in these things. You may be a creative, hard-working, and compassionate person; and that shows up in every thing you do.

Understand that you do not need to be creative, hard-working, and compassionate all the time to consider yourself these things. You are not trying to be perfect, but you are trying to connect with your true self.

By understanding the similarities in which you tackle objectives, you will build a consistent and powerful self-worth that stands apart from external confirmation.

Final Thoughts

Do not allow your past experiences do dictate your future success. You do not want to look back on your life and have a lot of questions and regrets.

Build trust in yourself by taking action today. This will help you build the confidence you need to believe in yourself and your ability to become the champion of your life.

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Featured photo credit: Riccardo Mion via unsplash.com

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