One of the most common things that I have heard from acquaintances and on social media is that it is becoming exceedingly difficult making friends as adults. Personally, I don't think that it is difficult to make friends as adults. Most people are open to becoming friends with anyone who shows interest. The most challenging thing is finding friendships that will last a lifetime. People come and go in our lives depending on several circumstances.
If you're a military family like I am, it poses some challenges because of moving. Another reason can also be that we outgrow the people we had in our lives. The friends we had in high school are rarely friends as adults. Life circumstances may have also changed such as having a family or getting married. People who are single and do not have any children may not find it as interesting or can relate to a friend who is married and who does have children, and that's totally okay. What doesn't work is when we place expectations on people who have evolved from a season in their lives and expecting others to follow suit when they aren't quite there yet. Even though we may feel betrayed or hurt by losing that friendship, I want to encourage you today to let go of the thought that that person must remain in your life. They really don't and when you do start feeling that way it's usually an indicator that it's time for you to go out and make new friends if you haven't done so already.
So how do you make new friends when you're short on them and are in a different stage of life? Well, first you must start with dream up your friend. See, what most people do is try so hard to befriend the first person they meet, but they have no clue what their expectations are for the new friendship. Just like dating, you need to think of the type of person you'd consider your best friend. Ask yourself: What do they look like? What characteristics must they have? Are they single? Have kids? Live nearby or online? What age group are they? What type of movies, books, sports, or shows do they like? Does this person seem too needy? Or lonely? How much time am I willing to invest in the relationship?
Next, you'll need to determine your social circle. How many friends are you looking to have? I've personally found that it is far more manageable and personable to limit friendship circles to two or three at most. In the beginning when you're "dating" friends, your circle may include about five or six if not more depending on how socially active you are. However, as time goes on you'll start noticing that people will slowly become removed from your circle. Either you will remove yourself or they will do so. Either way, this is a good indicator as it reveals who your true peeps are.
Alternatively, you may also want to look in your backyard and determine whether the people who are already in your life, such as your siblings, can qualify as your best friend. Usually, siblings are the best kind of friends because they've practically known you all your life. This is the same for a cousin, aunt, or any relative that you're fond of and that fits the criteria for your dream friend as mentioned earlier.
Another thing you can do is find women with similar interests. For example, if you're a social butterfly and enjoy meeting others to explore you can attend meetup groups that go hiking, paint together, visit museums, or even travel together. If you’re a stay-at-home mom, one of the ways I've met other moms was by visiting the local library. Most of the ones near me had weekly schedules of activities they hosted for children and their families. It's a wonderful way to introduce yourself while finding a friend for your little one as well. Double bonus! You can also meet with people from all walks of life by attending church. Our church hosts playdates for families with children and several activities for youths, seniors, and young adults. What I love about this approach is that we immediately have something in common right out the gate, and that's being a Christian. My final suggestions are to find and join a local or online book club like this one where you meet with women live each month. Regardless if you don't like reading books, you can always join a book club. There are so many options available now than there was in the past to become an avid reader. Audiobooks are my go-to option because it is the easiest and convenient way for me to get in my reading while I commute to and from work every day. I also love audiobooks because it brings the story to life. There is an amazing audiobook service called Scribd, that I use for all my audiobooks. You get unlimited access to eBooks, audiobooks, and scholarly articles. They are also far more affordable than Audible and does not have restrictions on the number of books you can read at one time. If you're interested, you can try it out for two months free by clicking my referral link here.
Lastly, I want to address two things that usually ends a friendship and that we all need to be prepared to invest your time and consistency. Most people tend to forget once they've formed new friendships that they need to put in some effort to follow up. We can't expect to have true lifelong friendships if we're not willing to put in the work. Friendship is a two-way street. If you're muting your friend's text, Facebook messages, or calls three weeks into the relationship, it may be best to let that person know we are no longer available to meet or have conversations. Don't just ghost them. That's the worst than texting them that we want to end the friendship in my opinion. You just never know where life will lead so it's always best practice to end on a good note. Let the other person know you do care about them and can be available for coffee or tea once in a while (if that's what you'd like) or can email you if they need help in the future. There's nothing wrong with using the "it's not you, it's me" phrase because sometimes that's really what it is and there's no shame in proving that answer. This is especially true for those of us who are constantly on the go and have a lot going on in our lives. It's not fair to you or your friend to feel obligated to spend time on a strained relationship. Rather, it would be helpful to let others know upfront what the terms of the friendship will be and how you have both decided to exit when deemed necessary. Again, this would be something to include in the beginning when you're being intentional with the friendship.
Join the conversation below. What has been your experience with forming friendships? How many friends do you have in your social circle? Do you maintain a social calendar? What is your thought on having a friendship contract at the start of a new friendship? Would it be easier to form and leave new friendships that way? Or would you prefer to just have a break-up when things turn sour?