“Some of the biggest challenges in relationships come from the fact that most people enter a relationship in order to get something. They’re trying to find someone who’s going to make them feel good. In reality the only way a relationship will last, is if you see a relationship as a place you go to give, not as a place you go to take!” -Tony Robbins
I often hear from people around me that making friends just isn’t a priority. While it might feel good for some people to just stay in their “bubble” isolated from the world, we humans were created as social beings and connection with others brings meaning and purpose to our lives! Our ancestors thrived when they worked together, lived together, slept together, ate together. You know the saying “It takes a village?” I love that saying. It tells me that my efforts are good, but when used in a group, they are better. I can raise my kids alone, but they will ultimately thrive with family, friends and community surrounding them and helping ME!
But what about when the kids are grown and gone? Do I still need that village? The answer is YES! You actually need that village even more now than you did then. Having friends to go out with, play games with, talk with, laugh with, exercise with and confide in, will bring richness and joy to your life that you cannot experience alone. “But I watch the t.v show ‘Friends’…isn’t that like having friends?” Well…No. Actually it’s not even close. If anything, it sucks you into a superficial relationship that’s not even real. You might feel a connection to “Monica” but she has no idea who you are and she’s not even real. It’s a character. So find time in your busy schedule to make some friends. Here are some tips that will ultimately help you have some deep and meaningful relationships for life!
1. Meet People. You need to get out more. Where are the people? What activities are going on in your community and church? Schedule time to be where the people are, and promise yourself you’ll have a great time! When you get there, socialize. You be the one to introduce yourself. Don’t wait for others to greet and accept you. Plan ahead of time that you’ll step out of your comfort zone to introduce yourself to 2 or 3 people. And have some questions ready to ask them about them. Remember, people love to talk about themselves, so ask lots of questions. Be curious even if it feels ingenuine. You’re there to get to know people so be open to that.
2. Can’t seem to find activities going on? Start a group! Step up and start a club. It could be a book club, play date club, bingo club, afternoon tea club, game night club, parenting advice club or whatever. I recently started a lunch club. Once a month I plan a trip to a really great restaurant and invite over 20 people. Usually only one or two show up, but I’m keeping it consistent and inviting. Eventually they’ll catch on. You can’t quit after one or two times if it doesn’t go the way you want it to. Keep trying and don’t get discouraged!
3. Go to an adult camp! There are camps out there you can go to that are just for adults. Many people meet their best friend at these camps. Some are even overnight camps. Such a great idea! https://soul.camp/
4. Let go of the guilt! We often feel guilt when we are doing something for ourselves. We think things like “I could be cleaning my house or spending this extra time with my family”. Certainly if you’re hanging out with friends almost every night of the week, that’s too much and yes, your laundry and family will pay the price of your absence. But I’m asking you to set aside 1 or 2 days a month to focus on friendly relationships. If you have no kids at home, certainly more time with friends would be very healthy for you. I love going to lunch or just chatting with a friend at least one time a week. I schedule this in my calendar so I don’t miss it.
5. Let go of the things holding you back! 1) laziness. You’d rather plop on the couch with a bag of chips in your spare time and catch up on Netflix. 2) You compare yourself too much to others thinking they’re higher or on another level than you, so you can’t hang out. This leads to despair. Stop! You’re telling yourself these stories. But we come from tribes ancestrally. Tell yourself that friendships are natural. As we evolve emotioanlly and spiritually, we need people by our side to support and motivate us as we step into a life we love.
6. Get real with people. Shed the mask and let people know who you really are. This creates real and rich relationships. Let them know what you’re going through, good or bad. A real friend will appreciate this and accept you for who you really are. It doesn’t matter how old you are. Some people have me their best friend in their 60’s. Judgment comes up. Have the courage to let go of all judgement over the other person. Who we really are, is this energy that is one!
7. Technology is incredible. You can meet friends across the world in seconds. If you’re vegan, you can find vegans in nano seconds, but there is a real magic that happens when you’re actually in person sitting across from each other and connecting. But co exist with technology. Make friends both ways. Here is a fun game you can play with your friends at lunch. Put all your phones in the middle of the table. The first person to touch their phone, has to pay the bill. We need to put technology aside when we’re with people. (Side story…I remember being the new girl in my town and was invited to a girls game night. I didn’t know any of the girls. I sat and looked around and noticed every single one of them were on their phones. Instagram, Facebook, Shopping etc.. This was not the way I planned on connecting that night).
Don’t be afraid to ask someone to put their phone down in a nice way because you want to connect. They should be flattered that you want to talk to them and connect.
Reconnect with a friend.
Reach out to someone via mail.
Plan a retreat and put it on your calendar today.
Foster and cultivate the friendships you already have!
If you already have a good group of friends, reach out and make new ones. Don’t leave anyone out of the fun. Invite new people into your circle.
Be the kind of person that someone would want to be friends with! It’s not as hard as you fear and it’ll definitely be worth it!