Friendships can support our mental health by preventing feelings of loneliness, providing emotional support, and increasing a sense of belonging.
Making time for friendships and social connections is a key aspect of living well/with balance, yet thanks to Covid19, it is not surprising that people are finding this more challenging than ever. This has been a common topic amongst my clients in recent weeks, with many of them wanting to enhance this aspect of their lives.
Perhaps isolation over the past 2 years has left us wondering how to start a conversation? Or the loss of traditional workplace friendships has left people feeling as though something is missing? Whatever the reason, many people seem to be struggling to re-connect with old friends, or want to make new connections, but are unsure how to do so.
So, how do we make friends as adults?
As a child we might have approached someone in the park and simply said ‘hi, I am XX, do you want to play?’ or maybe we offered to share a pack of sweets with them and the friendship was immediately formed… if only things were that easy now…
As an ex-pat living in NZ, I’ve had to work at maintaining my friendships in the UK, as well as building friendships here in NZ. Moving across the world has certainly had its challenges; however, I have met some amazing people and built some long-lasting friendships along the way. I thought I would share some of my own experiences of this here including a few tips on where to look for new friendships…
Join an in-person class or event – This could be an exercise class, a community group, a language course…or any course for that matter. Is there a hobby you used to love that you haven’t done for a while? Or is there something you have always wanted to try, but haven’t got around to? Joining a group class can be a great way to meet people whilst doing something fun! When I first moved to NZ, Zumba was my ‘go-to’ class each week and I also tried a language course. These were useful ways to get me out of the house and meet others with common interests.
Look online (via apps, websites and facebook groups) - There are numerous apps out there that you could check out including ‘Meet Up’ and ‘Bumble BFF’, as well as various websites to check out such as Find Your Tribe. From my personal experience, I have met some of my closest friends in NZ through ‘Meet Up’ events. There are numerous events on Meet Up and Find Your Tribe which vary from hiking groups, and quiet dinners, to a drink at a bar. Although this can feel a little strange and daunting at first, it can be a great way to meet new people and you can choose which event is most suitable for you.
Workplace friendships - In the past, the workplace offered a simple way to meet people and build relationships, yet with working from home now being the norm, it can be easy to lose these connections. So how can you maintain these relationships? Is there anyone in your team you could reach out to and arrange regular coffees with? Work friends have been a huge part of my life over the years, however as I am now self-employed, I too have had to adapt and find new ways to fill this gap including networking with others. It might help to spend some time thinking this through and brainstorming ways to enhance these relationships.
Existing friends – Would you really love to reconnect with a friend from the past, but wonder if it has been too long? If there is someone that you want to see more often, it can help to be honest and simply send them a message. Maintaining friendships in this busy world can be difficult, but if a friendship is important to you don’t overthink it and just reach out!
I hope the above has shown there are many opportunities out there to connect with others and has provided some prompts if this is an area you want to improve. Although it can take some time to build relationships, it is so worth the effort!
If you are reading this thinking ‘when would I even have time for any of this’, or if you are lacking in confidence to take action, book a call with me today. I support individuals to build confidence, improve relationships, and create balance.