The Big Girl’s Guide to Making Friends

by | 21 Mar,2018 | 0 comments

The Big Girl’s Guide to Making Friends

Have you ever wondered why some people seem to have no trouble making friends and being comfortable in social situations, whereas others really struggle?  It isn’t always easy to form friendships as an adult and for many, it doesn’t come naturally.  It requires tapping into your inner child and setting her free. Read on to uncover six tried and true techniques to get over the awkwardness and banish loneliness forever.

How to win friends and influence people – a child’s guide to a grown-up dilemna

If I’m honest, it’s not something that I had much thought about. Being a natural extrovert, someone who draws energy from others, I often find myself in good company. I’m the girl most likely to organise social events for my disparate groups of friends and inviting all and sundry round to mine for coffee and cake. So it rarely occurred to me that for some people, making friends doesn’t come quite so easily. I was reminded of this when talking to a friend of mine who has recently decided, now that her kids are older, that it’s time to reclaim her life. She just wasn’t quite sure how to do it. But I was even more surprised when I met my cousin for coffee the following week, to discover that she too feels achingly lonely at times. My cousin is the very definition of a social butterfly – clever, confident, energetic and fun. You would never imagine that she would feel anything less than loved, always. Yet it seems that loneliness is a modern day epidemic of sorts.

She and I likened it to herpes, a sort of “social gonorrhoea” if you will. Whilst many people suffer from it, nobody wants to talk about it in public. Loneliness and isolation don’t discriminate. People of all ages, genders and social statuses are affected. Introverts and extroverts, single people, married people, young and old alike can all feel the soul sting of loneliness. Working from home as I do, there have been days where I have longed for the casual, affable social interactions that I used to take for granted in the office. Whilst I love the flexibility that working from home affords, there is no question that sometimes I feel cut-off.

Friendship is like peeing in your pants. Everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warm feeling inside. Anonymous

Grown-up Playground

So what do we do about it? Well if I had the answer to that, I’d be a very wealthy woman. But I can proffer this suggestion; in my experience, friendship is the most effective cure.  Obvious perhaps, but not always easy. You see, it’s relatively simple when we’re very young. School children in the playground quickly find their tribe, bonded by favourite games, toys and cartoon characters. But what about for us grown-ups? Where’s our playground? The truth is, we can learn a lot from our mini-me’s about how to win friends and influence people.

1. Feel the fear and do it anyway

The biggest single barrier to making friends is fear.  We are often too preoccupied with what other people think of us to realise that they usually don’t! Take a risk and introduce yourself to somebody that peeks your interest. Don’t worry about whether or not they will like you, or whether or not you will like them.  The adventure is in finding this out.  Instead, assume the best in people, including yourself.  People are drawn to confident people and they will want to make friends with you. And if not, well it’s their loss! Move on – there’s plenty more fish in the sea.

2. First impressions don’t have to count

I always get the impression that people think that I am intimidating or aggressive upon first meeting. I am quite tall for a lady and not slight in stature.  My voice skims the tenor/bass range in pitch and is not dissimilar to a mid ’90’s boom box in volume.  I get it, I am noticeable.  It used to bother me but now I have decided that IDGAF*.  Do you know why?  Because it’s not the first impression that counts.  It’s every impression after that matters more. If you mess up the first time you meet someone, don’t write off your chances of making friends.  Just pick yourself up, dust yourself off and try again. Similarly, if someone you meet doesn’t give you the best impression at first, give them a second chance, and a third.  They could well be just as nervous as you are!

3. Look for the common ground

I am a firm believer that we have much more in common than we have differences.  At the very least, we share a biology that means we all eat, sleep and sh*t.  We can all relate to anger, love, fear and hope and we have all experienced pain and heartbreak, joy and laughter.  The trick is to look for that common ground.  Do you both have children? Do you both work? What kind of music do you like?  Even if you don’t have mutual hobbies, you may find that your political persuasions are in line.  You may be from different backgrounds, but share a love of cooking.  The point is, the more you look, the more you will find things that you share in common.

4. Care

The advancement in technology means that too many of us have a closer relationship with our screens than we do with our neighbours.  But we are all still searching for connection, for something (read someone) real. People will respond to you if you are genuinely offering friendship, no strings attached. It is important to show that you care about them, and not what they can do for you. Be interested in their lives and make an effort to stay in touch.  Show love and it will be reflected back to you.

5. Be open and honest

In a world where plastic is fantastic and honesty is a rare commodity, be the change you want to see.  Nobody can be friends with their impression of you. Be yourself, give of yourself.  Take the chance and be open to a genuine relationship based on trust and mutual respect.  Risk ridicule and tell people how you really think or feel, not just what you think they want to hear.

6. If the mountain won’t come to Mohammed…

Nobody likes to make the first move, this is true.  But if you’re waiting for new friends to just magically show up at your door, you’re in for a long wait.  Take the initiative and invite her out. The worst that can happen is that she says no. And so what if she does? Either way, somebody has to make the first move, so it might as well be you!

 

 

*Pardon my French!

The capacity for friendship is God’s way of apologizing for our families. Jay McInerney

Obehi Alofoje

Obehi Alofoje

Operations Director

After experiencing three separate bereavements in the family, I learnt how to overcome the lasting effects of my low moods and anxieties, and to get back into the world! I learnt that all the resilience I need to survive is already in me, and that it is my responsibility to make myself happy.

At Aurora Wellness we are all about self-improvement & discovery. To discover ways in which you can maximise your full potential and learn useful life-enhancing skills, apply to join us at our next WonderWoman Workshop on Friday 23rd March to Monday 26th March 2018.

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