Between the ages of 0 – 18 I would say it was easy for me to make friends. Whether it was my mother setting up “play dates” for me and her friends and their children, meeting kids at school, or just out and about, and I look at someone looking at me and by osmosis we become friends. The idea that you can make a friend so easily just by being you and that person says “I like you, I like what you bring to the table. Let’s be friends” could be considered scientific, if you break down all of the molecular science behind it. But the truth is, when you are of a certain age, having and finding friends is easier when you’re younger. Some can challenge that, I absolutely welcome it, but I have found this to be truthful.
I asked a few people, some friends and some not-so friends, when was the last time they made a friend. Here were some responses:
“Last time I made a friend was back in college, my freshman year roommate. We don’t talk as much but we catch up on Facebook.” Nice!
“I think maybe when I was in middle school, I think.” Really?
“Last week, I went to a Meetup and met some people out there. Really nice! I’m outgoing so I don’t have issues with making friends.” Oh how lucky you are to be so outgoing!
So I have more responses but a lot of them were the same. A lot of people last made a friend back in college, middle school, high school, or work. They also mentioned that making friends started to slow down once they got in their mid-20s. That’s interesting to me. Your twenties, known as your carefree, rambunctious years, is a time where you are out of college, in the working world, you meet a couple of friends from work—some either are just work pals or some are lucky enough to make it out of work pal mode and enter your personal cone of friendship—and you also have you friends from your past, high school, college, and you bring all of that together and you look like a person that has a pretty decent circle of friends to invite to your barbecues, wedding, baby showers, etc.
But what do you do about that gray area when you have slowed down making and meeting new and interesting people, ones that you can invite to the barbecue and that don’t make you cringe every time they open their mouth? Do you give up and say “No new friends!” and keep the stock that you have, that is possibly dwindling as you get older because, let’s face it, people do tend to outgrow each other or life gets in the way and we become too busy. Do you go out and meet new people? And if you do, how do you go about meeting those people?
So, let’s tackle one thing at a time. When you’ve entered your time where meeting new friends has come to a halt to some degree, the best thing to do is figure out why and how. Are you still that same outgoing, fun person you were in your early twenties or your teenage years where people gravitated towards you because you were “that” person? Probably not. Subconsciously, there may be something likely holding you back. If you want a social life and people to call friends the best thing to do is open yourself up a little more. You do not have to channel your twenty-something year old self while you’re in your early 30s for a little help in making a friend. All that’s needed is you just being you. That’s how you made friends when you were younger, right? I know what you’re thinking, “I’m not the same person as I was back then”. True. But you are you. There is someone out there that would accept just “you” and would like to know more of “you”, your flaws, your quirks, etc.
Now you ask yourself, “how do I go about meeting these people that are interested in “me”?” Well you have to think about the things you like to do, the types of people you want to be around, the energy you want to attract. Some people go to Meetup groups. I’ll be honest, I’ve tried them and some have been more successful than others. Nonetheless, I get out of my comfort zone and try new things. At some point, something will stick.
My goal isn’t to be Miss Popularity and have a long list of friends. My goal is to live a fulfilled life and have enough people that I enjoy in my circle, bringing positive energy and ultimately a benefit to my lifestyle. I do not want that last part to be misinterpreted. By being a benefit to one’s lifestyle all that means is that a person is serving a purpose in your life as your “friend”. They are there to be whatever you need them to be in your life at that moment. If they fit the bill, great! If not, it’s your choice and your life. You can choose to move on and find another friend. But be open. That’s the key. You have to be open to the people that you meet, who enters your life, and what you need for fulfillment in your life.