You may have 700 Facebook friends, but that is not the same as having face to face connection, someone to call when you win tickets on the radio and want someone fun to go with. After my closest friend passed away suddenly, I realized I simply had a wide range of acquaintances, people I worked with, parents of my children’s friends, neighbors, but no one to really call a best friend anymore.
It used to be easy, say hi to a nice kid on the playground, sit together at lunch and suddenly the two of you are inseparable besties. Now, with two awesome tickets in my hand, I realized I am bestie-less. Before that moment, I was blissfully unaware. Busy with work, kids and life in general I certainly never felt lonely, but now the prospect of calling someone seemed so awkward and pathetic.
Forming new friendships as an adult can feel like a daunting task. The following ideas include some of my current strategies as well as a few I know I need to try. Gathering up the motivation and courage to pursue these steps is only part of the problem, finding time is always an obstacle. Keep reminding yourself that the reward of having a close friend is well worth the trouble.
Decide what you are looking for in a friend
If you don’t know what you are looking for, how will you know when you find it? Start by envisioning what a friend would be to you. Do you want someone to go shopping with you or someone that shares your love of the art scene?
Take the right class
A book club, a knitting circle, your neighborhoods newcomers group. Check out meetup.com, a social-networking site geared to “offline” activities for groups in your area. Or start one yourself. Love movies? Ask a few women you’d like to get to know better to see a Sunday matinee.
Take a big step
Plan a gathering for a group of people and ask each guest to bring someone else. You can keep it really simple, and inexpensive, by hosting a wine tasting where you have each guest bring a bottle of their favorite wine. Extend the invite to coworkers, neighbors, coworkers, parents from your kid’s school.
Look for a group that is working on a project that resonates with you and get involved. Community gardens, special-needs children, homeless shelters and food pantries all need helpers. If you are stuck for ideas, check out VolunteerMatch. Even if you do not find your new best friend, it will push you in the right direction and give you something to talk about with a new friend!
Make it easy
Carrying personal cards with your name, cell phone and email address makes it easier to give someone your information. Giving someone a card is a simple way to start the ball rolling. Vistaprint is a great resource for inexpensive, personalized cards.
Once you start actively searching for a close friend, you may be pleasantly surprised to find how many other adult women are feeling the same way as you are. Making the first step can be hard, but the pay-off is worth it!