It can be hard to find new people to be friends with once you’re out in the world, working all day every day and doing your best to maintain relationships with the people you already know. However, making new friends is a healthy and important aspect of continuing to grow, and can keep you from becoming lonely in a new city, a new job, or simply in a new age bracket when your old friends are starting to stagger in milestones, getting married and having kids and moving away. There are, of course, the obvious techniques your parents taught you as a kid, but they can be easy to forget. Smile. Say hello. Ask other people about themselves.
Now that you’re older, we can add a few more. Be present. Don’t spend too much time talking about people and things the other person doesn’t know or wasn’t present for. Be open. Just because you don’t watch reality TV or like cats doesn’t mean you can’t be friends with someone who does. People will tell you to look for people you have things in common with, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t bond with people who are different. In fact, learning to see other perspectives is one of the many benefits of a real and deep friendship.
Participate. This is one of those things that everyone will tell you (and sometimes it feels like a load of hooey), but putting yourself out there and finding things you love to do will not only introduce you to more people, it’ll make you a happier person on your own. Use Meet Up. Check out classes. Go to restaurants and bars and whatever else appeals to you that might have people – readings at the library, wine tastings, canoe adventures. There are a lot of things going on in most cities, plenty of them free, which can introduce you to a wide array of people. Cast your net wide.
Maintain optimism. It can be hard to find new friends, but a quick Google search will show you that there are lots of other people out there looking for friendship too. Keeping a positive attitude will make you seem like a more appealing potential friend. Plus, it’ll help you get through the trials and tribulations if you come to it with a sense of humor and the knowledge that you’re a wonderful, worthwhile friend that some stranger will be lucky to get to know.