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The art of making friends as an adult

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By Donna Webeck

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It was a balmy December day, back in 2009 when we officially became “seachangers”.

Relocating from our tiny unit in smoggy Sydney to the wide open spaces of the Central Coast was a brave and bold move. You see, we arrived knowing only one soul in the entire area (and that was an aunt of my Husband’s) so we knew we were facing an uphill climb in re-establishing any semblance of a social life in our world. Also adding to the challenge was that I was someone who has always preferred quality over quantity when it came to friendships.

While completely confronted by the task at hand, I am happy to report that almost three years on I can claim some fabulous new friends. So if you’re contemplating a move away from the big smoke but are apprehensive about how you’re going to fare when it comes to creating new friendships, this guide should help alleviate your angst.

Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there – results can come from the most unexpected sources!

It was 2 weeks after our arrival when, during my unpacking frenzy, I felt an unmistakeable twinge in my lower back: it was time to seek out a new chiropractor.

After selecting one close to home, I happily made small talk with my friendly new practitioner and opened up that we’d just relocated from Sydney and barely knew a soul. He kindly offered some suggestions how to meet people, running though a list of hobbies he and his wife had to see if there was anything I was interested in. After I declining the Boot Camp option in favour of book club, he took my email address down and said he’d pass it on to his wife. Within the hour she’d made contact and a month later I was meeting a small group of lovely, literature loving ladies at the local pub. Three years on and these gorgeous gals have grown into firm friends, all from a chance conversation and consultation!

Ride on your kid’s coat-tails

We all know children are far more adept at making fast friends with complete strangers. Thus, by default they provide excellent segues into adopting new pals into your adult world. Through my son I have made some fantastic new friends. Whether it was through his day-care centre, his playgroup or his sporting hobbies, there were boundless opportunities on offer to make casual acquaintance with the parents of his pals.

Love Thy Neighbour

It would seem glaringly obvious, but after being immersed for so many years in the antisocial apartment living bubble, I was not used to the art of being acquainted with those who reside closest to you. Upon moving to surburbia however, my husband insisted that we get to know those whose houses flanked us.

I’ll never forget the first home we bundled up to, enthusiasm dripping from our mighty smiles, eager to ooze amiability – sadly we wasted our zest on the mother of the neighbours (cue mortified embarrassment!) but she was the perfect ice breaker when it came to introducing us to the occupants inside!   From there we’ve come to cultivate very rich relationships with those who live closest – something we truly cherish!

Join The Club

For my husband, it was joining the local Golf Club that helped him make headway into a new social frontier. Before long he was building new bonds out on the fairway – a bonus considering he was just doing something he loved! In addition, being a member of a small (and therefore more intimate) local gym has also helped him foster new friendships.

Sport is such a perfect avenue to make new acquaintances as the options are endless. All you need to do select your favourite, sign up, and watch the new companionships blossom before your eyes!

If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again

I’ll never forget the first playgroup I joined: brimming with mothers I figured it was fertile friendship making ground. However after six solid months of putting myself out there all I had gained was a rather large dent in my self-esteem. You see, the group was also brimming with old-time acquaintances, and most did not appear enthusiastic about adopting another into the fold. It got to the point where I would dread going, feeling I stuck out like the proverbial sore thumb in amongst a cluster of collective fast friends.

Eventually I realised it did not have to be this way – this was a large enough coastal town for there to be more than one organised Playgroup! And sure enough, one of my bookclub compadres soon ushered me into her local group, where, even now she is long gone, I have thankfully made some very firm friendships of my own.

So be anxious no more, those who fear making friends as an adult! As you can see there are so many options available – just paint that cheery smile on your dial, ooze kindliness and openness and you will soon find your social calendar once again brimming with activity!

Related: Read why catching up with a friend for coffee is invaluable here.

What about you? Have you had success in making new friends as adult? What did you do? 

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Donna Webeck - to view all of Donna's blog post click here

Donna Webeck is a freelance writer with an immense love of all things literary. A mother of one, she is passionate about prose & more than a little obsessed with her idol, Oprah. Donna also shares her myriad of musings on motherhood, current affairs and lifestyle at her blog www.nappydaze.com

Website: http://www.nappydaze.com

  • I love the tips Donna. I moved an hour away from ‘home’ 3 years ago and only knew my sister in law where I moved. For the first 18 months I barely said hello to anyone else because I was working full time but since having my son Ive made an effort to engage in what I would have called mindless chitchat with people in my neighbourhood – Im know the proud owner of a group of friends. You just have to be open to the opportunity that you might meet someone that you like.

    • Well said Sarah! It;s surprising how easy it is to make fabulous new friends when you are open to the prospect! Glad you have your new circle with you now x

  • Having just moved from the coast to the northern suburbs of Brisbane I’m feeling this. That a shit load of anxiety, but that’s normal for me. Thanks for the reminders of how I get out there among it.

    • I know that feeling of anxiety well Vicky, it can make the prospect even more daunting. But I’m proof it can be done, even if it takes time. Take comfort in the fact there will be others like you who have just moved and are also on the lookout for new companions. Best of luck!

  • Great tips, it is all about putting yourself out there isn’t it? I think it’s an interesting prospect, making new friends. I find people intriguing and can get quite excited meeting new folk.

  • These are great tips Donna! My favourite one is the joining a club idea. I found that when I joined toastmasters I made a whole bunch of new friends.

  • Zohra

    I’ve never found making friends easy, even as a child, being painfully shy. As an adult, putting myself out there became easier, though still hard work!
    The tip that always works is the one the one about riding on your kids’ coat-tails: easy access to possible friends!
    Thanks, Donna.

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