Regardless of what the internet says about introverts, humans – by nature – are hardwired for connection. This is a myth that we will bust until the cows come home.
If you’re reading this and shaking your head in disagreement, all we can offer is the suggestion that perhaps you haven’t found the right people yet. The ones who just get you, those who love you for all your quirks and quietness, the ones who you walk away from feeling happy and even somewhat energised.
One of the questions that we get the most is, how do you make new friends as an adult?
It’s not as easy as at school when you’re thrown together with a bunch of misfits all trying to navigate the world as awkward, gangly teenagers.
As we get older, it often seems that people have already got their core group of friends and we don’t usually want to try and infiltrate that, let alone know how to do it! Ugh just the thought of making new friends can sometimes seem exhausting.
So we wanted to share with you some ideas that might help if you’re feeling in need of some new connections in your life without going against who you are!
Work out what you’re looking for in a friend
This might seem kind of strange, but when you’re just as happy to be on your own, the kinds of people you spend time with is actually really important. Because, otherwise it’s just as enjoyable to stay home and read a book, right?
If you’re in serious need of some new company, though, spend some time thinking about who you’d like to bring into your life.
Maybe you just want someone who will go to bookstores, drink coffee, and geek out over Harry Potter with you. Maybe you secretly want a more adventurous friend who will help you expand your comfort zone and bring you along on the ride with them, maybe you just want someone you can bounce ideas off or work out with.
Establish what you’re looking for in a friend, write it down, and put some intentional energy behind who you want in your life.
Be open to new people around you
If you already have a few friends and you think you’ve hit your limit, it can be easy to close yourself off to new people, thinking, ‘I don’t really have time/energy for more friends.’ But think of the people you’ve met in your life who you could have easily shrugged off (and are SO glad you didn’t). Come back to the kinds of people you want to bring into your life, maybe they’re right in front of you and you haven’t even noticed.
When we let go of judgement and allow ourselves to be open to others, we can form really special friendships with people who make our lives feel full and meaningful. But so often we are in our own little worlds that we can sometimes not even realise those people are right in front of our faces.
Do something new
This is not a ‘get way out of your comfort zone and do something crazy’ (although, go for it if that feels right to you). This is about doing new things that you’ve always wanted to try and maybe opted to stay home instead. It might be a writing class, or a book club, a new craft or skill you’ve always wished you could do like hand lettering or crochet. Maybe it’s something like aerial yoga or a dance class.
Sometimes it can be fun to do something new on your own and enjoy the energising feeling of being with others but being able to stay quiet. But it could also be that you meet someone wonderful – even just a friend for the day – and leave with a beautiful experience.
What have you always wanted to try and haven’t gotten around to it?
Let an extravert adopt you
This is a cute internet meme that’s been going around about how introverts usually make friends – being adopted by extraverts. There are lots of different people and personalities out there and – even though it might seem like a draining thing – having an extraverted ally or two can be a glorious thing. Some of my favourite people in the world have pushed me a little to be friends with them and my life is all the better because of it.
Extraverts are so much fun, they bring a whole different energy to your life and when you find the right extraverted people for you, the dynamic can be really incredible – even if you only see each other every once in a while. If someone is pursuing your friendship, let you guard down a little and give them a chance, it could be the start of a beautiful friendship.
If you want to reach out to someone, reach out
One of the most common things I see around the place is people asking how they reach out to someone they know they could be friends with. It could be the fear of rejection or the fear of social awkwardness but, at the end of the day, people generally want to be liked. Is there a time in your life where someone has said, ‘Hey I like you, we should be friends’? If not, how would you feel if that happened to you?
Do you think it would feel pretty good (even if there was a hint of ‘Why!?’ and ‘Eek someone is paying attention to me’ in there)?
If you see a kindred spirit in the (real or online) world, think about how you would want someone to approach you and give it a go.
It could be a coffee date offer, or a one-on-one business accountability, or just an every now and then Skype date.
The worst thing that could happen is they say ‘no thanks’, or don’t get back to you. And, if that’s the case, they weren’t for you in the first place. But each time you take a tiny little leap like that, you’re strengthening your resilience and your comfort zone muscles. Eventually you will find your people, I just know it.
Wherever you’re at in your life, there’s always an opportunity to make a new friend. Taking stock every now and then of who’s in your life and who you’d like in your life is a great way of opening yourself up to deep and meaningful connections – even if you’re not sure where they’re going to come from.
I speak from experience when I say it can be easy to close ourselves off to new people and miss out on having extraordinary people in our lives. Yes, too many people at once can be draining to us, and managing our energy is important, but so is having wholehearted connections with others.
Don’t you agree?
Got any advice for people looking to make new friends? Leave a comment below and let us know, or share this with someone you know would like some more people in their lives!