Can we all just take a moment to acknowledge how difficult it is to actually make new friends? Not just social media friends, but real "I'm-calling-you-right-now-because-I-need-you" friends. Gone are my college days when I was surrounded by thousands of other undergrads looking to make lifelong friends, and now I'm faced with what feels like an incredibly daunting task of building new friendships as someone in their mid-twenties.
Whether you've just moved to a new city for a new job or are simply looking to make some new friends in this season of life, we wanted to offer some of our best tips for you!
Fight the fear. This might be the hardest, but most important tip of all! It's so easy to look at a friendship that went wrong or your lack of girlfriends this current season and believe that you just aren't cut out to have good girlfriends. If I could, I'd politely grab your face, look you in the eyes, and say "that, my friend, is a lie." We created our Fruitful Friendships Workbook to help you walk through who you are and what you hope to find and grow in friendships. There's also a section for you to reflect on past friendships–both good and hard–to find common threads. Similar to PowerSheets Prep Work, reflecting on these things help you uncover what's important to you as you cultivate these new friendships!
Start with who you know! Take advantage of the friends who say "Oh, you should meet ___! You'd totally get along!" Whether it's someone who lives in the new city you're moving to, or a friend with a common interest, ask a friend to connect you to that person, and then reach out to them to schedule a time to hang out. If any of my friends say, "Jess, you should totally meet ____; she loves guacamole and reading" you can bet that girl is going to get a follow-up email or text message from me!
Commit to something you love that meets regularly. The key here is to find an event that occurs regularly; it doesn't have to be every week, just consistently so it's already on your calendar! One of our Editors, Emily, created an Articles Club along with a friend of hers and used her social media platforms to invite local friends! Nicole signed up for a local pottery class last year. My boyfriend and his friend's in Atlanta are on a bocce team that plays once a week. The opportunities are endless! Whether it's a mom's group, a small group through your faith community, a sport league, a skills class or a book club, there are so many ways to find friends who have common interests or are in the same season of life as you.
Embrace awkward. We've already established that making friends is hard, and it doesn't happen overnight. Learn more about how (and why!) to embrace awkward in your friendships–both new and old. As Lara says, perfect the art of the awkward pause and wait for all the good that is to come! Get out there, ask lots of questions, and don't be tempted to fill in the silence. My favorite conversation starter? What's one thing that is keeping you up at night? It's a pretty simple question on the surface, but it opens the conversation up to go past surface level. Sign up for our Fruitful Summer series for our free conversation seeds and other second questions to try!
Be available. Some of my favorite friendships have come from simply saying yes, even when I'm tired (especially when I'm tired!) When you receive an invitation, be open to stepping out and saying yes. Obviously, if you need some alone time or have already scheduled two things that evening, you can say no. However, don't fall into the trap of just wanting to go home and change into your pajamas at 6pm (please tell me I'm not the only one who does this?!)
Challenge yourself! Add one of these tips to your PowerSheets Tending List this month as a challenge to yourself! If you're looking for more ways to get started, page 25 of our Fruitful Friendships Workbook is full of ideas that have worked for the Cultivate team as well as tips sourced directly from each of you (you guys are seriously full of so much wisdom!)
My final piece of advice? Find friends that think you're hilarious :) Photo by Olivia Suriano of Nancy Ray Photography
What do you have to add to this list? Leave a comment with the craziest way you've made a new friend!