Want to make more friends? Adopt these strategies
The epidemic of loneliness has gripped modern society. Even if you have millions of followers and subscribers you're bound to feel alone if you can't click with the right people.
The 'problem' seems to get worse as we grow older. As kids, it was easier to make friends. You're surrounded by people of the same age group and interact with those who share similar interests and likes. Post college we mature, in a lot of ways – evolve. We identify with ourselves and grow more comfortable in our skin as we tend to focus on what matters more to us.
This might seem like the perfect recipe for attracting new friends and deepening old relationships. This is, however, not true. As we grow older, relationships change. We change. Our friends change. Or worse you move or drift away from your clique.
With the added responsibility of building a career and maintaining a family, comes the pressure of commercial socializing. In other words, we feel the pressing need for our social standing to portray a vibrant social life, even if in truth we've never felt lonelier. This may be even more pronounced in the age of social media as no one wants to admit they’re lonely or that they have no social life.
Man is a social being. As such, loneliness is terrible for our psychological and even physical health. So what can you do to make some new friends?
Besides, looking outside your immediate social circle, look for meet-up groups that share similar interests. Join a club or a sporting activity or even a traveler's group. Facebook has a number of open and closed groups where members meet on a regular basis. But, if catching up in a cafe is not your cup of tea maybe you strike up a conversation with someone over the sunset or that frozen river in the snow-capped mountains. Isn't this so much better than sending friend requests to mutual friends? Better still, start your own group if you can't find what you're looking for.
Another option is networking. Use your social media connections or go to parties and try and meet friends of friends, those who seem interesting to you but you’ve never talked to. The exposure effect says the more someone is exposed to you, the more they like you.
Studies suggest that when you interact with someone, remember The Golden Rule of Friendship. Make someone else feel good about him or herself and they're likely to be interested in you, too. Also, consider the power of listening. Most people are too preoccupied with themselves. Show interest in someone you have a good rapport with.
Making new friends is easier than you think. All it takes is the courage to get out of your comfort zone. So what are you waiting for? Gotta-catch 'em all, eh?