Making new friends as an adult is no easy feat. After the ample opportunities to socialize in college have come and gone, many adults find it difficult, if not impossible, to expand their social circle. With long hours at work and romantic relationships occupying the bulk of our time, it’s harder than ever to find time to make new pals. In fact, a study from Relate and Relationships Scotland reveals that 1 in 10 adults say that they have no close friends at all. While feeling alone can be depressing, that doesn’t mean friendlessness will be your fate forever. In fact, taking some solo time to work on yourself is the first step toward building healthier relationships with others.
“If you want to attract positive people into your life, it starts with you,” says Dr. Jaime Kulaga, PhD, LMHC, and life coach. “Be sure that the vibe you are giving off attracts positivity. Why do positive people stay positive? They stay away from negative people. So, step one in attracting positivity in your life is to be just that, positive. Avoid gossiping and instead spend your energy on setting and working toward goals. Take up, and, pass on opportunities to others. Spend time focusing on what you do have and not what you don’t. Work toward having an open mind and growth mindset. As you shape yourself into a more positive person, you will begin attracting similar people into your life.”
While you can’t add more hours to the day, Dr. Kulaga says that allowing for some overlap between your professional and personal lives can help you meet people with similar interests. Her recommendation? Try attending networking events.
“Find a networking event that ties to what you do professionally. You know then that you are going to be surrounding yourself with like-minded people. At these events, you are not only meeting new people who you can do business with, but people are more apt to do business with people they like, know and trust. So, this means before you go to these events to sell something, you are going to build rapport and many times, friendships.”
If you’re still feeling apprehensive about putting yourself out there, reconnecting with old friends can help you expand your social circle without the jitters of meeting someone new. Even if you feel like your busy schedule has alienated some of your former friends, Dr. Kulaga says that it’s likely that people from your past are eager to hear from you.
“As busy adults, sometimes it can be lonely. But the reality is, many of us have great friends, it is just that the rush-rush and business of our society has ripped us apart or not given us much time together. In this case, rekindle old friendships. Reach out to the people you miss or used to spend time with and see if they want to reconnect,” she recommends.
“You may have to reconnect with the understanding that you can’t go out together every night like the ‘good-old-days,’ but that doesn’t mean you can’t spend time together at all. Take time to begin reconnecting with those positive, motivating people that once inspired you.” If you’re still having a hard time connecting, the 13 Reasons Why You’re Still Single could be to blame.
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