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How to Make Friends

people-friends-relaxing-chillingIt seems to be a common problem of growing older that it becomes increasingly more difficult to make friends. In high school and college sheer proximity helped to forge some of the strongest friendships we’ll ever have. As we get older though, and get into our thirties and forties, making friends gets more and more difficult.

It seems that friendships go from being all-inclusive to once in a blue moon hangout time where it’s hard to form any deep, lasting bond. As we get older people get busier and busier, and what once were spur of the moment hangouts now have to be scheduled weeks or months in advance.

It’s definitely a strange state of affairs. There are still ways to make friends though.

I go to a coffee shop every day. Usually in the morning and there are other regulars just like me. I didn’t speak to these people in earnest until about six months into going to the same coffee shop everyday. Sure we’d say “hi” and everything, but it took getting an article published in the newspaper for them to start up a true conversation with me. Even then I was wary of interacting because, well, I’m a paranoid individual.

Slowly these small chats turned into discussing books and authors and magazines and soon, though we don’t hang out outside of the coffee shop, these regulars essentially became new friends.

What I’m saying is that what worked in college still works. Proximity and repeated exposure to these people cemented bonds.

I realize it’s hard to make friends if you don’t have a regular place you go where you can get to know the people but that’s a reason groups were invented. Meeting people with the same interests is as simple as attending a weekly group. Maybe it’s a group for writers or maybe it’s a yoga class but there are pockets where the same people go week in, week out and getting to know these people can be beneficial for someone looking to form a community.

Outside of work, where a lot of friendships are formed as well, you can get to know people simply by going back to places enough times. It may take a while, but if you’re feeling brave try attending a group and starting up a conversation. You never know who you’ll meet, you might find that you’ll make a new friend for life.

The point of all this is to say that friendships can’t be formed in a day, just like every other good thing in life, it takes time and patience and persistence to meet people and form friendships. It may seem weird, especially if you’re like me and are a bit of a misanthrope. But eventually, with enough time, you’ll grow to trust people and you’ll get more and more bold in making, first, polite conversation and then eventually the deep stuff.

We could all do with someone with whom to talk about the deep stuff. Also, you only need one or two good friends to feel fulfilled.

Don’t get discouraged, just talk to people more than once and eventually you’ll meet someone you get along with.

How to Make Friends


Michael Hedrick

Michael Hedrick is a writer and photographer who has lived with schizophrenia since he was 20. His work has been featured in Salon, The Week, Scientific American and The New York Times. You can purchase his book 'Connections' here or Follow his blog on Living with Schizophrenia here.


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APA Reference
Hedrick, M. (2016). How to Make Friends. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 20, 2019, from https://blogs.psychcentral.com/two-minds/2016/02/how-to-make-friends/

 

Last updated: 11 Feb 2016
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