Remember when you were a kid and making a friend was as easy as going to the playground? As adults it’s not quite that simple. We can no longer walk up to a stranger and ask if they want to swing with us.
(trust me, they get really weirded out)
Less Social Media, More Being Social
Many of our busy schedules don’t allow for us to meet new people and develop new friendships now that we’re out of our school years and our lives move in different directions. And with our increasing reliance on technology, it’s easy to feel isolated and without a tight support network. We think everyone else is out there living their best lives. We envy what they have but spend all our time checking our notifications and being sure we’re up-to-date on every post that we miss out on the reality that’s happening right in front of us. In this Information Age, the most important information to have is about the people that surround you every day.
Let’s start relying less on our social media and rely more on just being social. Your life is a reflection of where you invest your time, invest it where it counts.
Science Wants You to Have Friends
Fortunately, unlike our childhood days, as grown-ups we don’t need our parents’ permission to go hang out with someone, we can schedule our own “play dates.” We also have a better understanding of why friendships are so significant to our emotional—and even physical—health and we can take our own proactive steps to improve our social lives if and when we need to. So, let’s skip on over to that playground and start mingling.
If you starting to get the nervous sweats thinking about having to put yourself out there to meet someone, don’t worry; it’s a natural reaction for most people. Thankfully you have us on your side and we’re here with some tips and tricks to help you be the coolest new friend anyone meets.
Aside from the obvious benefits of having a tight-knit network, there are other not-so-obvious perks to these close connections. Mind and body benefits include immune system boosts, increased memory abilities, and even a more positive outlook on life. These honest bonds can hold you accountable, offer a sounding board, and can actually decrease the stress in your life. Don’t believe us? Well, these are scientifically-proven facts from the American Psychological Association!
That’s right, science wants you to have friends too.
Now that we’ve established scientifically-supported reasons to keep friendships a priority, let’s talk about some of the countless ways you can start connecting with people in your life.
Common Connections and Courteous Conversations
We all have that one friend we wish we still talked to, right? Why not reconnect! Foundations of friendships never fade, and reconnecting is the perfect opportunity to bring that friendship back to life. There’s no time like the present to catch up with old acquaintances—you never know, they may have been wanting to reach out to you, too. Someone has to take the first step, so challenge yourself and let that someone be you.
Finding common interests is always guaranteed to help break the ice between strangers. Many communities offer local meetups about a topic (like gardening, politics, or cuisine) where you know you’ll already have something in common with other attendees. What better way to find conversational points? Not to mention, meeting up in groups eases the pressure of feeling in the spotlight or that you have to carry the conversation.
Getting involved with volunteer groups that support causes important to you will also introduce you to like-minded individuals and open the opportunity to do good in the world. Maybe consider joining our Curator Program—being a Curator immediately connects you to a network of other strong businesswomen who share your same passion for Fair Trade and sustainability.
Can’t find a group that interests you? Start your own! Keeping in touch with a group can use the same amount of effort as keeping in touch with one person. And it’s not as difficult as you may think. Find at least one person with your interest then watch the group multiply—that friend will invite some of her friends who will invite some of their friends and, before you know it, you’ve got gal pals out the wazoo.
If you have kids, strike up a conversation at a park, at a playdate, or join a local parent group. Parents have almost an immediate connection and endless stories that are sure to end in belly laughs. Just remember, asking them to swing on the swings may not be your best opening line.
Nervous Sweats No More
Have those nervous sweats now? We hope not.
There are so many more ideas we could give, but this is where we send you off to make us proud by trying any one of these ideas. Once you’ve found some gals you enjoy hanging out with, remember to also make the time and effort to continue growing your bonds. We’re all busy, so be deliberate and check in with your friends regularly. As in any relationship, friendships require some work.
Don’t let science down, go out and start making those friends. We know you’ve got this.