Life is like a drive, and each swerve and turn we make signifies a change along our journey. When we’re young, we’re constantly making decisions and taking new roads – choosing the education we want to pursue, the job we want to take, the path we want to go. Our decisions cause changes in our life, and we learn to adapt to our new surroundings. It’s how we grow and find our place in the world.
Every new experience means meeting new people and making new friends. But, as we age, most people find their niche of people and get comfortable with their friend group. We’re more likely to drive on cruise control. If you’re breaching out and experiencing something new in your adult years, such as going back to school, starting a new job, or becoming a part of a new community, you’re going to need a support group in your new adventure. Follow along for some tips for creating new friendships later in life.
Step Outside the Box
One of the best tips to know when discovering new relationships is to be open-minded. Most people think that their friends need to be their twin. Perhaps we’re naturally programmed to seek out people who look the same as us and have similar experiences, or perhaps this is how we stick to our comfort zone. Either way, reaching out to people who have different stories and lifestyles is one way to expand your horizons.
Push intergenerational boundaries by striking up conversation with younger members of your newest community. What’s their perspective of the job, the current events, the community, the world? Share with them your thoughts on the topics. You may just find something that you never thought you’d have in common.
Beyond age, don’t be a stranger to people who are a different gender, race, ethnicity, religion, etc. Even if you find that you don’t have much in common, appreciate each other’s authenticity and enjoy the time discovering fresh angles on life.
Once you find someone that you feel really connected to, invite them to get together with you. Anything will do! At this point, you should have a good idea of something both of you would enjoy. If you both have the same passion, find something to do in that vein. Whether you go out to lunch to try a new restaurant, hit the outdoors for a nice hike, or invite them over for a home-cooked meal, the idea is to get to know one another better.
While spending time together, invest in building the relationship. Small talk is a great way to break the ice, but now it’s time to go beyond that. Without prying, ask your friend questions about their life when the conversation presents the opportunity. You can’t have a meaningful friendship without getting a little personal.
Keep the flow going by planning more times to meet up with each other. Consistency is key. In order to build a support system, you’re going to need time to bond with your new friends. Deep relationships don’t happen overnight, and for good reason. Your consistency will also send the message that you care and you’re invested in the new friendship.
In turn, you can expect the same level of reliability. Relationships are a two-way street, and you should have a trusted friendship that you can depend on in your times of need.
Don’t Force It!
Any new place or situation is easier when you have someone you know or who makes you feel comfortable. While the first person you met during your new experience may become your next best friend, you shouldn’t feel like they have to be.
Every new person you come across and have conversation with is a new opportunity, but that doesn’t mean it will always flourish into a beautiful friendship. Be open-minded, but also be picky when seeking out new friends and a support system.
Did one of your best friendships occur later in life? Tell us how it happened – we love stories!
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Whether you are an avid TWE reader or first time downloader, a member of the iGeneration or on the brink of retirement, my hope is that through this eBook you can discover what matters most to you in life and and time to appreciate it all.