23 April 2014

We're just moved to an area where we don't know people and I'd like to gradually build a social life here.  But how to start?   

It's was easier to make friends when we were younger, especially when at college or university or when the children were growing up. But as we age there are fewer chances of coming into contact with people and also the people we meet have their own circle of friends and may not be looking to make new ones.  

It's very easy to get into the habit of relying on relations, which is great but not always fair when they have their own busy lives.  And we may not always be interested in the same activities as them anyway.

I don't just want to have friends/acquaintances of the same age, who live in the same area and who are just like me.  

Once I read that it's best to have one richer/one poorer friend; one more clever/one less clever; one older/one younger; one more outgoing/one less outgoing etc.  That sounds quite sensible, in that when, for instance, we feel like being quiet we can visit the quieter one; and when we want bringing out of ourselves we can talk to the noisier one.

Here are a few ideas of how to find friends:
  1. Spend more time around people, difficult but it goes without saying.
  2. Join an organisation or club to meet people with common interests. First work out what you're interested and find out what there is in the area (library, internet, asking people, notice boards, local paper).
  3. Volunteer: always a good way to meet people and also a chance to think about others, not just ourselves.
  4. Talk to people - but don't overwhelm them (something I need to guard against).
  5. Make eye contact and smile.
  6. Start a conversation.
  7. Make small talk, trying to achieve 30% talking and 70% listening.
  8. Introduce yourself at the end of the conversation (practice this first, so it seems more natural).

When you have met a few people:
  1. Initiate a get-together - one-to-one or a group?  With some people one-to-one is preferable.
  2. Pursue common interests.
  3. Ask them out for lunch or coffee, or some sort of expedition, for instance to buy something which is of joint interest.
  4. Don't pressure anyone into being a friend.

With friends:
  • Be loyal
  • Be a good friend
  • Be reliable
  • Be a good listener
  • Be trustworthy
  • Choose your friends wisely
  • Put emphasis on good unique qualities about yourself
  • Encourage your friend
  • Be confident
  • Don't separate your friend from the rest of the group
  • Keep in contact
Well I think that's enough to be getting on with for now, I'm off to the library to see what's happening in this area.


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