No New Friends?
You’ve probably heard the saying that friends are the family you chose. And it is true, especially if you do not live near your family. Your friendships are an integral part of life.
Contrary to what you may believe you are never too old to make friends. Fostering friendships in adulthood has to be intentional and genuine. Unlike youth or even your college years where meeting new people is expected and school allows you to meet new people who are open to new relationships, it is not the exact same after college. You begin to find your niche and your peers seem to have solidified their close circle of friends. Also, you may not often be in spaces that encourage talking with strangers and some events are strictly for business, not friendship. However, not all hope is lost. I’ve been able to find an entire new tribe of friends, organically, that range from close confidants to fellow bloggers and entrepreneurs, to those with common interests for attending events together.
First, define the relationship. Not every person you meet is the Nettie to your Celie, and that’s okay. Like everything else in life, there’s levels to this. Ask yourself questions such as is this person a professional acquaintance, did you meet them in a social environment, is it a combination of professional and personal? Knowing the type of relationship it is will help you to establish boundaries.
Communication is crucial, no matter the type of friendship. The relationship will help determine the frequency and type of communication methods to use. Do you meet up quarterly to catch up, or do you email, talk or text on a weekly basis? Either is fine but to keep relationships strong and mutually beneficial there must be communication. Check in with people to see what’s new in their life. Do you they need anything? Maybe you have resources you can share or an antidote to problem they’ve been facing. For my professional friends keeping in touch semi-regularly helps us keep abreast of what each is doing so when opportunities come across our paths we can share them with each other. I have friends I talk to every week and some I only speak with a few times a year, but we have established a communication methods that work for us and the intimacy of our relationship.
Most importantly, keep it authentic. People can spot a fake person quicker than they can a fake bag. Don’t force friendship where it doesn’t seem to be naturally occurring. Instead, give your time, energy and your honesty to those who value and reciprocate it (cue Lauryn Hill’s Ex-Factor). Being genuine has been key to the relationships I’ve developed in adulthood. By sharing my time and energy others have openly shown their appreciation and we develop trust early.
Friendships in adulthood have become essential to my personal and professional success. By being open to new relationships, at a variety of levels, and purposely fostering them I’ve developed a network of individuals that root each other on and help propel each other to success.