It’s probably no surprise to anyone when science shows us that having friends increases wellness and quality of life. However, in an increasingly complex and busy life, it can be hard to make meaningful connections and lasting friendships. While people may be quick to offer advice: “just get out there and talk to people!” “Join a group!” “Try speed dating!”, anyone who struggles to make friends knows that it’s not quite that simple. If this is you, may we suggest the following starting points instead:
Start by knowing yourself. Oftentimes, our struggle to make friends starts with a lack of confidence and low self-esteem, two prerequisites to connecting with others. If you don’t feel like “getting out there” right away, don’t force yourself. Instead, focus on changing your internal view of yourself. Avoid negative self-talk and focus on your positive qualities. Regular moderate exercise can also help build your self-esteem.
Find your passions. Just ‘talking to people’ doesn’t work because it presumes people are the prize to be won. The real prize is the connection you feel when sharing a passion or interest. Taking a class or volunteering for a cause are excellent opportunities to explore your interests. Do so with gusto and rewards will follow.
Invite people into your life: As you develop a strong self-image and interests in your world, you will gradually start to feel ready to connect and reach out. It’s at this point when getting out there, joining a group, or dating feel more natural and doable.
Above all, remember this is a process that takes time. Give yourself the breathing room and flexibility to evolve as you do. If you find that your feelings need more immediate attention Beck Psychotherapy offers a screening at http://www.beckpsychotherapy.com/Screenings.html .