Who are your friends?
A recent survey has determined you might not have a lot of close relationships in your life. In fact, the number of people who claim to have more than three solid friendships in their lives is only 37% or one-third of the population. Even more discouraging is the idea that fully 27% of adults say they have no close relationships at all.
Making friends as an adult is a daunting idea. For one thing, we’re swamped. We get caught up on our personal responsibilities and business goals that frequently we don’t make time for a social life outside of loose connections with our children’s friends’ parents and professional networking. Who has the time?
This comes up at my house when my wife and I talk about joining a small group at church. It’s a great thing. It’s positive. Still, I have a hard time committing to another weekly appointment when life throws so many other things at us. We have Church, Scouts, Figure Skating, Bicycling, and our businesses which keep us engaged with the community. So when it comes to making friends – I ask again… who has the time?
Thankfully, you do. It actually takes less time than you think to discover the joy of adult friendships. You can start with these simple tips:
Start with the Old
Why reinvent the wheel? Instead, ask yourself who your friends used to be. Is it possible you can rekindle some old friendships? In this era of social media, tracking down your best friend from high school is easier than ever. Why not shoot someone a quick message or text to open up the conversation all over again?
Become a Listener
When in groups of new people, rather than working hard to be the life of the party, why not take a step back? Making a point to actively listen to people makes you more attractive to those around you (everyone loves a listener) and puts you in the position of discovering the things which intrigue you most about others. It’s a simple way to learn about shared interests, so you can strike up a friendship.
Take it to the Next Level
Have acquaintances but aren’t quite ready to call them friends yet? Try opening up a little. Being vulnerable forges intimacy with others and deepens the friendship, taking it to the next level. In our post-pandemic world, you can easily blend your interactions for a hybrid experience. You can meet someone in person, share email, text, and reconnect via Google Meet, Zoom, or other channels. I believe it is still important to have tactile meet-ups intermittently though.
Stay in Touch
Worried about how to hang onto the friends you have? If you want to keep people from falling off the radar and becoming distant, make a point to check in with them once in a while. Send a text, make a call, and set up a chance to get together. By checking in, you’re telling the other person they’re important to you and worth your time. A general rule of thumb? Connect about every two weeks. This is not a hard and fast rule. I have friends that I can talk to after a year and its like we never disconnected. Others take maintenance.
One word of caution here. If you find that you are the sole energizer in the effort to stay in touch, it may be time to evaluate the relationship and replace the friend. In a perfect world, you want to be friends or connected to people that want to be connected to you.
Make a Group
Even better? Start putting your friends together in one place by creating a group of friends. There’s nothing more fun than hanging out in a gathering of people who enjoy each other’s company. Start simple, with a lunch date or drinks after work.
You Might be Asking
How does this relate to the book “Action Leadership From the Edge”? This whole article is Leadership from the Edge of Your Circle… Making a Group is formalizing your circle and encouraging its growth. See — told you we give you actionable content. Let’s go!!