As outlined in Part 1, making friends often becomes more challenging as we get older. We typically aren't meeting as many new people as we used to when we were younger. And when we do meet new people, a wide range of circumstances and factors can make it difficult to move past small talk in order to form a lasting connection.
There's no question that good friendships tend to involve some elements that we have little control over, like chemistry, luck, and timing. However, with increased awareness and some effort, it's possible to improve the odds of making connections and building friendships – even at a later stage in life. Continuing on from Part 1, here are some more tips to help you navigate this area successfully.
Pursue hobbies and interests that you genuinely enjoy, including solitary activities.
It goes without saying that pursuing social activities that bring you into contact with new people will open the door to potential friendships. But there are other reasons to pursue hobbies and interests that you enjoy. First of all, it gives you something to occupy your time with during the periods when you don't have friends to connect with.
Secondly, it makes you a more interesting and engaging person to others. It shows that you have something on the go, and it helps people get a sense of who you are and what you value. Whether your hobby is something social or solitary, it can wind up serving as the catalyst that moves a conversation from initial small talk to something a more meaningful.
Attention introverts: reconsider those invitations you might normally decline.
What if you don't consider yourself a social butterfly? What if you dislike crowds, or you lean towards more of an introverted nature? This type of orientation can make meeting people and forming friendships even more challenging, at any age. If you fall into this category, consider attending some of those events and get-togethers you might normally be inclined to pass over (even though it may be the last thing you want to do.)
This doesn't mean you should ignore your own needs or get into any situation that doesn't feel right to you. Nor should you spend hours in an uncomfortable environment that just leaves you feeling stressed and exhausted afterwards. However, look for those opportunities to stretch yourself a little. Consider attending those social events where you see the potential to meet like-minded individuals. You never know who else will show up, and there's always a chance that a situation may even turn out to be more enjoyable than you anticipated!
Don't take rejection personally, as if often has little or nothing to do with you.
Regardless of how someone appears in public, you don't know the issues they're facing privately or what they may be going through. If someone is dealing with family issues, or in the midst of financial difficulties, that's likely where their primary focus will be. Meeting new people and building new friendships is likely the last the thing on their mind, as they simply don't have the time or emotional energy for it.
The bottom line is, we don't have the full story on someone else's life, and we rarely know all that's going on behind the scene. There can be plenty going on that we don't know about and would never guess at. Therefore, if someone pulls back, seems standoffish, or doesn't reciprocate when you try to reach out to them, press pause before reacting. Don't rush to take things personally and hold off from jumping to any conclusions. It's quite possible that the person's response actually has little or nothing to do with you, but rather is reflective of where they happen to be at in their own life at this point in time.
Making friends later in life can be a challenge, but it isn't impossible. But by making a conscious effort to stay open to new people and situations, you can increase the likelihood of finding people you connect with.
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