How to branch out and expand your social circle, no matter your age
There is a popular expression about friendship you’ve likely heard: “A stranger is just a friend you haven’t met yet.” But if you wonder where you can meet those strangers, you’re not alone.
“We lose friends as we age,” says Sherry Cormier, PhD, a psychologist and author. “We tend to stay in familiar social groups, but as people leave, move, or pass away, our social circles dwindle.”
Making new friends — at any age — is entirely possible. Whether you’re outgoing or shy and quiet, here is how to turn strangers into lifelong friends.
Seek out like minded people
“Go wherever people are doing what you enjoy, like travel, sports, or photography,” says Tina Tessina, PhD, a psychotherapist and author of Dr. Romance’s Guide to Finding Love Today. Senior or community centers, temples or churches, and Facebook or Meetup.com are excellent places to meet people.
Spark a conversation
“Ask people about places they’ve traveled to, or about their family,” says Christy Monson, a therapist and author of Finding Peace in Times of Tragedy.
You can also give potential new friends a simple compliment.
“Focus on something you notice about that person — a watch or an item of jewelry,” Tessina suggests. “Say, ‘I like your watch — does it have special meaning for you?’ or ‘Cool bracelet — I’d love to learn more about it.’ From the person’s response, you’ll find out if they’re open to a conversation.”
Keep the momentum going
“Don’t make the mistake of thinking that the friendship will keep going if you don’t put energy into it,” Tessina says.
If you have an obligation that interferes with an invitation from a new friend, don’t brush the invite off, she says. If you really are busy at that time, say so, but add, “I’d love to do it another time.”
While it requires some effort, spending quality time with friends is beneficial to your emotional, mental, and physical health, Tessina adds. “You’ll find that it isn’t as difficult as you think to make friends.”
Can you crack the emoji code below? Hint: It’s a popular 1980s television show.
ANSWER TO THE RIDDLE: slriG nedloG ehT