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How to make friends and have meaningful relationships [2020].

As we get older, making and keeping friends can be difficult. If you're wondering how to make friends, you probably have many more questions that come with it.... , 2020-05-24

Humans are social creatures by nature, and scientists and psychologists have shown this to be true. In fact, psychologists have conducted studies and shown that the degree to which a person is socialised, without the presence of others, can directly correlate to how good (or bad) their health is. Or, to put it bluntly: if humans do not connect with others, we could literally die of loneliness.

As we age, making and keeping friends can be difficult. Life tends to get in the way - a job, a move, a new relationship - and people tend to let their friendships fall by the wayside. Don't let that happen! Later in life, when you no longer have that job or get out of that one relationship, you will need friends and social interaction to survive.

Julianne Holt-Lundstad, a psychologist at Brigham Young University in Utah, did a study on social interactions and health and how mortality rates vary depending on how social a person is.

There is a difference between being lonely and feeling lonely, and the deciding factor is whether or not you have a good social
life. We don't like to be alone and prefer to spend time with people and when we are not fulfilling that aspect of our lives, it negatively affects our health.

According to The Guardian, Julianne Holt-Lunstad said that friends and family can improve health in many ways, from helping in difficult times to finding meaning in life. "When someone is connected to a group and feels a sense of responsibility to other people, that sense of purpose and meaning translates into taking better care of themselves and taking fewer risks."

If you're wondering how to make friends, you probably have many more questions that come with it. First of all, it's important to understand who you are and what you have to offer people.

I mean, really
, who are you? Are you kind-hearted and a good listener? Do you consider yourself trustworthy and reliable? What are your hobbies and passions and interests, and can you meet people who do these things? Then ask yourself if you are looking for acquaintances at work or if you hope to secure lifelong friendships. Would you consider yourself a people person? Do you enjoy conversation or do you prefer casual chit-chat?

Before you start down the rabbit hole of fear, know that it is possible to make new friends and have a social circle or social life when you are out of school and in the workplace. It is possible to be social and engage with people who may be in your life for years to come, but it just takes a lot more effort.

Before we get into it, know that there are 3 main types of friendships you can have in your life:

1. Acquaintances. These are people you get along with at work, but you don't necessarily spend time with them or talk to them outside of work. And that's okay! What matters is that you get along.

2. Mutual friends. These are the people you spend time with from time to time. You consider them friends because you are sociable with them, but your conversation is typically about generic topics.

3. Soul mates. These close friends are people with whom you can talk about anything and everything. Time can pass when you don't talk much or spend time with them and that's okay because you both understand each other well enough to know that the strength of your relationship isn't determined by that.

Making new friends as kids was a lot easier. I mean, kids don't care that much because they're not hardened to the world and the judgement that comes with certain people. For kids, all they have to do is go up to someone in their class and ask, "Do you like swings?" or "I like ballet. Do you like ballet?" Kids don't care much except if you have the same interests as them and if you're nice. It's as simple as that!

As an adult, things are getting harder, including how to make friends. Meeting new people can be difficult. Whether you struggle with social skills or you've never understood the meaning of friendship and how to maintain close relationships with people, it's really, really hard.

So, okay, How to make friends 101: let's get to it.


How to make friends

Be yourselfTo
develop and maintain a friendship, you have to have a personality that people appreciate. You want to be the person someone wants to be around! That said, you have to be yourself.

Don't change who you are just to impress someone. (Unless you are rude, judgmental, a bad listener, dishonest and untrustworthy, then maybe you should make some changes). Be authentic to who you are, as well as your hobbies and passions.

Don't be fake. Don't pretend you like a certain hobby just because a friend does and you want to bond over something - it's okay if you don't have the same interests! Individuality is a good thing to possess in friendships and relationships.

Remember: friends and influence go hand in hand. You become the people you surround yourself with. If someone rubs you the wrong way, that's okay, you shouldn't force yourself to be friends with someone just because you want friends. The way they act will always rub off on you and the way you act will rub off on them.

Open your heart.
It's okay to be emotional and personal with friends, that's what friends are for. If opening your heart isn't really your thing, that's fine! But still, face your fears and step out of your comfort zone. It will be worth it.

Keep a good character.
Be kind, understanding, sympathetic, understanding, loyal, accepting, open-minded, a good listener. Be sympathetic to the person's point of view on things and hopefully they will do the same for you.

Get to know the person better.
What are their hobbies? What do they do for a living, or what is their dream career? What are they passionate about? What are their favourite films, foods and books? Do you have any of these things in common?

Get out and be social.
If you're in high school or college, get to know the people in your classes. Maybe there are some sports or clubs you can join that allow you to meet people. Accept invitations to parties or get-togethers to meet people. Or, if you're not in school, take a yoga class or a cooking class and make friends with the people there.


How to make friends... and keep that friendship:

Spend time together.
Once you've established your mutual hobbies and interests, think of ways to spend time together. Whether it's cooking, watching movies, reading books, doing yoga, scrapbooking, there's always a way to get together and do things with friends.

For example, I am a bookworm. Some of my best friends are also bookworms. We're all 23 or 24 years old and we've managed to be good friends with each other. There are about seven in our group of friends and we are all bookworms... so we decided to start a book club. We decide on a book, read it, and then schedule time in the future to get together for book club where we drink wine, eat snacks, and talk about the book briefly before catching up on each other's lives. It's a great way to get together, talk about something we're all interested in, and also make an effort to check in with each other.

Keep in touch.
Make an effort to keep in touch with the people you consider your friends. If you don't talk that often, reach out to them from time to time and ask, "Hi, how are you?" or "Just checking in, hope you're doing well." Try to schedule a time to meet them for coffee or drinks or just to catch up. By making the effort, it shows that you care about this person enough to know what's going on in their lives. Social media is a great way to keep in touch with the people you are friends with, no matter where you are and no matter what you are doing.

Does social media influence friendships and relationships?

In a word, yes.

Social media can help us meet new people online and stay strictly online because of distance, but social media can also help us meet people online and then meet them face-to-face later. Online friendships are becoming increasingly popular, thanks to platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

When I was in high school, in addition to the regular
 friends I had at school (who I hung out with on weekends and talked to every day), I had a lot of online friends. I had friends who lived in London, Florida, upstate New York. We met through Twitter and bonded over the love of a boy band (yes, them). Then, in college, I developed more friendships and relationships through social media. I dated a boy band guy and became friends with his friends. The guy I dated was always a conversation starter and I developed a circle of friends within the music scene, all because of a person I met online.

A great thing about social media is your connection with others and how well you influence people. Great examples are David Dobrik and his "Vlog Squad" - if you know him, you probably know his friends too, and how they all work together as friends and influence the people who follow them.

Or, another example, the Tik Tok "stars" at the Hype House. These young people have managed to gain friends and influence; as well as building their social media following and gaining 'influence', they have also built friendships with the people they live with? Or so it seems. Can you really win friends? Are those friendships real? Only they can say...


How to make friends online

Technology tends to make it more difficult for people to go out and meet people. However, at the same time, technology also makes it quite easy to make friends online and keep in touch with people, even if you can't see them in person. Thanks to social media, you can make friends without even leaving your home.

Connect with each other.
In other words, follow each other on social media. Sometimes friendships and relationships happen naturally when they are "mutual" on social media, such as Twitter or Instagram.

Case in point: this girl and I follow each other on Instagram. I live in New York City and she lives in Los Angeles. We became friends just by commenting on each other's photos with uplifting messages and reactions. One day, she came up to me and said she was visiting NYC for a week and wanted to know if I would be free for coffee, so we met when she was in town! We were already friends, but having a face-to-face conversation and spending a few hours together showed us that we have many more interests and even friends in common.

Join a Facebook group.
Befriending people online is so much easier because all it takes is a click of a button or a simple message to start a conversation.

Try the Facebook group for a mutual interest or hobby, and if that's the case, reach out to people you find interesting and try to be their friend! Say something nice or engaging enough to start the conversation and take it from there. There are Facebook groups for everything, so join one!

We meet people and maintain our social relationships, because doing so is a fundamental part of our lives and who we are as social creatures, but I think there is something to be said for "joining a group". Yes, having friends is really vital for a good life, but it's important to know the people you surround yourself with. It's a good feeling to know you have a circle of friends, but when it comes to the serious things in life - death, break-ups, job loss, etc. - you can't necessarily rely on them as a support system. The key is to have a couple of amazing friends and, if possible, a lot of good friends. You know how that saying goes: "I'd rather have 4 quarters than 100 pennies".

Making new friends is not necessarily an easy thing to do. Making friends, building relationships with people and making connections takes work and effort. It will take time. Not everyone you meet is going to fit in with you and that's okay! Try hard and be a good person, and the people you are destined to have as friends will become more and more obvious as time goes on. Maintaining the friendships you have made also takes effort. If you don't talk every day, that's fine - just check in once in a while. Take the time to meet up with them, when you can. Do something that interests you mutually.

Good friends are hard to find but even harder to keep, so make sure you're putting love and energy into those relationships. At the end of your life, you'll be glad you did.

I am Alegsa

I have been writing horoscope and self-help articles professionally for over 20 years.

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