As we evolve and grow into more of ourselves, it’s natural to lose touch with close friends and shed old relationships that just don’t reflect who we are anymore. But when your social circle starts to feel incomplete, how do you meet the right people to fill in those gaps? It’s true that genuine connections are harder to come by in our increasingly digital world, but it’s also important to understand that there is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way to get to know someone. If you’re looking to widen your friendship horizons, here is some helpful insight on how to start and sustain friendships in a digital world.
At some point, we need to accept that meeting people through online profiles is just the way of the world now. Recognizing that we’re all in the same cyber-boat here is an important first step to putting yourself out there. Whether you’re a transplant in a new city, or decided you just want to branch out, apps like Bumble BFF, Wink, or Peanut are a great way to find people with similar interests. These apps make it easy to connect to hundreds of people in an instant. Just like app dating, it starts with a question, some banter, and unfolds into going out for drinks or dinner. You won’t regret it!
Technology can be your BFF when you’re seeking a new BFF, but once a bond has been established, screen time can stand in the way of enjoying one another’s company. In some cases, relegating a new relationship to “online only” can unknowingly become a buffer or barrier to connecting in 3D. Don’t forget that humans are social creatures wired to be near one another. Genuine friendship requires setting up in-person quality time. If there’s someone you love messaging with or a new acquaintance that’s become your favorite FaceTime contact on way home from work, perhaps it's time to lean into developing the kind of trusting exchange that can only build in the same room. Make plans and go through with them. Be patient with yourself and others, and remember that it is never too late to make an effort.
Facebook is literally designed for friends. Not only does the platform help maintain connections as life and geographical distance take us further away, but it’s also full of opportunities to interact with new individuals who share your interests and experiences – some may already be right in your neighborhood! If you research different Facebook groups in your area, it’s highly likely you’ll find one full of women looking to do the same thing that you are. Facebook has groups devoted to every hobby under the sun. If you still can’t manage to find exactly the group you’re looking for, don’t be afraid to make your own. Since online safety is always something to consider, know that many groups are kept private. Hopeful members must request to join and are often asked to share a little bit about why they want to join. It’s a trustworthy and easy way to meet new people.
Look around. New friendships and relationships might be right in front of you! There are opportunities to meet new people everywhere you go. A fitness class, the grocery store, or waiting for your order at a coffee shop are all ripe with friendship potential. Starting with a compliment is a perfect icebreaker, all you have to do is be brave enough to deliver it. If this sounds like a social anxiety nightmare, just think how you would respond if someone came up to you and said they liked your outfit.
Fostering any fledgling relationship means putting yourself out there. Solid friendships are worth their weight in gold, and they take kindness, patience, and effort. You may get disappointed from time. Sometimes people who seem easy going at first surprise you with a sudden switch, and there’s always the possibility of getting ghosted or rejected. Stay positive. The ones that fall away weren’t meant to be. Prioritize your boundaries and value your own judgment.
Making friends takes vulnerability and bravery. As an adult there may be many things holding you back from taking the leap to build the relationships you want, but taking one of these first steps will put you in a whole new mindset. Make efforts and take advantage of your situations, be mindful of the opportunities around you, and always remember to have fun with it!
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