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Breaking the Ice: New Friends & Networking

Breaking the Ice: New Friends & Networking published on No Comments on Breaking the Ice: New Friends & Networking

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As adults, it seems the older we get, we find we have few friends or we find it’s difficult to meet new people and expand our network. Life changes, career changes, moves, relationships, and different life phases also bring shifts in our friends and social circles.

Maybe you find that you’re shy, or that our modern busy lifestyle and lack of social context to meet new people isn’t there like college or high school, but sometimes it can leave you feeling isolated.
 
Truly, there is no single reason why it may be difficult to make new friends and meet people as an adult.
 
Then I came across this cartoon and it seemed to resonate with many of the stories I hear:
 
 duck-friends
Artwork copyright © Brian Gordon

Why did it seem easier when we were kids?
 
Although many people find it hard to create a deep and meaningful friendship in adulthood, it’s not so hard if you know what to do.
 
Consistency – When we were kids, there was school, band practice or sports. There was a consistent schedule where we would have the opportunity to meet others. As adults, there isn’t much life consistency outside of the work place. One way to expand your network to is take advantage of the social situations you’re current in. Invite co-workers or gym buddies to spend time outside of the work or gym environment. Happy hour or lunch is a great way to expand and build a friendship.
 
Be Vulnerable – Vulnerability is the key to emotional bonding, without which relationships tend to feel superficial. Children are put in situations where they naturally feel vulnerable, like after school dance classes or even school itself. Being in vulnerable situations make people feel needy and provide the opportunity for others to provide comfort or support and build bonds.
 
Make Yourself Available – Smile and say hello to everyone you meet. Everyone. Just this simple act will help you move away from any social shyness you may have and actually make you approachable. It may seem a little uncomfortable at first, but this will help you build confidence in yourself. The fact is everyone likes to be acknowledged. So, why not be the first to say hello?
 
Meetup.com – This is a great platform to meet others with similar interests. Attending a meetup event requires little effort except to show up!
 
Take classes or workshops – much like meetup you’ll meet others with similar interests but you’ll also expand your mind and skills. A pottery, yoga, or painting class can be fun and relaxing. It’s a win-win option.
 
Remember to have patience.
It takes time to become familiar with networking, talking to strangers, and breaking out of your routine to make room for new people in your life.
 
It especially takes time for new people to transition into buddies then friends. If someone isn’t ready to meet or hangout, don’t take it personally – just let it go. You don’t know what’s happening in someone’s world, especially when you don’t know him or her very well. Don’t let it discourage you.
 
Be brave, be yourself, and remember: there are lots of new and awesome people out there waiting for you to join them!

 

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