So you are new to town or you just started college or maybe you’ve just decided it is time to step out of your comfort zone and meet your neighbors. At different seasons in our lives, we will have to repeat the steps of making new friends. I wish the process got easier over time, but from my experience, that isn’t the case. So…what do we do? We roll up our sleeves and initiate conversation that could turn into an agreed upon “hangout” that could turn into a real friendship. Here are my three simple steps to making new friends.
If you see a potential new friend– maybe your kids go to the same daycare, maybe you both are signed up for the same gym class or maybe your co-worker likes to eat at the same place as you–make the first move and introduce yourself. If this seems really scary, just pick a compliment. “I like your sunglasses. Where did you get yours?” “I noticed you have the best snacks for your kids. Where could I find healthy snacks like that?”
My real life example: We moved into a new neighborhood a year ago and I had kept my eye out for families with small kids. After I collected my neighborhood data, I wrote notes with my contact information and went door-to-door asking the moms if they would be interested in a play date.
MAKE A PLAN
Don’t just mention you are going to hang out later. Get contact info! Whip out your digital calendar and plan a day and time you want to connect. Don’t miss this step. If you don’t make a plan, you probably are never going to get an opportunity to connect.
You can’t go deep in a few 5 minute conversations as you walk to your cars.
My real life example: A girl stopped me one day after a gym weight-lifting class. She noticed my t-shirt which happened to have our church logo on it. She said she attended the same church and said, “see ya around sometime.” Well, that wasn’t enough. The next time I saw her at the gym I asked for her number so we could text to go on a walk or meet to exercise on the ellipticals together…I mean exercise is way more fun with a friend.
STICK TO YOUR PLANS
The last step seems simple but is probably the hardest. We find so many excuses to not follow through with our social plans. So, don’t let your laziness, fear or apathy get in the way to making friends this time! Show up, be early and be excited about getting to know someone else’s story. And if it goes well, make plans right then for the next hangout.
My real life example: I schedule coffee dates with friends and when it is time to go I feel too tired or unmotivated. It’s not that I don’t want to be their friend but we aren’t “really” friends yet and my couch is calling me. But, about five minutes before I need to leave, I linger with my phone in one hand and my car keys in the other. Do I text and just say “maybe another time” or do I get in my car and go. Every single time I choose to spend time with a friend, it is worth it. I am happy I went. I feel alive after a good conversation. And I know that we talked about things we really needed someone to hear, nod and say “me too.”
Sisterfriend, you got this! I have made friends in all sorts of environments like on a walk in my neighborhood or saying hello to the girl sitting next to me in church….ya just never know. And if you say something embarrassing the first time or you feel awkward about reaching out to someone just remember your confidence is in Christ and he will give you the energy and boldness you need on this friendship-making journey.