Photo via Fashion Was Here
It’s Best Friend Month over here at The Makeup Blogger, and we’re talking about how to make new friends as adults. While we love our current girl gangs, here’s a scary reality: It’s been proven that women start to have significantly smaller social circles after their mid-twenties. And here’s the daunting newsflash: they only get smaller from there.
That makes sense when you consider that career, love and travel ambitions start to unfold for many of us at that point in our lives. When we focus our energy on new things like starting our own companies, or families—and if our existing relationships are great—new friendships fall down the priority list.
But hey, is it just me, or is that all just a little…sad? There’s no denying that making new friends takes some effort (just as much as dating or job hunting), but this “women empowering other women” society, why aren’t we reaching out and expanding our network to nurture more relationships? Maybe I’m being optimistic, but my dream would be for all of us to (eventually) defy this “dwindling friend” statistic. Okay ladies, now let’s get in formation. Here are some ways to expand that circle and get out of your comfort zone–I saved you a seat.
1. Invest In Your Hobbies
When you surround yourself with things that you’re into, you’ll also attract like-minded people. To have a friend as passionate about the same thing you are means that everything you do together is practically sprinkled with the words, “you totally get me.” Plus there’s nothing cooler and more refreshing than meeting people genuinely passionate. Let’s put it this way, if you ask someone how your sketch looks, they’ll probably say, “it looks great”. But if you ask your artist friend how your sketch looks, she’ll tell you that “it’s reminiscent of Guillermo del Toro, and that it’d stand out more if you used charcoal instead of graphite, but your depth perception is looking really on point.” See what I mean?
2. Go Solo
I once heard that “girls in packs, don’t attract.” And trust me, I love making an entrance into a room with my friends looking like a damn lady army but it’s not the best way to attract newbies.
During my time traveling abroad alone. At first, I was nervous, self-conscious, and concerned about safety. But soon, I was surprised to meet a million (okay, slight exaggeration) other women doing the same thing. We’d bond over drinks talking about how how easy it was to tag onto groups, break off from groups, and insert ourselves into any conversation we wanted without being connected at the hip of another travel partner.
So next time you can’t get any of your friends to get scuba certified with you, fly solo. You might be surprised to see who you’re *forced* to talk to.
3. The Internet Is Your Friend
My eyes roll so hard when I hear criticism about Millennials living behind screens and neglecting to develop interpersonal relationships. Blah blah blah. But can we also focus on how the internet has also been the biggest tool for bringing people together? At the touch of a screen, you can look for local Meetups, hit up your long lost sorority sister on Facebook, and also add your finishing comments on a Reddit beauty thread about which moisturizer is actually better. Last time I checked, these relationships couldn’t even be possible without the internet. (Pssst…aren’t you reading this blog? Another online community?)
In a world where entrepreneurs have clients across the world whom they’ve never even met in person, where gamers yell at each other through headsets playing League of Legends online, and where the likelihood of you DM-ing a cool girlcrush on Instagram and getting a response is actually pretty feasible, we need to embrace digital relationships as well as personal ones. It’s not weird. The internet is your friend. Use it.
4. Just Say Hi
Try what we girls standing in the line for the bathroom like to do automatically. It’s an easy place to break the ice and say hi. Just remember though–keep it genuine and avoid filler small talk. Let’s be honest, the goal isn’t to walk out of the bathroom with a new bestie, but it’s good practice to try to make a memorable and meaningful connection in about 20 seconds. Try something like, “OMG your shoes are sick, and your presentation just inspired me to look into volunteering on a sustainable farm. How the hell did you do that?”
5. Invite Everyone
This may be a little overwhelming in practice, but in social survival mode, the more the merrier. Bring friends. And friends of friends. It’s okay to mix your gym buddies with your book club posse. Of course, there’s always the quality over quantity argument. But also, why deny yourself the opportunity to meet new people? You can’t be friends with people you’ve never met, right?
6. Never Eat Alone
Or at least, try not to. Keith Ferrazzi’s “Never Eat Alone” talks about building your career network, and how to use every available opportunity to be connecting and collaborating with other people. But it’s totally applicable in friendships too. “It’s a constant process of giving and receiving—of asking for and offering help,” he says. “By putting people in contact with one another, by giving your time and expertise and sharing them freely, the pie gets bigger for everyone. This karma-tinged vision of how things work may sound naïve to those who have grown cynical of the business world. But while the power of generosity is not yet fully appreciated, or applied, in the halls of corporate America, its value in the world of networks is proven.” There are days when I’d like nothing more than to eat my sandwich in peace, but it’s a good reminder to chat it up with the latte-sipper next to me. Who knows? She could be my new best friend.
What are some of the most unexpected ways you have made new girlfriends? Tell us below!