While your to-do list may trump getting out there and seeking a new social circle, don’t discount friendships as something that can help you lead a more fulfilling life. It's easy to get stuck in a rut or wrapped up in your daily routine, but expanding your circle of friends while nurturing the friendships you do have is an important part of staying connected to the world outside our own work and family circle. Not to mention, when we let our friendships fade away, we can find ourselves in situations where we could use a sympathetic ear, a spare set of hands, another perspective or emotional support and we find we have nowhere to turn.
Finding new friends can be as simple as doing something that interests you. If you love to dissect the latest bestsellers, join a book club. If you’re a fitness buff, join a walking club or trade solo workouts for some exercise classes a few days a week and get to know some of the other regular participants. Nature-lover? Check out walking or hiking clubs nearby to meet likeminded individuals. But before you start exchanging numbers with potential new pals, make a list of criteria of what you would ideally like to have as qualities in a friend and then check someone new against your criteria to make sure you have what you want.
With your old friends, the people you’ve known for years, a bond already exists, but with new friends, you have to work harder to create a connection, which involves finding common ground. Rather than just going out for a drink with a new people you meet, plan to do something fun so that you can talk about your experiences together. Doing things with people (playing a sport, attending a class) also helps us get to know them better because we’re seeing how they interact with others as well as with us.
Whether you sign up for a photography course, join a baseball team or take a cooking class, building time into your schedule to reach out to others can only benefit you and improve your life.
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