4 Ways To Form Meaningful Friendships

4 Ways To Form Meaningful Friendships

Are you lacking meaningful friendships? Do you miss having friends you can confide in? Or ones you can let your hair down with and just have a good laugh?

Maybe you’ve moved somewhere new and are starting all over again with making new local friends?

Did great friendships feel easier to come by when you were younger?

Back then, those crucial ingredients for making close friends were all in place: proximity, repeated, unplanned interactions, and a setting that encourages you to let your guard down and show your true self. This is why so many people meet their lifelong friends at university. (There’s nothing like a keg party to bring people close together!)

Once you get married and have kids it’s easy to get caught up in family life and let old friendships take a back seat. In many cases jobs take us away and replant us in new places where the process of making local friends means starting over from scratch.

Meaningful friendships are vitally important. Experts say that friendship has an even greater effect on health than a spouse or family member. Having strong social bonds is probably the most meaningful contributor to happiness and those with who have supportive friends are more likely to lose weight, get a new job or pursue their goals.

Friendship expert Shasta Nelson thinks too many of us are making excuses, waiting for our new BFF to just turn up. And when that doesn’t happen, we silently suffer. In her book, ‘Friendships Don’t Just Happen: Creating a Meaningful Circle of Girlfriends’, she says:

‘If there’s a first step to making friends, it is being open to possibilities beyond what we can see with our limited judgments. It’s recognising that we’re making judgments about someone without yet loving them, forgetting that it’s love in the end that makes all the difference. If we want to meet friendly people, we have to be one first.

We should see the new acquaintance sitting across from us as someone more than the person we’re interviewing from a specific checklist of what we think we’re looking for in a friend. We don’t yet love her because we don’t yet know her. The obstacles we percieve may prove to be only imagined. The differences we think divide us may become the bonds that bind us together. We just don’t know yet.

I invite you to cast your net wider, not narrower. Don’t doubt someone’s potential just because you don’t instantly see it.’

It’s not just a matter of waiting long enough until you discover the right person. You need to get proactive.

1. Set a goal to make new friends.

Write down your goal including why you want it. Create a positive visualisation of reaching your goal. Picture yourself laughing with a fun group of friends or sitting down with a special one over a coffee or glass of wine. Maybe you’re looking for someone to team up with to create a Project Me Power Pal mastermind group?

Getting clear about your goal is always the first step.

2. Put yourself out there.

Make a list of the places you frequent: cafe, local shops or parks, gym, children’s school, playgroups. Make an effort to build some rapport with those you regularly see at these locations. Be the first one to strike up a conversation. Be open minded! Too often we write people off prematurely – or we assume they wouldn’t be interested in us.

If you’re used to hiding out or sticking to the same routine, shake things up. Join a new class, hang out somewhere different. You aren’t going to meet new people sitting on your sofa.

3. Take a course on Friendship.

Shasta Nelson is running her 3-week virtual program: The Friendships You’ve Always Wanted: Learning a Better Way to Meet-Up, Build-Up, and Break-Up with Your Friends.

It runs from September 8th – 30th, but once you enrol you can listen in your own time, at your convenience. It includes a workbook to guide you through it, helping you to evaluate your own friendships, set friendship goals, and ‘collect your take-aways’. It also includes access to her private Facebook group.

4. Go On-Line!

Did you know there are some great websites that’ll help match you up with compatible friends in your area?

In the UK www.mumaime.com matches your profile with that of other mums based on what’s important to you. So if you’re a single mum looking to meet other single mums or you have a child with a disability looking for other mums of children with a disability, they can help. You’ll have more of a chance of meeting a mum with similar interests and circumstances straight away. And the cool thing is – it’s totally FREE! If you’re in the UK sign up now – you’ve got nothing to lose.

In the USA and Canada www.girlfriendcircles.com offer four ways to connect you with friends:

1. Connecting Circles – get matched in a small group

2. Classified Circles – specify the friends you want to meet

3. Choose My Circles – search members to connect as friends

4. Calendar circles – attend a local event or activity

You can be a free guest member, or pay $5-7 a month for full membership. Hop over and explore the website.

 

At the very least, get your hands on the book ‘Friendships Don’t Just Happen: Creating a Meaningful Circle of Girlfriends’. I promise it’ll give you a fresh perspective on making friends and inspire you to change your thinking. Before I’d finished reading it I’d already made three new friends by simply opening my mind! It also helped me to understand that there are five types of friendship and we need a variety of friends to feel friendship fulfilled.

The book also tackles the tough issues of falling out or growing apart from a friend and has some amazing advice for how to handle friendships in crisis.

Friendships definitely contribute to our overall wellbeing and happiness. The time we invest in making new friends and strengthening existing friendships is well worth it.

What do you think – has it been easier or harder to make quality friendships as an adult? Have you made more friends after having children, or do you find it trickier than ever? In the comments below, share how the Friendship area of your life is going.

Project Me looks at all 8 of your Key Life Areas. Sign up for free Monday Motivators and you’ll also get your free Life Wheel Tool for helping you find a better balance. Just pop your details into the box below. (I’ll never bombard you or share your details with anyone – promise!) 

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Kelly Pietrangeli

I created Project Me to help mothers find a happier balance between the kids and everything else.

With practical tools to overcome overwhelm and get on top of your endless to-do’s, soon you'll be a happy mama enjoying the life you want to live.

Latest posts by Kelly Pietrangeli (see all)

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23 Responses to 4 Ways To Form Meaningful Friendships

  1. Melissa says:

    This has been one of my goals this year and it is hard. I’ve tried striking up conversations with other mums at parks (a bit of a challenge for an introvert like me) I’ve even started a local craft group to try and make some friends.
    I found this website http://www.kateandkim.com but they haven’t had any meet ups in Melbourne yet just Sydney.
    I’d be interested in the power pal thing but don’t have a friend to partner up with. Maybe there’s someone else who has contacted you who’s interested that could be paired up with me.

    • Thanks for your comment Melissa. You are definitely not alone! It’s great that you’ve set yourself this goal and it sounds like you’ve taken some great first steps.

      I honestly think the book I recommended above, Friendships Don’t Just Happen, will really help and invite you to read it and report back.

      In the meantime, if there are any Australia based mamas out there who’d like to hook up with Melissa via Skype for a Project Me ‘Power Pal’ session – please say the word!

      Thanks also for that Sydney based meet-up site. If anyone knows of other sites like this for other areas, let’s great a resource hub. Leave a comment with a link.

      In the meantime, I’m rooting for you Melissa :)

    • Kate & Kim says:

      Hi Melissa,

      I’m an introvert too so I know exactly how you feel. friendships are so empowering, but getting over that initial hurdle can be daunting. It’s exactly why we created Kate & Kim Friendships.

      It’s so amazing and inspiring to hear women like you share their stories and put their heart on their sleeves to say ‘I want more friends. It really validates there is a need for Kate & Kim Friendships!

      Kate & Kim is planning the first Melbourne event for September this year. We have a registration event on the site so if you enter your details there, I will be in touch the second we have the time, venue and date locked in.

      Would love to see you there.

      We’re always looking for stories of real women looking for friends to share on our blog, it’s a great way to connect with women sharing a similar experience – shoot me an email (kate@kateandkim.com) if you’d like to put the word out to our audience.

      Best,
      Kate

      • Thanks so much for joining in on the conversation Kate! I’ve checked out your site and it looks wonderful. Good for you for creating this wonderful resource to help women form friendships. A great cause :)

    • Fiona says:

      Thanks for sharing the Kate & Kim link Melissa, I’m an introvert too and have no time to casually catch up with people to make friendships so a structured event is perfect – I’m in Sydney and hopefully will be able to make an event soon. Hopefully you can make the October one in Melbourne?

  2. Nina says:

    I only have about 5 true friends that I’ve had even before kids, and it’s awesome we’ve remained friends after all our life changes, and even if we’re physically apart and live in different cities.

    My day-to-day social settings include coworkers, especially since many of us have kids too, and my family and cousins as well. I tried going the mom group route but only really befriended one mom there, but I’m glad for it because we’re still friends until now.

    • That’s wonderful that you’ve remained friends for so long Nina. It sounds like you get a great variety of social interaction between those friends, co-workers and family. Good for you! Thanks so much for popping on and sharing :)

  3. Kelly says:

    Hi great post. I totally found it easy as a child and always had friends around, now In my 30s I don’t have any friends at all which drives me crazy sometimes.

  4. I’m glad you liked the post Kelly and I really hope you’ll try out some of the resources here and be open to new ways of bringing some fresh friendships into your life :)

  5. Helen Butler says:

    Gosh Kelly what a great article!

    I met someone recently who I spent four days up close and personal with. We’d worked together online and this was the culmination of ten months work. He’s a celebrity, I’m not, and so there’s always that “confusion” (in my mind anyway) that this can’t be friendship. But it is – and I’m blessed.

    At the same event I met a lady who’s written a book “Do talk to strangers”. It’s all about being kind, coming from the heart when interacting with others, and really listening to them in conversation. She’s an inspiration and reminds us that being friendly can lead to wonderful connections.

    Thank you my cyber friend – I’m so glad we met. Xx

    • Helen your celebrity friend is just a regular person inside like you or I – and he’s probably feeling blessed to have met YOU!

      And that book sounds like another great friendship resource for us! Thank you.

      Indeed we need to communicate with our hearts when we meet new people and truly listen.

      I’m also happy we’ve become cyber friends and hope one day we can meet up in person! X

  6. Denise says:

    Definitely am a believer that you can meet soul friends in the darnedest of places…but it all depends on your mindset and above all really LISTENING to what people around you are saying and not zoning in on your phone or wandering mind. Remember our lucky encounter at the nail salon? I walked out of there with much more than a lovely pedi and even though life gets crazy, true connection is everlasting and worth finding a moment to reconnect and rejoice that you gave a new friendship an opportunity to enter your life.

    • Denise, our story of meeting in a manicure bar is an excellent example of how if we open up to friendship opportunities, we can be deeply rewarded.

      And your point about how if we zone out, we could be missing out is such a great one! Each time we’re more tuned into our phones than what’s going on around us we’re losing touch with our actual reality.

      If I’d been playing with my phone or deeply lost in thoughts I may have missed out on meeting you – which would have been a crime! Thanks for your insightful comment dear Amiga.

  7. May Poblete says:

    Just joined the Go-to parents community and found your link/post. I’m an introvert myself and so making friends is hard for me, especially since we are in the military and move a lot, plus I am also a stay at home mom. Your article gives great advices/tips. I meet a few by setting playdates for my kids. Sometimes I make a connection, sometimes I don’t; but it is a start.

    • I’m happy you found Project Me :) I hope you’ll take the tips that resonated with you and put them into action May! You’re right, you have to put yourself out there and sometimes there simply won’t be a real connection, but other times there will. (Especially when you don’t write people off too prematurely.) Wishing you the best! x

  8. Aimee Foster says:

    Brilliant post! I have also read Shasta’s book and it definitely helped me to think differently about my friendships and not feel so bad about those friends that I used to be extremely close with but have now lost touch with. As actually, this is totally normal.

    I’m about to move to a new area and am looking forward to making new friends. Thanks for mentioning my website Mum Amie (www.mumamie.com). Mum Amie was inspired by my own quest to find mum friends 3.5 years ago. I wanted to help other mums connect with like minded mums for friendship, support and advice with a free and easy to use website. We’ve been live for just under a month now and have already helped lots of mums find friends.

    • I love your website Aimee and was so happy to share it as a resource here.

      I’ve been hearing from a lot of women lately that they don’t have any close friends and it made me think of how vitally important friendships are to our health and happiness. I wanted to find some ways of helping them and was thrilled when I came across your Facebook page and then website :) Well done!!!

  9. Sally says:

    Hi Kelly – It’s definitely harder to make friends now. Five years ago I moved to the US (from the UK). I left many dear and long-term friends behind. I can’t begin to tell you how hard it’s been to find similar relationships here.

    Though it’s 100% my responsibility. As you say, it’s all too easy to get wrapped up in family and day-to-day life. And to be honest I can be lazy about following up with new people I meet. Even when I feel a great connection.

    Thanks for the prompt to be more pro-active!

    Sally

    • You’re so welcome for the prompt Sally!

      I am you in reverse! Left so many incredible friends behind in America when I moved to London. It took me years to build up another posse, then I moved to Madrid and started all over again. But you know what? I’ve kept my most quality friends in USA and UK and am proof that when you open up and put yourself out there, you can continue to form even more fab friends. I love my new friends in Madrid too!

      Please read Friendships Don’t Just Happen. It’ll kick start you in ways you can’t imagine!

  10. Stacey says:

    Friendships are hard for me. For a lot of years, I gave much more than I got. I had a few friends that I “cut loose” because I was tired of always being the one hanging on to the friendship. I think that because of that, I haven’t made a lot of close friends in more recent years. I have a lot of really good acquaintances, but very few people I know well. I may have to make a better effort because I do miss having close friends in my life. Great suggestions here!

    • Oh Stacey, I’m so glad you found this post and I really do encourage you to take at least one of the actions above. You’re in charge of your life and it’s up to you to take some first steps. You won’t regret it! Please report back! xx

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