The Essentials of Making New Friends

Now that you have some suggestions on ways to meet people – Better than Netflix and Chill and Dare to Care by Volunteering –  it’s also might be valuable to know how to approach the next, and more challenging aspect from a recent graduate who has found success with making new friends. 

Making friends is like dating in that every relationship begins with two strangers and involves the search for natural chemistry. The good news is that making friends requires far less pressure and your options are wide open. You have recently graduated from CWRU and you and your friends are all setting off in different directions. While you will always have them as friends, you will undoubtedly need to make some new ones in your area to broaden your social life. Here is your chance to start anew. You know your hobbies and interests and you have some options of activities to attend. But the question now is how: how do you turn an acquaintance into a friend?

Everyone has that one friend, a rare socialite that already has a widespread social circle who also has a knack for making new friends within minutes. While it’s easy for them, it’s not so easy for the rest of us. Most people are not one of these rare socialites and turning a casual acquaintance at, say a group meeting, into a casual meetup is a challenge. In the dating scene what are some common first date ideas that come to mind? Most would think of something low-key in neutral territory like going to get coffee/tea, brunch, or ice cream. Similarly, those are good starting points for the first time you meet up with someone as a friend meet up, or “friend date” as I call them. From that point on, it’s up to you and your personal preferences.

What happens if it doesn’t work out though? Naturally, there will be times when the connection is too strained or awkward and you know that the friendship won’t be able to progress. Don’t give up. Move on and connect with other people. Over the years I have gathered the ingredients to the secret sauce to make new friends: confidence, open mindedness, and willingness to show your true personality. But here’s the key ingredient, the defining factor: resilience – your ability to bounce back from rejection when it doesn’t work out.

You’ve heard the common phrase, “Fall down seven times, stand up eight”. The time, effort, and resources you need to make new friends are huge hurdles in themselves and, after all of that, if it doesn’t work out you might be tempted to throw in the towel. Try your best not to get discouraged and try to grow from it. Each time you pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and bounce back you are one step closer to making a new friend. And who knows you could meet your best friend. If I hadn’t bounced back each and every time, I would have missed out on amazing friendships and it’s those people that I picked up along the way that made all of the continual effort worthwhile.

As a recent graduate, you will find that you need to make new friends and while it’s an ongoing challenge I have found that it is best to keep a simple mindset: any interpersonal relationship starts with two people who are looking for a natural connection. Like anything else in life, it may not work out exactly as you planned and that’s okay – remember that resilience is key. Grow from each experience and bounce back because the next person you meet might be your best friend that you just haven’t met yet.

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