Be a friend and make friends. I follow a support group for depression on Facebook, and I was encouraged by one of the follower’s latest comments that reminded the group how adults sometimes forget how to make friends. And she’s absolutely correct! We get so caught up in the rat race, i.e. work, household chores, to-do lists, technical gadgets, personal problems, social networking, etc., that we do not use any of our spare time to actually make friends. Oh, yes, we have loads of facebook friends, twitter pals, co-workers, the happy hour crowd, chat room contacts, etc. But how many real friends exist within these groups?
Well, ask yourself, what is a friend? If you don’t know, ask a child. Children are far better experts at making friends than adults and can tell us all we need to know about being a friend and making friends. But if you don’t have any children handy at the moment, here are some helpful tips.
Making Friends After 25 (and before):
- First, be open to the process of friendship; admit that you want to have friends and be a friend to others.
- Embrace your youthfulness; you are never too old to make friends.
- Be visible; don’t isolate yourself. Many, especially patients of depression, often hide themselves from the rest of the world. If the world can’t find you, friends can’t either. Sometimes, a friend’s support or presence is all it takes to lose the blues.
- Be comfortable in your own skin. Others will recognize your confidence and enjoy being around you.
- Be personable; start conversations with others. Bring out the best in yourself, and this will reflect the best in others.
- Practice everyday icebreakers. When you meet someone of interest, ask them to take a coffee/tea or quick lunch break with you. Don’t be afraid to go beyond everyday greetings.
- Show interest. Be an active listener; don’t dominate the conversation. Let others know that you find value in them and their interests.
- Find common interests. Most friendships develop over mutual interests and continue when friends engage in this activity together, i.e. shopping, sports, dancing, dining, exercising, etc.
- Be a friend. In order to make friends, you need to be a friend. If you care for someone, reach out to them and be there when they need it the most, not only when its convenient.
Friendship is never trivial or to be taken lightly. The last tip states that you must be a friend to make friends, because someone has to take the first step. In every lasting friendship, there are bonding moments. These are the moments when one friend reaches beyond themselves to help the other, exhibiting sacrifice, trust, love and selflessness. Even in the most lighthearted situations, friends can show each other how much they care. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand how much one human needs another. Though we rail against this truth at times, assert our independence and raise our stubborn heads for yet another battle, we know in our hearts that hands are made to hold and to be held.
Do not let another day go by without seeking out a new friend. How many people do you count now as friends? It’s not that the number matters, but the question is posed to make you consider your connections at this stage in your life. Do you have the support you need to be encouraged and succeed in your endeavors? Even though we may sometimes fly well solo, the support of friends can only take us that much further. But this can only work if those friends reflect your values and aspirations; and to be a true friend, they must!
Please understand that friends value and support each other; friends do not tear each other down. Friends can depend on each other. Friends are honest with each other, even when it hurts. Friends trust. Friends make time for each other when possible. Friends care, and friends listen. A friend will embrace you at your highest and your lowest without falter. There is nothing remarkable about this, accept that we have brought ourselves to believe that this type of friendship is impossible; therefore, friendship is impossible. NOT TRUE! We claim that we don’t have the time or energy; yet, the need is still there for you and others. If you need a friend or support, then someone else needs one as well. Take the time. Be a friend, not just an acquaintance.
And in closing, I leave you with a friend’s definition of friendship:
“Good friends know how to love all the parts that hurt, and they even love the ones that don’t, just for good measure.”
Blue skies, Dorhora
p.s. A special thank you to my friends for assisting me with the tips to making friends. Love you!