How to make friends as an adult

how to make friends as an adult

Remember when you were a kid and you could walk up to someone and ask if they wanted to play and that’s it. From that point on, you were friends for life. Have you ever tried that as an adult? How to make friends as an adult often involves more strategy. There are a few more things to consider besides whether or not your potential friend likes peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. And sometimes, making friends as an adult is tough.

Add to this the transitions we go through as we age. We go from being singled to married, then we might have children, and perhaps divorce. Different jobs. Different houses. Different countries for some. In each one of those situations the group of friends you have around you may or may not be able to relate. And sometimes you might find yourself struggling, wishing you had another adult like you around to connect with. If you’ve been challenges with how to make friends as an adult this article contains tangible tips you can take immediately to increase your social circle.

Why having great friends is critical

Having a core group of friends around you is essential to your survival and your fulfillment levels in life. It’s been scientifically proven (from multiple studies) that having positive friendships is linked to more joy and, it extends your longevity.

It’s important to consider the types of people you bring into your life. You need people who understand you, who you have fun with, who remind you of what is great about life or help you let go of what is not. You also need friends who challenge you, who will help you grow. It’s critical to have friends that help you consider a different way of thinking about the circumstances you find yourself in.

We all need different people at different times and we need to be those friends for other people too. This might be the perfect moment for you to take stock of the friendships you have in your life? Do you have people around that you have fun with or that make you think or that challenge you?

How to make friends as an adult – The process of friend hunting

Have you considered what is most important in a social circle at this moment in your life? It may seem an odd thing to think about but it’s important to consider. Proximity equals power and who you spend your time will either have you excel, feel fulfilled and get closer to achieving your dreams or stagnate.

Making friends as an adult can be a little bit like looking for a new job. I say this not just because it can be time consuming and we may have to push ourselves out of our comfort zones but also because most of us no longer want just a job. We want to work for an organization that values us, treats us well, has a positive environment, shares similar interests and core values. You might feel the same for the friends that you surround yourself with.

Motivational speaker Jim Rohn famously said that we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with. We are greatly influenced by people around us. Our friends have the ability to affect our thinking, our self esteem, our decisions. They can either be positive, supportive influences who help us to be more successful in our life. Or, they can be a negative influence that holds us back from seeking or achieving our true potential.

If you are reading this you’re likely looking to surround yourself with extraordinary people. You’re looking for people who will help you be more, do more and achieve more in your life. 

So just as if you were searching for your dream job, take a moment now to consider: What’s most important to you right now? Are you looking to have more fun in life? Are you looking for others who are business minded? Do you want friends who are more active? How much time are you willing to invest? Do you want an occasional friend? Maybe they don’t need to live in the same country or city as you.

Take the time to think through the type of friends you are looking for. Write it down the qualities and criteria. This will help give you clarity.

Strategize and prep

When you look for a job, naturally you’ll narrow down the industry and the type of company you want to work for as you begin applying and preparing for interviews. You’ll want to do the same with the people you meet. Consider where you should go to meet the types of people you want to be friends with. Then go there and connect with people. It’s okay to secretly “prospect” in your mind. It’s kind of like the interview process during the job hunt.

If you are a curious person, there is nothing better than an entire hour of time dedicated to asking as many questions as you want. If you hate this phase then you need to prepare for it. Do your research and have a game plan so you can make the best possible first impressions with people when you’re out socially.

This may be completely out of your comfort zone but the more often you try to put yourself out there the more competent you will become. The more comfortable and competent you are doing it the more confident you will be in continuing to do it. The first time is always the hardest.

If this is a major struggle for you, picture what your life will be like if you don’t bother trying. Will you feel better or worse about yourself? Amplify your current situation into the future. What does it look like? Will you be lonely if you don’t make a change? Step up, push yourself, and remind yourself of what life will look like without interesting relationships when you feel uncomfortable.

First round, second round…maybe more?

When you know the type of friend you want to find, it’s time to get into action. Let’s use an example of wanting to surround yourself with friends who are more physically fit.

You may choose to look up “meetup groups” in your area, searching specifically on the activity you enjoy most. This is an easy way to find a large group of people doing something you like. You may choose to join a sports team, or maybe you want to volunteer with a big event in your community. Maybe you have a neighbor who is fit that you can connect with? Search out the group, event or situation. It should be something that you are comfortable with and committed to attending.

What tends to be the most challenging part of making new friends is the initial connect. When you arrive at the event or find yourself in a new social situation, remind yourself of your intentions.  Make an effort to meet each person, be genuinely interested in his or her current pursuits, come prepared with general questions in case you can’t think of anything to say. Be curious and open to each person. You may meet one or two people that you really connect with. See if they are open to hanging out again whether it is another similar event or something different.

Just like an interview when you meet them the second and 3rd time they may not be as good a fit as they seemed the first time. It’s important to give the relationship some time and energy.Just like interviews the first couple times may not work out.

Recently, I moved to a new city I went to skiing meet ups, wine nights, running events, I volunteered, it took me quite a while to find genuine friends I really enjoyed being around. Persistence and patience with the process is important. Keep putting yourself out there you might be surprised where and when you meet a great friend along the way.

Proximity is power – Taking it to the next level

Now if you are like Kay and I, you don’t want any old friend you want a friend who is going to elevate your game. Both of us were eager to meet a tribe of people who were similar to us in our interests to pursue our dreams. Which meant in order to meet people who were like us we had to put ourselves in a position where we ourselves were leveling up.

We put ourselves out there, taking as many courses as we could, programs, events. You name it, both of us have been there!  So initiative and find events, online courses, webinars anything that is interesting to you. Go to events, network, connect with people. Get on to facebook pages and see whose thought process really aligns with your own. Follow up with people when you say you will, show up as your true and authentic self. When you are completely genuine in your approach, you reach out with kindness and sincerity you will meet people who are also the same.

Making new friends can take time, persistence and patience. Finding the right group of people to surround yourself with is well worth the time invested.

Asking questions that make you think in new ways will improve your life

Asking questions that make you think in new ways will improve your life

 

You and I – all people – are curious by nature. It’s our goal in life to understand, to make meaning of our life and of our world. We are born to ask questions. In the beginning it’s critical. The questions we ask help us learn. Think back to when you were a child. Or if you have young children, it’s probably easy to think about a question they recently asked you. Children ask questions incessantly. Why is the sky blue? Why are you putting that there? What are you doing? How come? Children around 4 years old ask upwards of 400 questions a day. By age 6 that number diminishes by half and even less by age 10. You ask questions too but as an adult your questioning has likely diminishing. And questions are important because asking questions that make you think in new ways will improve your life.

Asking questions that make you think in new ways will improve your life

Asking questions that make you think in new ways will improve your life

As an adult your questioning has likely become much more internal. And it diminishes because most of us stop learning as rapidly as we did as a kid. We ask less questions out loud because we want to seem superior or like we “have it all together”. Asking questions in the workplace, for instance, may cast you as uninformed or unintelligent. Too many “whys” and you are liable to really piss someone off.

It happens at a young age, that we’re conditioned to stop asking questions and just follow the rules. Our institution teach our children, our employees, our co-workers, to do what is asked. Questioning is a skill. And without nurturing it becomes like a lost art. Your brain shuts down on it’s curiosity levels. But questions are critical. Asking questions helps you figure out what matters. It can help you see where opportunity lies and to clearly define it. It can help you be resourceful. It helps you see new actions to take. Asking the right question – thoes questions that make you think in new ways – internally or to someone else can be a game changer.

Nurturing your curiosity is critical

Being curious is an active state. If I told you to take on being curious today, you’d like know how to do that. Naturally, you’d start examining your world. Asking more questions. Maybe questions that make you think in new ways. Curiosity is a state to hone. It has you stop doing on autopilot. Start asking “why am I doing this?“. Start asking “is the the smartest way to do this?”. Or, you could ask “Is this serving me?”. When you’re inquisitive it serves you as you start to truly become the creator of your life instead of going through the motions.

You are naturally curious you are likely to wonder and examine how things were created, processed, developed and more. But you have to tune in, to use your innate skill daily so you hone it versus lose it.

Curiosity allows you to be constantly surprised. Imagine if you looked at each day with new eyes as if it had something positive to teach you at every moment. Perhaps, the world could be a pretty incredible place if you looked at it from a place of awe and wonder. Each person you interact with, every situation you are in could present an opportunity to learn something new, or experience something entirely different. Most people repeat each day the same way over and over. Do you tend to get up and think the same thoughts? Do you engage in the the same morning routine? Do you take the same route to the same job? Do you interact with the same people who say the same things?

All people are habitual creatures which can be a really great thing until, it’s not. When we get into a routine of sameness we stop seeing the newness that exists. We stop using the art of curiosity. The what ifs, the why, the maybes and the hows.

How to ask more powerful questions

Take this on this week: Practice asking questions. Practice using your curiosity skills. Bring curiosity to your life. See how asking questions that make you think in new ways will start to change the quality of your life. Repetition is the mother of all skill so the only necessary part of this is to start and to become aware of your current abilities.To start, you may notice you ask yourself some questions but they tend to be in your head. Or that they may be still somewhat unconscious but they are there. What you may notice is you may ask things like:

Why do I have to do this?

How long is this going to take?

Why do I have to be here?

Why is there so much traffic?

Why is this so hard?

Do these sound familiar? Consider what kind of response you would give yourself to those questions? Do you think it would help you to be more or less successful?

Questions are incredibly powerful as they have the ability to directly determine your life experience. When you ask yourself a question from the above list will likely keep you stuck or limit your ability to come up with a better experience. The questions above are disempowering. They would not improve the quality of your life. You want to ask questions that make you think in different and new ways.

So ask yourselves empowering questions. This is where you will achieve the greatest shift in your current life experience. That may sound like a great story but by asking yourself empowering questions you will reshape your mind your daily actions and interactions. So how the heck do you get started? Get curious!

For example before you go to bed you may ask yourself how can I make this the most incredible day tomorrow? You may hear yourself answer, “I can’t it will suck“. If that is the case try again. Perhaps you might ask: If I were to make it the most incredible day what would I need to do? You may begin to write a list of those things you need to do. You may find your mind wanting to come up with reasons why you can’t do those things. Therefore the next great and powerful question could be: Who do I need to be to get those things done?

Most people ask themselves one question, come up short with the answer and become defeated. Questions are limitless, which means the possibilities we can create for ourselves are also limitless. Which means the life we can experience can also be limitless. What if that were true? What if literally anything was possible? Consider the possibilities of your life through a great question and you might begin to create a great new story, to move your life in ways you never thought were possible before.

 

How to overcome self limiting beliefs

Do you ever wonder if you have two personalities? First there’s the confident, positive, driven you. Then, there’s the you that tells you you’re not enough. That you’re never going to figure it out. That you’re not loved or worthy. If you shared what is in your head about yourself right now, what would you say? Go ahead, write it down. Get it out of your head and put it on a piece of paper. Look at what you wrote. Would you say what you wrote down about yourself is limiting you? If you answered yes to that question then the good news is you are here and you’re about to learn how to overcome self limiting beliefs.

But first, what you wrote down, is that the truth? My guess is, that if you are reading this right now you might be saying something that isn’t that kind about yourself. Maybe what’s in your head is actually quite negative and when you finally wrote it down, you looked at it and felt like crap about it or had a moment of “whoa, I actually think that?” . Maybe you’ve revealed something to yourself that often goes overlooked and on autopilot.

Whoa, that’s deep right?! The first time you become aware of your own self limiting beliefs it can be tough to process. Afterall who would want to say outloud to any other human being: “I am not enough”, or “I don’t feel loved”. Truth is you’re not the only one. You’re human and 100% of us have these thoughts from time to time.  Though, some people have these thoughts more frequently than others. Unfortunately, most people never learn that they can tame them. You can control and overcome self limiting beliefs. Read on to learn how.

How to overcome self limiting beliefs

Why you feel this way

Self limiting beliefs are created slowly and repetitively over time. Over the course of our lives we all experience moments of pain or pleasure that get ingrained in our nervous system. When those moments happen we make them mean something, we add language to them. For instance, you raise your hand to speak at a work meeting and your idea gets made into a company joke. Your brain might record this moment as a painful experience. You might make it mean that you’re an idiot and you should make sure you’re more prepared with what you say before you share your ideas. You might come to believe that you should never share ideas off the cuff, or that you aren’t smart. This is how a belief system gets formed. And guess what’s crazy, you created it. Your internal self merged with your external world and boom. You learned something and it turned into a belief.

Self limiting beliefs are nothing more than rules or commands to our nervous system about how we are going to respond, they shape our thoughts and create a filter on our reality. Beliefs shape your daily experience whether you’re cognizant of that or not. What beliefs do you have that you see might by assumptions about yourself, about others, about the world? You use beliefs to help you understand the world around you. They help you feel certain about your future, make you feel safe and secure. We all crave a sense of certainty. When we are certain we can typically feel a sense of peace, calm, allowing us to either reduce or increase stress we have about a person or thing.

And here’s the kicker: You create your belief systems. Your beliefs about yourself and the world around are shaped during your childhood. You learn what to believe from all your experiences, and from role models. These beliefs are so ingrained that we think them sometimes without really questioning why we think them or where they originally came from. That means, you might be limiting yourself and no knowing it. So it’s critical you start to tune in, to notice your thoughts and to ask: Is this belief serving me or is it a self limiting belief?

The other crazy part about self limiting beliefs is we anchor them into our bodies. A song comes up, a word is said, and boom, our brain attaches to a memory and draws out an emotion that’s consistent with it. And that memory triggers us in a present totally unrelated moment. So the question becomes: How do you take control? How do you overcome your self limiting beliefs?

Awareness is always the first step

Our thoughts, patterns, behaviors and belief systems serve us at different points of time. Maybe for some period of time a belief you hold has worked for you and now it no longer does. Once you start to become aware of your thinking you can make more conscious choices. You can then assess whether what you’ve been doing, thinking or feeling truly works for you!

Beliefs are not facts. You have the power to change them. It might be time to do an audit on what you belief. Consider these questions about some of the beliefs you hold to be true….

  • What is great about this belief?
  • What are the negative consequences that are associated with me having this belief?
  • What have I missed out on by having this belief, who have I affected?
  • Where has it limited me in my life?
  • What are the labels you’ve given yourself because you think or feel this way?
  • What expectations have you set for others based on your belief?
  • What value am I gaining by holding onto this belief?
  • What good intention does this or did this belief provide me with?

Remember that when you created this limiting belief consciously or unconsciously you did it with good intentions. The question is does it still serve you or is it a self limiting belief? What new belief could you take on?

See the Big Picture

Let’s take this a step further, now that you have assessed the value and or challenges of a belief add more senses to it. Visualize how the belief has impacted your life.

  • How do you picture it in your mind?
  • What emotions do you feel when you imagine it to be true?
  • What does it look like?
  • What does it sound like?
  • Is there a smell or feeling attached to this belief?
  • Does it have a taste?

Open your eyes and write it all down. You may have noticed that visualizing makes your beliefs more intense, more vivid.

Now the ultimate question…

Do you want to change this belief?

Changing anything in our lives starts with a decision. That decision for things to be different than they have been in any other moment before this. From that decision we have to commit to what is necessary to change and take action to ensure things are different. In order to do that ask yourself these questions. If the following were true how would you act differently?

If you believed responsibility for this change rests in your hands, what would you do?

If you believed change happens instantly when you commit, what would you do?

If you believed things must change now, what action would you take immediately?

Choose your ritual

Before you move to believing a new more empowering belief, you have to toss the old self limiting beliefs away! The way you choose to do this is up to you. Burn it. Write it down and throw it away! Or, say your self limiting beliefs out loud to a friend and yell out how it’s such BS. The time for that belief to be ruling your life in any form is over!!

Step up and build your new belief

Now we get to step up into our new empowering beliefs. Here is where you can consider: Who do you really want to be? What do you desperately want to achieve in your life?

Consider your ultimate outcome for yourself, write it out in full.

  • What would you need to believe about yourself in order to achieve this?
  • What would you say, what would you think or focus on when you were challenged as this new version of you?
  • What are things you can do to condition this new empowering belief?
  • What actions can you take right now to strengthen this belief?
  • Is there any roles models you want to align with?
  • Is their a quote or tagline you want to create for yourself to ingrain this new belief in your mind?

Remember your old beliefs were built one strand at a time. Building new beliefs is like building a muscle. Transformation is a process, the level of pain we endure is somewhat up to us. Just as this self limiting belief wasn’t made overnight you may notice it wanting to creep back in. So we repeat the pattern of breaking this belief over and over until it is completely annihilated from our body and minds. If this old belief creeps back in try approaching it with curiosity. Why did it show up? What triggered it? 

Pay attention to your thoughts. It may not feel as comfortable to have this new belief as it did with your old self limiting belief. It’s like a new pair of shoes, it takes time to adjust. Be your own observer, watch what works for you and what doesn’t. Monitoring and altering your thoughts is a major step in getting what you want in life.