The art of creating new adult friendships

The art of creating new adult friendships

You must remember that communication and positivity are fundamental principles in friendships.

The average person replaces half of their friends every seven years.

And while I’m not good at arithmetic and my calculations aren’t based on any specific mathematical formula, I very roughly estimate that out of the 396 friends you’ll make in your life, you’ll only keep about 33 of them. Therefore, it is very important to learn to make new friends on a regular basis.

One of the most famous partings of friends in history occurred in the summer of 1952, between two of the greatest modern philosophers, Albert Camus and Jean-Paul Sartre. This platonic couple had a lot in common. Both excellent storytellers, playwrights, essayists and editors, with a shared obsession with the surrealist poet Francis Pong, wrote brilliant Nobel Prize-winning existential novels.

So what happened to these soul mates? The answer is in the name of Wanda Kosakiewicz, an irresistible Russian woman whom Sartre had been trying to seduce for years. He fell in love with her, she with Camus, and Camus thought, “hell, why not?” And that’s how we got to where we are.

If you’ve ever broken up with a friend, you know how painful it is

And that bitterness never really goes away. Even at the end of his life, after not having spoken to Camus for thirty years, Sartre admitted that “he was probably my last good friend.”

But because in 2022 things are moving at different speeds, in all aspects of our lives, friend breakups may not be so dramatic anymore. Now there are no tensions, things are civilized, friendships rarely end in unfriending. Friends move on, you move on, they have kids, they have kids, they move, you change. Then one day you find yourself with nothing to say and you find out one afternoon that it’s very possible or you will have to settle for a life without friends or a life with friends that you don’t have much to say or try to new people in your life.

Needing new friends is normal. In the same way that it is normal to have to move to a new city to study or start a new job. We should make new friends throughout our lives, but most of us don’t even know what that means.

No one wants to admit that they feel lonely, but it is a fact that loneliness is increasing

Studies show that the number of people who don’t have a single close friend they can trust has nearly tripled since 1985. Surprisingly, social media hasn’t helped much. Rather than helping us feel more connected, studies show that the more time we spend online, the lonelier we feel. He also estimated that loneliness has been linked to a 30% higher chance of premature death, and things are starting to look really tough.

“Loneliness has nothing to do with social skills, likability, or the kind of friend we are,” explains Shasta Nelson, author of Friendships Don’t Just Happen, “We can be popular and lonely, we can be beautiful and successful and single, we can have a full social life and still be single,” he explains. “We fear that if we don’t have friends or don’t make friends easily, that means people don’t like us. But the truth is, we were simply never taught these skills.” he adds.

Shasta argues that every friendship should be developed slowly by spending time together. It is not enough to see someone once every 6 months because your daily life does not allow it more often. Compare it to a romantic date. Would you ever date someone you liked and then not call them for a month? So you have to arrange that meal with your friend and make at least one phone call during the week.

The other thing to remember, according to Shasta, is that communication and positivity are foundational principles in friendships. It’s not so much about telling your news as it is about meaningful communication while keeping the balance. Yes, one should open up and share things from their life, but a new person in our life is not an emotional dump. New friends are not our therapists or life coaches. Even if they are supportive they also have their own life.

The most classic mistake adults make, says Shasta, is assuming what a real friend should look like.

If you’re a mom, you automatically assume that if I’m not a mom we couldn’t hang out, or if I’m single, or if I’m twenty-something and you’re thirty-something, we conclude that we’ll have nothing in common. We are quick to judge that we couldn’t be friends with people who are different from us.

Most of the things you think you need in a friend aren’t really that important. What is important is ultimately to find some common ground, with an emphasis on the quantity of our commons rather than the quality of those commons. It’s actually more important to finally learn that we like green smoothies or that we both went to summer camp as kids than that we’re both moms. Uncovering these things takes time, willingness and conversation but we reject each other before we get there.

We reject all kinds of potential friends. We reject so many possibilities. We reject people because their lives are nothing like ours. If you stop looking for your new best friend and start just looking for new friends, you’d be surprised what can happen. When someone invites you, say yes as long as you don’t push yourself, even if that person doesn’t excite you.

For most of us, it is not until we experience a personal crisis that we realize that we do not have enough of our own people around us to lean on. Sure, we have people who love and care about us but maybe on the other side of the country or Europe, but what if you just want someone to share a coffee with?

Think about it.

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