Two months ago we made a life changing decision and moved from Portland, Oregon to Austin, Texas. Before moving I only knew a handful of people in Austin. After being here a little while I have been able to meet some great people and find a few friends that I adore, however I am still on the search for more friends and people to connect with. At this age (I am almost 31), finding new friends feels a lot like dating: you have to put yourself out there and basically hope people don’t think you are an absolute weird-o (confession: I might be an absolute weird-o). As you get older, finding new friends can also be tough since you get more stuck in your groove, get more scheduled (unless you are me), and have scars from being burned from past friendships. In other words, you are bit more reserved with who you hang out with and want to invest your time in.
But as humans, we were created to crave healthy relationships and not to be a one-man show. I believe that being lonely and not having friends is for the most part, a personal choice. Perhaps you are unaware of how you are coming off to others and instead of being a joy to be around, it’s kind of a turn off (just being blunt). So with that said, let’s stop being friendless! Here are six ways that I believe will help you be more confident in putting yourself out there. This isn’t high-school anymore. We are adults. Let’s be friends.
- Stop Being Self-Conscious: Yeah I said it. Stop walking around like everyone is judging you, staring at you, and mentally ripping you apart; fifty percent of the time they probably didn’t even notice you walked by. Instead of being self-conscious which really translates to being self-focused, focus on other people in a positive way. Start noticing the beauty in other people even if you feel like they are looking at you or judging you in a certain way (who cares anyways). This will put a smile on your face, make you more of a positive person and will get you outside of your self-conscious box.
- Actively Engage: One thing that drives me absolutely crazy is when people expect you to always reach out to them. They stand in a corner and get offended when people don’t talk to them and then leave in a huff because oh my gosh, the world didn’t revolve around them. Don’t wait for people to say hi to you, go and engage. Example: Recently I went to a blogging event and I didn’t know a single other person. So basically I had two options: Post up in a chair in the corner and begin a one woman pity party (cue the violins) and begin the list of why no one would talk to me for the next three hours. Or, I could grab a glass of wine, step up to the table with an open seat and be interested as to what they had to say (Note I said be interested. It is a choice). Although I had to talk myself into it, I chose the second option. Besides, what’s the worse that could happen? If that absolute worse scenario that I could create in my mind actually happened, I can always just leave.
- Be Approachable: Trust me, if you have your hands crossed, look rigid, bored or have an overall presence of, “leave me the *%$# alone.” Most people will take your cue and give you exactly that, weather you intended to give off that vibe or not. Instead, put a smile on your face, relax your shoulders and be a pleasant person.
- Stop Talking About Yourself: Yeah, we get it. You are superwomen, have 2 million Facebook followers, know how to cook everything from scratch, have a successful business and have time to workout 3 hours a day. Do you want a prize now? While people are excited for you, new friends don’t want to hear about it all the time. It gets old. Even more it’s annoying. We know you are awesome already. In other words, stop telling and start asking. Channel your inner Ryan Seacrest and start asking some really intriguing questions and then continue the conversation based on what they have to say.
- Stop Whining: We all have our troubles, and hopefully we all have current friends that will sit and talk through the hardships we are facing. But when you are trying to make new friend, don’t unload all of your drama on them within the first five seconds of making an introduction. I am not saying to be fake; but if you are someone who somehow turns every conversation into talking about your drama (bad husband, bad work, bad work, your sick again, your kids are acting up, your depressed, your overwhelmed)… you won’t have friends and people will actually run when they see you walking towards them. I am not trying to be harsh, I am just trying to help you connect.
- Don’t Be So Judgmental: We have all heard the old saying, “don’t judge a book by its cover,” and yet somehow we all struggle with this to some degree. Some of my best friends in the whole world couldn’t be more polar opposite than myself. Not only do I appreciate them for who they are, but I enjoy the fact that we are constantly turning each other on to new and different things. If you can’t be friends with someone because they do or don’t breastfeed, do or don’t vaccinate, wear makeup or not, live in the hills or the wrong side of the tracks, drive a MINI Cooper or a minivan, then you are a shallow person. Get over yourself and then people will want to be friends with you.
So there you have it. Six things to consider when trying to gain new and valuable friendships! Part of being self-confident is being honest with yourself. I am not standing on a high-horse writing all of this. I have had to remind myself about all of the above and really have had to evaluate where I stand on all six points. Sooooooo… cheers to making new friends!
Have a great Saturday!