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26 Apr

How to Make New Friends As An Adult?

Written by Sinead Banful

Image by @Valentino

I’ll never forget the day I read that George Clooney gave each of his five closest friends one million dollars. Each! The alleged story goes somewhat like this…… George Clooney invited his close friends over for a dinner party and presented each of them with a suitcase containing one million dollars in cash! Clooney said the reason he gave this to his friends was due to their consistent support, loyalty and belief in him over the years, there were times when he had slept on their couches or had regularly borrowed money as a struggling actor; he said that these people were the reason “he was where he was today”, Clooney also expressed that he was committed to their success in the same way that they were committed to his.

“Life is relationships and the rest are just details”

Gary Smalley

Vulnerability is Key

Now I know what you are all thinking, damn I need to get myself a friend like George Clooney! But before we run away with the thought that we just need rich friends, let’s zone in huns on what made these people worthy of million-dollar suitcases. Clooney’s words that ‘he wouldn’t have been where he was today without them’ is the first ‘Major key’ to dissecting this level of adult relationship. This statement is truly profound because it demonstrates the level of intention, vulnerability and humility that George Clooney has in friendships despite his level of stardom. Let’s be honest, we don’t really care to know who these friends are, but to him, the level of investment he has in these friends and vice versa is integral to his life.

As children we depended on so many people for our development, we needed food and shelter from our parents, education and structure from our schools and EMA from the government so we could go to the cinema (if you know, you know). Adulthood often gives off the narrative that the older you get the less reliant you become and the less your needs are, however as a kid all you needed was an MSN profile or a fruit roll-up to show yourself a true friend, so in fact the requirements for friendship were minimal! Therefore let’s propose the notion that in fact as you grow, your requirements for a friend and need for friendship increase not decrease, yet in order to get a return on our demand we as individuals must vocalise these needs and in fact in some cases seek them out.

Also Read: The Importance of Letting Go

The ‘No New friends’ Chokehold

Many of us grew up in the generation where Drake dropped the song ‘No New friends’ , and unfortunately not only did the beat of this song have us in a choke-hold but so did the lyrics. As adults we are far too afraid to open ourselves up to new friendships and have taken on the mantra that the people we have known forever are the ones that we must ride into the distance with, not necessarily. We are all grown and sexy enough to know that ‘its not what you know in this life but who you know’ and life is truly about relationships. It is both integral and crucial to your joy to build new relationships in order to reach where you are supposed to be. Even within the friendships you already have it is important to rejuvenate the relationships by having honest conversations about where you are headed or what new things you need from your current relationships.

New relationships present new opportunities; they present new challenges but also new growth. So this year let’s release the Drake shackles and make a new anthem, perhaps one that says what do I need to help me grow and also am I nurturing those around me?

E for Effective Friendships

When I was 19 my mother bought me a book called ‘How to be a best friend forever’ initially when I read the cover I thought what a waste of time, I was popular in University and thought I was already a best friend until I read the first line of the book. The writer started by saying that if she did not have the friends she had she wouldn’t have beaten cancer and her marriage would not have lasted. Immediately the stakes of friendship went up! From that day I learned effective friendship requires a person who is bold enough to admit they have both ambitions and weaknesses and that those who come around them will need a level of character that can propel those ambitions and cover the weak places. To put it simply, in order to make friends as an adult we must be bold enough to admit we need a community of people around us that will help us to thrive.

Quality Questions

Once free from the red tape of ‘I know way too many people here right now that I didn’t know last year….’, we can now make the practical step of how to meet new people. This in fact is the easiest part but once again requires vulnerability and boldness. Firstly, think about what you enjoy doing or what new skills or qualities you want to develop, it might be cooking, painting or a new exercise class. These places are where you will often meet new people that have common interests that align with yours.

A deeper level to this is asking the question, do you see a quality in a particular person that you want more of in your life? Then sis you’re going to have to open up and draw closer to that person, you might actually have to open up your mouth and tell them you’d like to get to know them better. Now you might have a coffee with that person and you realise they don’t bring you peace but what if the coffee goes well and you realise by opening up they have answered more than one quality or question you are seeking the answer to. You just found yourself at the cusp of making new adult friend! It doesn’t mean you will be doing each other’s eyelashes tomorrow but what it does mean is you are taking steps to build productive relationships that meet your deeper needs, taking you closer to being the person you are called to be.

A few reminders…..,

Remember that friendships at an adult level is an intentional decision, you can decide who you want in your life.

Remember that you are here for a purpose and you should not be shy of that when choosing friends.

Remember that you need an environment to thrive and if you go to environments where you are looking to grow you will also meet like-minded people.

Finally also remember that making amazing friendships as an adult requires vulnerability and boldness on your part, but remember that vulnerability and courage are synonymous and no one ever made history or a million dollars without some courage! So be bold huns and go and take hold of some new friends!!!