By: Maggie Young
Finding “your people” as a young adult is tough. Making friends in high school and college may come easier to some people due to the nature of the social setup, classes and endless clubs and activities to join. Once you reach adulthood, however, things start to change. People move and enter different life stages. It’s just harder to make those connections. In a conversation with Lively, Lori Friesen, a Life Path Coach, lays out how to make new friends as an adult -- and shows us how important forming authentic connections really is.
Friesen attributes (some of) the difficulty of making new friends to social media. She notes that being a social media friend or follower is easier, as we just click accept to the request and “like” the latest photo in our feed. This sometimes happens in place of the meaningful connection that involves more commitment and effort. In the end, what we truly need is to foster the meaningful connections.
“I believe it’s important to live a life that matches what you would like to experience with your friends,” shares Friesen. In order to do this, you have to take time to think about ideal traits in a person that you would like to be friends with and spend time doing similar activities that you enjoy. For instance, think about whether you want an adventurous friend or someone who would prefer to hang out at home. As with any relationship, finding shared joy in activities is important, so make sure you are doing activities that truly align with your values and goals.
“I believe that one of the best ways to make true connections is to look for opportunities for personal growth and/or to be of service,” Friesen tells Lively. That being said, activities such as classes, workshops, book clubs, volunteering opportunities and meet-ups are all ways to connect with others that may have similar values. Friesen reiterates that when you commit to your personal growth or set an intention to help, you will attract others with similar aspirations. Apps such as Meetup allow you to find groups of individuals by filtering through activities that you like to do. In addition, you can even create your own group if it’s not something that is already offered in your area. There are also websites such as VolunteerMatch that can connect you with the best fit for your lifestyle and preferences.
It probably goes without saying but avoid trying to just “fit in” vs really digging around to find what you enjoy. In turn, you will end up discovering more authentic friendships. As Friesen notes, if people don’t resonate with you, then they are not your people. Of course, being friendly toward others is essential to keeping an open door for new friendships but showing up as your authentic self will help you attract people with whom you will truly get along and form stronger connections. “It can take courage and vulnerability to open yourself to a new friendship, but the rewards can be priceless,” Friesen tells Lively.