Making new friends

Blog 11 June 2018

Friends are the family we choose, so is it any wonder they have a huge impact on our health and happiness! But close friendships don’t just happen and no matter what our age and life experience, many of us can still struggle to meet new people and develop quality connections.

Whether you consider yourself an introvert or extrovert, we’ve all experienced shyness and uncertainty in new or unfamiliar social situations – like moving into a new neighbourhood. Meeting new people can be tricky and it’s only natural to want to make as good impression as possible.

The Village Retirement Group provides an amazing array of facilities and opportunities for socialising, learning new skills and meeting new friends, whatever your interests, but it’s still up to us as individuals to take the initiative to get out there and mingle.

Take a deep breath, be bold and put yourself out there – the more you do it the easier it gets!

Smile and the world smiles with you. Cliched though this might seem, body language is important – nearly 70% of meaning in human connection comes from non-verbal communication. Speak clearly and loudly, try to maintain eye contact. Avoid mumbling and looking down. Don’t fold your arms or put your bag in front of your chest – it looks like you’re trying to close yourself off. Try to minimise nervous actions such as jiggling, nail biting and looking around.

Go easy on yourself and join a small group first, linking in with people who have similar interests or hobbies as you do. Focus on others, ask them questions about themselves, listen and pay attention. Limit distractions, don’t hide behind that smart phone. Is there someone else in the room who also look like they might be new? Why not approach them, start a conversation and buoy each other’s confidence?

Think about a gregarious friend or person you admire, who just seems to know how to work a room. Imitate some of their mannerisms and ask for their help. What tricks and tips can they offer you?

Above all, be yourself. Don’t put yourself under pressure. Take things slowly and enjoy yourself. Remember all those fears are inside our heads and it’s likely just as we’re worried about the impression we’re making, so are the other people in the room. They’re just as scared as we are.

After all, good friends aren’t made in an instant but they can last a lifetime.

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