Guide to making new friends (especially in new settings)
I am not an expert in making friends. Annie and I lucked into a lot of friendships when we moved to the greater Indy area and we had a lot of people looking out for us. Looking back though I think these principles were beneficial.
These principles are particularly helpful when changing settings (moving, changing life stages, etc), but could be helpful to anyone. These attitudes have a greater impact on your ability to make friends than what city big or small you choose to live.
Patience: It is not helpful to compare your new friends to your revisionist history version of your old friends. Your friends from your past were not as perfect as you remember them to be. More importantly you can’t compare a 10 day old friendship with a four year old friendship. Do you remember the first time you met your best friend? Did you know that very first time that you would become as close as you have become? Usually we don’t know we have made a lifelong friend until we are a ways into that friendship.
When you were in college you probably sat on each other’s futons for hours at a time and saw each other everyday. As your life stages change friendship may look different but it doesn’t mean the friendships aren’t strong.
Expand your definition of friends to include a wide age range: I became friends with Jim McKenzie shortly after moving to Carmel, he is one of my best friends, and I never think about the fact that he is 18 years older than me. Annie and I became friends with Mary Ellen (Estridge) McIntyre and Sarah (Briggs) Battaglia when they were first semester freshman in college and we were 25. They remain some of our best friends today. I believe age is irrelevant in nearly everything, including friendship.
Initiate: You simply have to go out and do it. Try things. Ask co workers and neighbors to grab coffee or go to a show. Most of the people you come across are feeling like you are and would love another friend. You can not simply sit and wait for new friends to come to you.
What would you add or change?