Random Observation/Comment #723: “I have friends, I definitely have friends” ~Crazy Ex Girlfriend song stuck in my head
Why this List?
It’s hard to make friends as an adult. Most of the people closest to me are close because we’ve known each other for a long time, traveled together, had countless meals together, and used to hang out all the time (when that was a thing). I initially started this list thinking about how that changes for making new friendships in the pandemic, but it’s clear we all need help building bonds and feeling closer. Here’s some ideas for organic friend-making.
- Have a common hobby – Our bad Dad’s beer club loves beer tasting and brewing. I also have a table tennis community that goes for a good workout and drinks afterwards. Starting a mini road biking community locally and hanging out with people who have free lunch hours on weekdays. I guess parenting is also a common default hobby.
- Host events around this hobby – Scheduling ahead of time is super important and it’s easy to just drink at every event. The beer brewing on Memorial Day was also fun. Highly recommend doing non-drinking events to change it up.
- Start a chat group together – I do most of socializing through chat groups on SMS, WhatsApp, FB groups, Hangouts, Signal, and Telegram.
- Share messages about your topic with the chat group – I like sharing random photos and news links to different groups based on our common hobbies.
- Create a personal niche brand in the group – Most of my niches are around photographing everything, food, and crypto. Hard to break old habits.
- Recommend activities together – Be the one that leads the scheduling. It’s good to be friends with organizers.
- Say “Yes” to events – It’s important to show up and be a part of the event. It’s understandable if you can’t attend, but if you don’t show up for 2 events, you might be invited to fewer ones.
- Be reliable and dependable – Attend if you’re going to attend and contribute. It’s never good to be flakey.
- Never show up empty handed – This is just part of the standard manners. Always happy to bring some IPAs from Outer Range.
- Be kind and considerate – I mentally keep track of big events for everyone so I can ask about these celebratory or concerning moments. It requires a good memory to keep track of so many people, but it goes a long way to listen.
- Be generous – I personally miss buying rounds at bars. By comparison, we’ve alternated hosting, buying meals for the events, bringing drinks, etc. Friends don’t keep track.
- Be curious – Ask “What did you do today?” instead of “How are you doing?” – This is much more reflective on activities and plans rather than general feelings.
- Offer help to babysit kids for free date nights – Even consider hiring a babysitter for all the kids and going out on double dates together. Parent date nights are awesome.
- Have fun nights that lead to 2am conversations – My old body can’t really handle too many tequila shots, but I do love long conversations and opening up.
- Consider travel together through camping or road trips – Camping was awesome. These planned events are family focused and have a lot of story sharing opportunities.
- Listen and learn – Separate from general curiosity, be aware of people’s expertise and ask them to teach you more about these subjects
- Open up about personal matters – This is not a first meeting activity (just like a first date). One-on-one or family-hosted lunches/dinners/weekends often surface some interesting personal stories.
- Make a group pot luck dinner night – Of course I have a list of 30 Themed Pot Luck Party ideas. These can also center around holidays.
- If you have kids, host play dates for them – Kids are a great way to meet new friends. It seems weird having friends with people who don’t have kids anymore because we have less and less in common in terms of problems/concerns/planning.
- Don’t keep track, but balance – Offer to plan events, host, or any other activities once in a while. Plan as far ahead as possible and send messages that look forward to these group activities.
- Spread good news / praise your friends – When it comes to specific topics, I’m often the one that praises people in the neighborhood. I likely only have good things to say (and if they’re not good, then I omit it).
- Hang out without kids – Kids are great until they’re not. If you’re able to hang out without kids, then try to remember the good old days. Center it around some activities you want to do with a lighter lockdown.
- Hang out without drinking – Common hobbies other than drinking are always helpful. There’s more conversation points and opportunities to bring up these conversations.
- Ask for help – People are often helpful and it takes a lot to show vulnerability or ignorance in topics. I always ask for help because I rather get advice from people with experience or an alternative perspective.
- Form a ritual together like a cool high five or toast – This happens organically and it shows more connections
- Talk about the future together – As we discuss bigger picture problems and planning like new schools for kids, these become multi-year outlook. Looking ahead and thinking about how the community evolves and where we’ll be solidifies a longer term relationship.
- Introduce them to your existing circle of friends – I’ve often split my friend circles, but since we all have kids and we’re all slowly coming out of the pandemic, we can all find commonality.
- Give people enough heads up on your plans if they want to join – I’m a big fan of being spontaneous and planning things for myself to bring myself happiness. I have formed enough friends locally that I have sent out ad-hoc lunch plans.
- Share a secret or inside joke – This also happens organically. The more experiences you have together, the more old jokes and stories of older experiences/events can come up.
- Have fun – It’s hard to make friends. Just have fun and other people will want to have fun with you.
~See Lemons Be Friendly