how to practice friendship?

R

rednerite

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Aug 28, 2015
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Hey all, I'm almost 30 and have no friends. I have colleagues, friendly acquaintances, and people on Facebook.

I don't hang out with anyone. I'm at that awkward age where everyone is either still partying too hard (which I have no interest in) or they are busy with their families. I was never good at making friends in school either. I'm not a bad or mean person, I actually tend to compliment people a lot.

But I just don't have any friends. I have tried volunteering and meeting people through those experiences, I have tried hanging out with people from work. I either get blown off every time we try to make plans, or we hang out once and then never again.

How do you make friends at age 30? I'm tired of joining different groups or volunteering and not making any lasting connections. I'm also not good at reaching out to make plans.

I have been shot down too many times since childhood. I have a big wall built up around me, and I wish I didn't. Don't know what to do. I'm tired of being alone, I would love to have someone to just go shopping with or something fun outdoors.

Someone who doesn't bring me down. The last colleague I tried hanging out with did nothing but spend 3 hours complaining about our job. Not my idea of a budding friendship.

Advice, please?
 
Kerome

Kerome

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Well first off I'd check my conversational skills. If you know how to hold a varied and engaging conversation for a couple of hours then you're doing pretty well and probably qualify as friend material. If not, well there are ways to learn, investigate learning small talk, switching topics, when to let the other run with it, letting people talk about themselves, finding areas of mutual interest to talk about, and so on.

Mutual interest in subjects is very important. If you're on a meeting with a friend who hates work and you end up talking about work all the time, that is going to leave a very negative impression of the encounter. You need to try to get people to talk about positive things that matter to them, and hopefully ones that they find interesting as well. I once did a wine course, and met some great guys, and with one or two I had a real connection because of the line of work we were in, and I still see them every year even though we now all live in different countries. And we're all still wine buffs. So shared interests!

If you happen to know people already or are willing to go the extra mile for a friendship, you can take onboard one of their key interests and make it your own. For example, my dad loves baseball, he got enthusiastic about it some fifteen years ago, after I left for uni. But I took it on board, and got kind of interested in it, and enjoy it quite a bit now although I'll never have his passion, but we do regularly shoot the breeze about baseball subjects.

Then if none of your current circle of acquaintances seems friend material, go and do clubs, courses and activities. That will immediately give you a shared interest and a good start on exploring a potential set of new mates. My wine course was a good example of this. Then after you've found someone with whom it's fun talking, you can both hold a conversation and you have some shared interests, it's on to deepening the friendship by opening up about stuff that really matters - share your concerns, the things that occupy your deep thoughts. That's the start of a real friendship that lasts.
 
R

Roadtonowhere

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Aug 30, 2015
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I love to read and research a lot, and through my endless searching of how to get a girlfriend and become more outgoing and make friends etc. I keep stumbling across the same advice over and over:

Meet people at the source of your interests to ensure the best possible match!
Now you already mentioned that you did volunteering and clubs and hobbies, which is great and the best way to do it! However I have a feeling you might go to these activities with the wrong expectations or even attitude. Try this:

Do not go to these clubs or volunteering places with the expectations of meeting someone to become buddies with for several reasons; first if that is your only reason that you even attend these activities many people can tell and you might come across as desperate/awkward because you are not being your true self and that puts some people off.
Two if things don't work out the disappointing feeling is overwhelming and you feel bad about yourself, and lastly desperation often leads to unhappy and sometimes even unhealthy relation ships as you are willing to hang out with people that aren't really good for you but you do it anyways out of loneliness.

Do hobbies, activities and join clubs because you love doing them, not with the intent of finding a friend. That way you will enjoy yourself more, if you don't make friends your time wasn't wasted at least as you had fun and you won't feel bad about yourself. And above all it makes you more approachable as you are being yourself and people will notice that.

The rest is rather simple, chat with people, be yourself and be patient. That way you are more likely to find a GOOD friend whom you can have lots of fun with rather than just a friend you made but you don't even have much in common with (kind of like your coworkers who only complain about work when they hang out).

All of the above actually applies to dating too! Patience is a big part of it though, and enjoy yourself! It makes the process a lot easier and more fun!

Danny
 
Kerome

Kerome

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The thing that I find the trickiest is when to extend an acquaintance into a friend. You've met someone who is a potential friend, you have some interests in common, you have talked some and enjoy each others company, now how do you extend that into friendship? It's all about doing things together I think, and about sharing some of the deeper issues that you care about. But extending that first invitation is something I find difficult, it's a fear of rejection which I've struggled with all my life.

I think there's only one answer to this, if you're not good at making plans or extending invitations, which is to develop this side of yourself and become good at it. Or, importantly, join the group of someone else who is good at it.
 
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R

Roadtonowhere

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Deep friendships simply take time to develop, they don't happen overnight or by asking "want to be my best friend?".
Meaningful time spend together through good and bad times is what intensifies friendships.
 
C

Captain Caveman

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Aug 21, 2015
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You have a big wall built up around you, I have too and it's not a good thing as you say. Walls are built to keep people out, the wall protects you but it also keeps you alone. I don't have any friends either, I have difficulties trusting people and letting them past the wall.
 
Kerome

Kerome

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Deep friendships simply take time to develop, they don't happen overnight or by asking "want to be my best friend?".
Meaningful time spend together through good and bad times is what intensifies friendships.
True, but you have to be open to creating meaningful time together. That requires you to do certain things and be certain things. A good degree of emotional openness is a necessity, as is enjoying another's company. Friendship can have a spark, much like romance. Sometimes you meet someone you get on with like a house on fire, and those are friendships worth investing time and effort into.

But you're right, there is no substitute for time spent together. Which is one reason I was talking about activities and invitations, that's part of the good times. Although often you learn more about your friends from the bad times, who comes to see you in hospital and so on. There are passive elements to friendship, and also active ones which require you to do things.
 
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