Life was much simpler as a child.
You didn’t set the rules, there were limited obligations and all of your days were longer. Making friends was easy peasy. You befriended anyone who laughed like you, had the same color pants, liked the same sport as you or lived across the street. Friendships were fun. But they were never work. As an adult friendships are different. Let’s be honest here maintaining and creating new friendships is hard work.
Is it worth it? Oh hell yes it is.
Numerous studies tell us that people lead longer lives when they spend more time surrounded by friends. Friendships make us happy and happiness leads to a healthier state of mind and physical body. Consider this, when you’re happy you want to be active, you take care of our body and you seek sunlight as well as a myriad of other opportunities to be healthy. Friendships drive you to be happy.
Sadly, if you’re not happy then you’re lonely and due to factors such as social media, entrepreneurship and lower marriage rates loneliness has increased over the past thirty years.
Now that you know this you’re one step ahead of the game. You absolutely need women in your life to support you and help you grow. I know what you’re saying right now, “But Melissa I’m so busy I don’t even have time for myself.” Well I hate to break it to you, but you do have time. You just have to adjust your priorities.
But with time your relationships have changed and evolved.
Are you still friends with the same people from elementary school? Or high school? College? And so on. Together you’ve gone through similar experiences but as you age and your life evolves you begin to follow different paths.
Some of you will go to college, while others will go twenty years later, or not at all.
Some of you will get married while others will continue to play the field for years.
Some of you will begin to branch off and have families while others proclaim they will never have kids.
Some of you will move away while others will stay close to home.
In order to be healthy and happy you will need to develop new relationships with other women who are experiencing the same feelings and going through the same transitions that you are going through. Friendship is the key to living a happy life.
And yes, this is where time will get the best of you. Your whole day is spent working and running around doing errands. You’d love nothing else but to go home and close the door behind you. Maybe you’ll pour yourself a glass of wine or pass out on the couch and get lost in a Netflix series and wash the day away, alone again. You’ll think to yourself “Should I have gone to that party at Joanne’s?” but then you’ll whisper back to yourself “hell no” who has time for all that judgment? No thanks. I’ll stay home. Home is easy but after awhile easy becomes lonely and sadly, loneliness becomes your new norm.
You can’t go home and follow the same routine every night no matter how comfortable and soothing it is. You need to let down your walls and get your ass out there into the land of the unknown.
So where do you find them?
Finding new friends is much like dating. It can be painful and heartbreaking but the rewards are incredibly fulfilling. So get out your pen and paper and write down ten things you would like to do with your new found friend.
Are you seeking an active person?
A person to go to the movies with?
Now go do all of those things and do them without judgment. Yes, this is key. You’re never going to meet anyone, guy or girl, if you keep thinking what will they think or even worse if you think negative thoughts about them.
Keep in mind, that most friendships are built off one joint interest but that doesn’t mean that everything else about your new friend needs to be the same as you. Be diverse, most of my best friendships have been with people who were different then me as they taught me SO MUCH about myself.
If this list doesn’t work for you look online. Some see it as an only connection but I believe it can bridge connections. Instead of staying home and only using your phone, use your phone to meet people and build relationships offline.
Think about how easy it can be to find people with similar interests as you. Personally, I have numerous friendships that started as connections online and then we instantly connected and became best buds offline.
But if connecting with other women online is scary for you then you have to put yourself in situations where you'll meet people face to face. In order for a friendship to develop you need to be face-to-face enjoying, creating, or equally sharing a disdain for something together (think about those friends from college and your combined hatred for research).
So get out there. Open up and be vulnerable. Foster old friendships and develop new ones like your life depends on it because guess what, it does. It really, really does.
Happier with friends.