When Carole King wrote, the world-famous song “You Got a Friend”, she was certainly bright and intuitive. Science says making new friends is food for your health and as I am learning, it is never too late to do so.
When we are young, we take making friends for granted. our relationships are brokered on the playground, on play dates, on sports fields, at birthday parties. Yet as we grow older and our attentions are commandeered by responsibility, romantic love, moves, jobs, etc, it becomes clear that making new friends as an adult is hard. I know having recently moved several times that making new friends is a lot harder than meeting at your children’s school or in an exercise class.
Marissa G Franco PhD, best-selling author and psychologist, in her book, Platonic: How the Science of Attachment Can Help you Make and Keep Friends, believes we are in a “friendship famine” today. She unpacks what is evidenced based in 12-step work that friendship and connection is necessary for good health. Franco reports that one of the biggest predictors of happiness is connection.
Yet how do we benefit from friendship?
- It helps honor our identity.
Sometimes I think folks who engage in self support groups are way ahead of the game, as it gives them the scaffolding necessary for support and connection. We know that we can find that also in team sports, exercise classes and anything that requires conversing and regular interaction.
We are each special, nuanced, and different parts of ourselves are emboldened.
- It strengthens our other relationships.
Research shows that when people spend time with their friends, they are less affected by conflict in their romantic partnership.
- It honors the fact that we’re a communal species by nature.
Franco points out there are three types of loneliness, and research indicates that we need relationships to feel whole, to feel good, and to feel connected.
- Every time you make a friend someone else does too, which makes the world a special place.
How to make friends as an adult
- Try something new. I tried pickleball – it’s a fun way to meet folks and move. Think about something you want to do that requires connection or service.
- Volunteer – being of service always takes you away from yourself.
- Develop a new vocation or hobby.
- You can even start a new business.
- Try something different.
Assume good intent. Looking at the world through the lens of positivity does wonders.
Do share: how do you make a friend?