01 Feb Making New Friends Mid-life
The art and science of making new friends mid-life
I’ve recently been thinking about making new friends mid-life. A couple of days ago this lovely lady, my friend Hulya Erdal of http://www.madebythechef.com was 50. I first met Hulya in the playground where my daughter and her son were attending nursery. I was drawn to her infectious smile and knew, from our very first conversation, that we would be friends. We are very different. Hulya is a real extrovert, bubbly and gregarious, with a truly generous heart. I am quieter, and it takes a while to get to know me, and vice versa. I often envy Hulya’s easy manner!
When I turned 50, Hulya was my obvious choice to go to Le Manoir au Quatre Saisons with. Even though she was battling a bad cold, Hulya made the evening a night to remember.
I believe the quality of your friendships are one of the most important things about your fifties. I have old have friends from school that make me feel like I’m a teenager again. Pals from University who I have known for more than half their lives. Friends who I’ve met through my children, and countless mates I’ve met through my business. All of them add richness and variety to my life. I like to think that I do the same.
However, I’m also sure that it’s vital to keep making new friends. It’s a skill that we shouldn’t abandon, even though it can tempting to think we have all the friends we need. Hulya is excellent at this and seems to do it effortlessly. But what is it that turns someone from an acquaintance or colleague into a friend? Can you force it, or make it happen, or should it just come naturally? Can you even make a new friend under lockdown?
For me, my recent friends, have come from doing courses, programmes and my Masters. I haven’t made any new friends through social media. When I posted this on social media, people said that may others through walking the dog, joining art or poetry groups on Facebook, or doing programmes or classes, as I did.
Here are five things I do know:
1. Don’t go on first impressions. Give people more than one chance, I remember meeting someone I initially didn’t like. Somehow, everything about her seemed angular and sharp…even the way she talked. When I found out she and I were going to be in a small group together I groaned inwardly. However, over time I got to know her better and we bonded. We’ve just about lost touch now, but we had many goof years of friendship.
2. On that note, you may have to let some people to go to let new ones in. Dropping people doesn’t have to mean to announce it in an email, with all the reasons why. Just let new things take over, fo both of you.
3. Stay open to opportunities. When you get the opportunity to try something out of your comfort zone, or a new class or course, go for it with open-mindedness.
4. Revisit old friends from the past that you’d like to reconnect with and see how that feels. Things may have moved on, but it could be the start of your friendship 2.0
5. Smile. It makes you much more approachable, even on Zoom.