I just finished reading an article called Making Friends at 40. I thought it was interesting that the author said that making friends is a process. Isn’t it funny how friends just happened when you were younger, but after you reach a certain age, you have to come up with “a plan” to make new friends?
The author explained how she tried some of the standard techniques for making grown-up friends, like joining clubs where you and the others have common interests. However, she ran into problems when they were existing groups and not so accepting of new people. (Apparently those folks had no need for new friends and weren’t accepting applications :P)
She also talked about how she felt like she might have been trying too hard and that she was too focused on her desire to connect instead of just getting to know someone. I think that this is a valid point and can hinder your well laid-out plans. Sometimes in our quiet desperation to quell the loneliness, we can come across too strong and perhaps make the whole situation awkward.
The point of all this is that I have been feeling guilty about not moving forward with my Great Social Experiment plan. I haven’t forgotten about it, but I really think that although it felt like a good idea at the time, after much consideration I’m quite sure that the whole thing would make me more than just a little uncomfortable. So I have come up with a variation. The new idea struck me today when I chatted with a Facebook friend of mine for a minute and now we have lunch plans for next week.
Basically, my plan for the next month is to reach out to one of my Facebook “friends” per week and make plans to meet them in real life. As you all know, many of your friends on Facebook can be more like acquaintances and less like actual friends, I mean seriously, who has over 1000 real friends? (I have over 250 FB friends and sometimes that feels a little unrealistic.)
But back to the plan… it’s really very simple. I have a few friends that I have lost touch with, other than stalking their lives on FB, plus I have some friends that it always felt like there was more potential there but we just never found the time. So I will reach out to one person a week for the next 4 weeks, including the one I already have plans with this week, and see if I can set up a coffee date with them, or lunch or even a drink.
I wanted more meaningful relationships this year, so this seems like a good way to try to deepen some relationships I already have without going out and harassing strangers at the local coffee shop, lol.