Making New Friends In Our Modern World

Ironic, isn't it? We have 24 hour a day connectivity with the entire world. We update our Facebook status with what we ate for breakfast. We tweet our frustration over the long line at Starbucks. Yet Friday night comes around and we don't have a buddy for checking out a new movie, nightclub or restaurant. Why is it so hard to find "real life" friends?

Technology has increased our ability to communicate enormously. Unfortunately, it is easy to fall into the trap of spending so much time communicating that we don't have time left for actually making connections. Human interaction is more than a witty tweet or reposting a funny kitten photo, yet many times we use up our free time on these low value activities and find that our day is done and we haven't had a real conversation with anyone today!

We all like to be approached. It is human nature to enjoy the attention of others, especially since the person being approached has the joy of being noticed without the fear of rejection. But obviously, not everyone can be the person being approached. It is pretty much a 50/50 split, if you think about it. Have we done about half of the approaching? Probably not.

One reason that we hesitate to approach new people is that rejection hurts. It hurts every time, if only a little.  Approaching someone, striking up a conversation with a stranger, these are situations where our ego is definitely on the line. What if the other person rejects us, laughs at us, is rude to us? We might feel like a fool or a loser. How awful. But how often does that really happen? When was the last time you were rude to someone who said something nice to you while you were waiting for your coffee?

Nobody wants to be "that person" who doesn't have any friends. The act of making a new friend could be interpreted as having a lack of friends. Wait, what? How did all those friends of other people happen, by magic? Yet the fear of appearing needy holds us back.

So, how can we make new friends in this digital age? Other than accosting people on the street (which can work, depending on where you live and how you look) there are some proven strategies. Most successful "friend finders" agree that the easiest way to find new friends is to get active.

Choose one of your hobbies or an activity that has always appealed to you and get out there and do it! Participating in an activity takes the stress and awkwardness out of meeting new people. You aren't focused on making conversation; you are focused on the activity. Conversation flows naturally out of what you are doing. There's no judging, no implied commitment, just a group of people sharing a good time.

You can pick an activity that you've been doing solo and find someone who's on their own, too.  Walk you dog or stroll the mall? Find someone else who does the same thing. Bet you are both interested in having someone to talk with while your dogs sniff every tree and hydrant.

The Internet has added so much to our lives, yet has made some things more difficult. One tool for finding new friends is  Select the activities that you enjoy, the places you frequent and let WannaBuddy connect you with people in your area with similar interests. Without broadcasting your personal email or chatting with someone for days only to find out that they live 2,000 miles away, WannaBuddy focuses your attention on people nearby so that you can establish real life friends and check out new activities.  Give it a try!

1 comment:

  1. A well stated blog.. And there are lots of ways to find a true friend, either through online or through real conversations.