Losing Friends and Finding New Ones
Making friends. Losing friends. Keeping friends.
For most people, this is a tough thing to talk about, but it is a topic that is especially important as an introvert. For us, making friends is difficult enough, but keeping friends can be even harder.
Rather than having a ton of friends, I have found from experience, that introvert’s would rather cultivate the few friendships we have instead of spreading ourselves too thin. So when friendships do end, it’s for a reason.
So how can you not repeat what went wrong in one friendship, so it doesn’t happen again?
Learn to compromise
New patterns emerge as people change and mature. For example, I once took a job with hours that did not match up with my friend’s work schedules. We drifted apart simply because time wasn’t made for socializing, and because of that, I lost some great relationships because I chose to grow. On the other hand, some of my friends have kids now and I am happy to try and accommodate their families into our social lives, because I respect that things have changed. In turn, they try to make adult time for me so we can continue our friendship and have fun. It’s a compromise!
Let it go
People change, and that’s ok. However, gossiping about past friends will not help you make new friends, or maintain existing friendships. Make sure you speak respectfully about old acquaintances, despite the circumstances of the “break up”, and encourage others to do the same.
Change your M.O.
For introverts, finding friends can’t be really hard. For most of us, we meet friends through our current buddies, so when we lose a friend, we also lose potential other friends. There was a study in Kansas City that says it takes 50 hours of time spent together to convert an acquaintance into a friend. That sounds about right to me.
Here are a few ways that introverts can find friends (without relying on your current friends):
- Go online: Finding a club on MeetUp that revolves around your interests is a great way to meet new people. You can even join a Facebook group to make connections!
- Attend events: Find an event around town that pique’s your interest. You can do this by searching Eventbrite or your local newspaper. There is even a feature on Facebook to look up “Nearby Events”, and it will suggest fun things to do in your area!
- Local groups: Research alumni gatherings, clubs, churches or community centers where people with the same interests as you would hang out.
- Take a class: Go to a local college, church or community center and learn something new with a group of people looking to do the same.
If you are in this stage of your life, remember how important it is to be yourself. Yes, you will lose friends along the way, but you will also gain friends and build great relationships. Everything ebbs and flows in life, but stay open and you will find your own people.