It’s kind of weird how we just meet a person, decide – “I like you, I’m going to spend more time hanging out with you than any of these other people around here” – and then they’re just our friend!
You don’t need us to tell you how valuable a good friend is, and we know there will be times when we head off into new parts of life where we’ll need to be able to make new friends.
At school, it seems so easy – we’re all in the same boat, and we just have to figure out who’s the best fit for us. As we get older and start apprenticeships or our first jobs, maybe heading to college or university, it all gets a little more complicated.
But not impossible.
On this International Day of Friendship, we’re focusing on celebrating the lifelong friends who keep us sane and how we can keep cultivating positive relationships to find good friends wherever we go.
Taking place on the 30th of July, the United Nations (UN) International Day of Friendship is an opportunity to celebrate a shared spirit of solidarity in one of the most simple yet wonderful forms of human relationships – friendship.
It is no surprise that science has found that one of the most significant indicators of a happy, long life is the positive relationships and friendships we cultivate.
The International Day of Friendship was proclaimed in 2011 by the UN General Assembly with the idea that friendship between peoples, countries, cultures and individuals can inspire peace efforts and build bridges between communities.
According to the UN:
“Through friendship — by accumulating bonds of camaraderie and developing strong ties of trust — we can contribute to the fundamental shifts that are urgently needed to achieve lasting stability, weave a safety net that will protect us all, and generate passion for a better world where all are united for the greater good.”
In the early years of our lives, we go through some significant shifts – from moving schools to starting new jobs and figuring out who we are.
It’s natural to outgrow some friendships or feel like we need different friends to help us in different ways.
Whatever the situation, here are our five top tips to help you with making new friends wherever you go:
1. Focus on the activities and hobbies you enjoy.
A mistake people sometimes make is to focus on where people are to put themselves into activities they think will help them make friends. Instead, try to focus on the activities and hobbies you enjoy.
If you like hiking and walking, why not join a hiking group? If you enjoy running, a running group. Reading? A book club. Gaming? A board game meet-up.
Use the activities you like to find groups of like-minded people in your area, and you’ll put yourself in an excellent position to meet people who enjoy the same things as you.
2. Be curious and ask questions.
When meeting new people, it’s all about finding the balance in the conversation so that everyone feels like they have a chance to talk and share and get to know each other.
Remember to stay curious about others and not just talk about yourself. Think about what you’d enjoy being asked when a new friend is trying to get to know you, and use this to form questions you can ask others. Some of our favourites include:
- How long have you lived in the area, and what’s your favourite part about living here?
- Where’s the best place you’ve ever been on holiday?
- What was the best book you read/movie you watched/show you binged recently?
- Pineapple on pizza; yes or no, and why?!
3. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there.
It can be scary, but if you meet someone you think you clicked with and would like to get to know them more to develop a friendship, don’t be afraid to put yourself out there.
Tell them you enjoyed meeting them and ask if they’d like to grab a coffee sometime (or tea or ice cream).
It’s easy for people to assume that everyone has ‘enough’ friends, so it might not happen unless you let people know you’re actively looking to develop some new friendships, it might not happen.
4. It’s okay if you don’t click.
Not everyone we meet is going to BFF material. As we get older, we become more of who we want to be, which can sometimes mean we’re less flexible or willing to spend time with others we don’t think we have much in common with.
There is nothing wrong with you or another person if you don’t click as friends – it’s just one of those things. Stay polite, respectful and positive and focus on finding the right people for you.
In recent times, the friendships in our lives have been nothing short of life-saving – and we know it hasn’t always been easy to meet up in person and spend time together in the ways we’d like.
That’s why this International Friendship Day, we want to hear your best, funniest and happiest friendship stories.
Got a funny story about how you and your bestie met? Have a friend who helped you through a tough time? Or just want to showcase how awesome your friends are? We want to hear about it!
Share a post on social media and tag us. Use the hashtags #ExploreCareersFriendshipChallenge and #InternationalDayOfFriendship2022 so we can see ‘em. We’d love to share some of our favourites!