In this article by John Culbertson, we look at how to find good friends and meet like-minded people.
How to find good friends and why it is not as difficult as it seems.
Do you look forward to meeting your friends and spending time together? Is it something of a weekly, fortnightly, monthly or some sort of periodical regular ritual? Getting together and having tea, or coffee or a meal and just shooting the breeze with friends may not seem like a significant event but would you be willing to miss it? When you make an appointment with your dentist or lawyer, do you find yourself saying? “Not on Saturday morning, I am meeting my friends.” And when the dentist or lawyer says, “Oh, but can’t you do that on another day?” you say without a second thought, “No.” If so, then you are indeed fortunate for you have found friends for whom you always find time.
Are there friends in your future?
Finding good friends is not that difficult as long as you are interested in people. As Dale Carnegie, the author of ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People’ says, “You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people, than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.”
You won’t meet anyone in your living room.
As adults, we often find it difficult to approach a stranger or someone whom we are meeting first without any prejudices. As the old adage goes, we tend to judge people by their appearances as we judge books by their cover. We may call it worldly wisdom, experience or insight, but it is often a hindrance because we think we are such good judges of people when we are not.
We mistrust people unless they are already known to someone we know. Unless their affability can be vouched for as being genuine, we suspect there is some hidden agenda or motive in their becoming our friend. Our over-exposure to stories in the media have made us a little bit paranoid about people we don’t know. Everyone could be a potential conman, murderer, rapist, thief or some other sort of scoundrel. Yet, we are justified in our thinking so, aren’t we? The dangers of not taking precautions are too reasonable to ignore. That brings us to the different acceptable modes in which we can ensure that we find good friends without the risk of causing ourselves or others any harm.
Look for like-minded people.
One of the important aspects of a good friendship is enjoying spending time with each other. If someone likes to watch football but you don’t, then the chances of you spending time together is less. So, look for people who may have the same hobbies or interests as you. If you are into sports and health, then the gym is a good place to make friends. If you love music or reading, then the library or the music store… that’s right, people buy books and music online. This is one area where social networking websites have not yet been fully utilized. We join like-minded groups online but we seldom meet the people in person. Check if there are people living in your neighborhood who belong to an online group and try to contact them. Of course, we have been told many times to be wary of anyone we meet online but if we are careful then it is unlikely that we could be duped.
If looking for friends online makes you feel uncomfortable, then ask your colleagues at work, neighbors or friends who live in a different city to introduce you. Make a list of your favorite activities. It could be tennis, basketball, stamp-collecting, bird-watching, reading, movies or running. Ask people at the local club if they know anyone who may be interested in a game of tennis or running the marathon.
If you are new to a city or have recently moved into a new neighborhood, then join in communal activities. Volunteer to take part in activities that will enable you to meet people. Functions organized by the local sports clubs, religious institutions, restaurants, shopping malls and parks are great opportunities to meet people. You are more likely to find people in a relaxed receptive mood to form relationships at such events because everyone attends them to have a great time unlike a business event where everyone is focused on objectives and are feeling, more or less competitive and even threatened.
Throw a party.
If you have moved to a new neighborhood, there’s nothing better to break the ice than hosting a party. First find a reason to throw a party. If you throw a party saying you want to meet friends, people immediately get suspicious and judge you as socially inept. Instead make it seem casual, as if it’s a housewarming party or a festive celebration and invite your neighbors, people you’ve met at work or otherwise and ask them to invite their friends as well. If you are feeling really bold, then you can put up a poster at the local mall or community center announcing the party that you are throwing.
Good friends are worth the trouble we go to find them. Good friends have mutual respect for each other, share common interests, enjoy spending time with each other and make each other happy. Friends are worth every effort, because as Marcel Proust says, “Let us be grateful to people who make us happy, they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.”