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Health and Fitness News

Operation: Friend Making

Lonely? Try these tips to make a new friend.

Millions around the world feel a lack of meaningful social interaction with those around them. They have hundreds of friends on social media and no one to share a meal with. They're surrounded by people at work all day, but no one who gets their sense of humor. So they feel alone.

Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has only increased our loneliness. Lockdowns, social distancing, and fear of exposure have increased isolation and limited opportunities for connection. But you know you need friends. You can feel it deep inside.

Wondering how you can make new friends? Here are a few ideas to get started.

1. Go Online

You know about dating websites, but have you heard about friend sites? Hop online and you can connect with people who share common interests, are similar in age, and who live near you. Maybe you’ve moved to a new city or are a new mom and want to meet other new moms. Through a friend matching site, you can set up a time and location to hang out to get to know each other. Meet at a coffee shop or go for a walk in the local park and see what happens. You may find the new best friend you never thought you’d have!

2. Meet New People

Feel you’re living in a fish bowl? If you’re around the same people all the time, it may help to widen your friend pool. To do this, you’ll want to get creative. Take your dog to the dog park, volunteer at a local nonprofit, join a book club, sign up for a recreation sports team, or attend a religious service. When you see someone out and about, talk to them. It may not be natural, but it is vital if you’re going to make new friends.

3. Take the First Step

You have plenty of acquaintances. They’re your neighbors, coworkers, and fellow parents at your child’s school. With a little effort, that acquaintance could turn into your new best friend. It starts with a smile and small talk. Once that’s out of the way, open up. Share something personal to get past the surface talk and go a little deeper. If the person reciprocates or seems interested, the friendship has room to develop.

At this point, take a risk and initiate a time to hang out. Would the other person want to meet up for lunch or a drink after work? Would their family want to come over for a cookout? Or would they like to meet up at the gym? Take initiative, and your friendship will blossom.

4. Set a Goal

You need a new friend or two. Don’t convince yourself otherwise. Remind yourself of the benefits of friendship. A good friend brings joy to your life, helps to prevent loneliness, makes you feel loved, reduces your stress levels, and stands by your side through life’s ups and downs. To take advantage of these perks, it may help to set goals. This could be to smile more often to appear more friendly. It could be to meet at least one neighbor by the end of the week.Or your goal may be to have two new friends by the end of the year.

5. Be a Friend

Once you get past small talk and spend time with someone, the relationship can’t stop there. A friendship is two-sided. It requires give and take from both sides. Text or call to check in with your pal. Plan times to hang out. Remember birthdays and other important dates. Take your friend a meal when they’re sick. Babysit their kids. Be a good listener. Show interest in their life. Do these things and you’ll have the deep, meaningful friendship you need.