As a lady in my mid 30’s and who has been in abusive and controlling relationships, I have found myself finding new friends and learning who I am all over again.
A recently single friend and I were chatting the other day about how people of our age find new hobbies and friends which got me thinking about how others do it so I asked some blogger friends and did some research and have written about it!
I guess to start with we need to think about what constitutes a friendship for us and whether we are looking for acquaintances, friends to chat with or friends to see and spend time with. Obviously, the difference will depend on where you look for new friends!
So many people are lonely now and feel like everyone around them has lots of friends so does not want to ask how to make more friends. Or maybe you worry you will offend the friends you do have if you say you feel like you want to make some new friends?
Hopefully, these suggestions will help some of my readers and maybe give them a share in case anyone you know is feeling lonely.
Where can you make friends?
Make friends online
This doesn’t have to be like a “please be my friend” advert, it can be as simple as joining groups on social media linked to your hobbies, interests or lifestyle.
I have made some friends I would consider friends for life through autism groups online and other friends through blogging.
They may not be friends that I see often if at all but they are friends that are at the end of a text when I feel lonely and I know they feel the same.
Make friends at your child’s school
These don’t have to be best friends who you even see outside of the school gates but saying hello to other parents at drop off time or school plays etc can be a nice way of feeling like you are not so alone.
A familiar face and someone with who you can have a quick chat with even just about the weather makes the day feel less lonely.
There are also options for parent groups organised through the school sometimes.
Joining the PTA (parent-teachers association) and helping with fundraisers, being a volunteer on school trips or for swimming, or even being on the school governing body are all ways of finding new friends through your child’s school. School receptionists are a wealth of knowledge on these things!
Learning a skill or joining a course
It is easy to think that all these courses are in the evenings but they really are not, there are some during the day, especially run through sure start centres or even local libraries.
It could be an academic course like improving your maths, a fun course for a hobby like photography or drama, or even learning a skill to use in a future career like accountancy or beauty therapy!
The courses can be pricey but they aren’t always and they can even be free so worth investigating!
Join a local group
Have you considered your local Rock choir or drama group? These groups often have a drink after the group and you will quickly get to know all the members.
Hospital radio is often run by volunteers and is another way of finding new friends in a fun group.
Try out a new sport
I recently wrote a post about different exercises and sports you may not have tried. Take a look and see if anything takes your interest.
There are lots of running groups that you could join if you enjoy running.
In Nottinghamshire, there is a group called Notts Women Runners that do beginner running sessions for women who want to run but haven’t tried yet. Other areas could have similar groups.
ParkRun is a community running event every week and there are lots up and down the country so there is highly likely to be one near you, try it out and see who you meet.
The local library
Many local libraries have a book club or more than one for different genres. This is a great way to meet new people and have some “me” time. Libraries are free to join and the book clubs are usually free too so definitely one to look into.
Meet the neighbours
This doesn’t have to be full of drama like in films and you don’t have to bake a cake or hotpot to take over like on the soaps!
If you are reading this and live near me however strawberries would always be welcomed! Just saying hello and chatting is nice.
Volunteering for a charity has made me lots of friends over the years. I used to volunteer a lot more than I am able to nowadays but have made so many friends through that from so many different walks of life.
There are so many different charities out there you are bound to find something to suit you!
If you are not a sporty person maybe you love to sew or some other kind of craft, or would be interested in learning?
Craft groups are not always easy to find but local craft shops often know about them and there are often groups on social media for crafts who may know.
They are people who you already have something in common with as soon as you join.
It isn’t all about finding prospective relationships but making friends with other singles on a fun holiday.
Apparently, there are lots out there not just the 18-30s ones we’ve all heard of!
This may sound silly but family and your partner’s family can become close friends as well as relations if you have similar interests and choose to spend time doing things together.
Get an Allotment
If this is something which appeals to you it is a great way to make friends with similar interests.
I have made so many friends since I joined Slimming World and find groups like this offer a great way of making new friends.
Church or belief group
Another great way of meeting people who have similar beliefs and values to yourself.
Whilst this used to be more mature women there is such a mixture nowadays with women of all ages joining.
It is definitely something worth looking into as even if you don’t enjoy it a few hours of your time isn’t much to give it a go!
This is a hobby that has found me lots of new friends that I didn’t expect to find. It is a great way of virtually meeting so many people and you can have a coffee and chat with them in your pyjamas and no one knows!
What makes a friendship?
Have you ever openly ditched a friend in the way you would dump a boyfriend? A friend of mine recently received a text message from a friend she had known and been close to for over ten years.
The message said that they couldn’t be friends anymore as she felt they no longer shared the same values!
Have you ever received a message like this? Have you ever sent one? Do you think friendship can be ended like this?
To me, a good friend is someone who doesn’t have to be there every day or even every week but when you do chat you can chat for ages and catch up properly.
Someone who you could ring in tears and cry to but also someone you can ring when you’ve had too many to drink and talk nonsense to!
My best friend Julie who I have known since school is just that, when I was at university she endured many a drunken phone call from me!
Julie has always also been there when I have had relationship problems and needed a listening ear.
She was the first person I told after my family when I found out I was pregnant and she is Ben’s Godmother. Julie is a friend for life but she also knows that we all need other friends too.
I know she will understand completely when I say that there have been times when despite her amazing friendship and having other friends too I still sometimes feel lonely.