Make 1 new friend a year?

Here’s some advice on building the sense of being connected socially.

• Washington Post > Advice > “Making new friends can be hard. Here are 5 ways to make 1 friend a year.” by Emma Nadler, psychotherapist and author (June 23, 2024) – Align with your interests; give attention; show care to others and yourself; take healthy risks; and seek a fresh perspective.

There are many people longing for closer relationships. A 2022 and 2023 Gallup survey found that less than half of U.S. adults reported feeling “very” connected to others.

Here are five ways to begin a new friendship. They are informed by my perspective as a practicing psychotherapist for over 15 years and my experiences as a caregiver who has struggled with seasons of isolation. What I have learned is that friendships are ever-changing, complex and worth the effort they require.

Key points (quoted)

  • Following your interests will likely make the process more enjoyable. Choose activities that convene consistently, as they offer more opportunities to develop a bond.
  • … deepen the [opener] conversation with a related follow-up question, which also demonstrates that you are listening [and curious].
  • One way to shift this dynamic [of fear and worry] is to focus on caring for others [imperfections and all].
  • People sometimes take an all-or-nothing approach to vulnerability with new friends, but small steps build trust most reliably. … Do you feel accepted? Do they empathize and offer something personal in return?
  • Talk with someone — a family member, a school counselor, a member of the clergy or a psychotherapist — about building friendships to gain a fresh perspective.

Related references

• CNBC > “Harvard happiness expert: There are 3 types of friendships – here’s why you need them all” by Renée Onque (Sep 4, 2023)