How to Make Friends

Good friendships improve all aspects of your life, providing comfort and joy, strengthening your health, providing companionship, and preventing loneliness and isolation. As we age, many of us struggle to make new friends or maintain old friendships. Work, family, and other commitments can all get in the way. While making and keeping friends requires effort, it's an investment that will make your life richer and more pleasurable. Whatever your age or circumstances, it's never too late to make new friends or reconnect with old ones.

What is a friend?

Simply, a friend is someone you care about who also cares about you. Technology may have shifted the definition of friend in recent years, but having hundreds of online friends is not the same as having a friend you can connect and be with in person. Technology can facilitate social opportunities by helping you reconnect with old friends, start new relationships with people around the world who share similar interests, and maintain relationships with friends who don't live nearby. However, online friends can't hug you when a crisis hits, visit you when you're sick, or celebrate a happy occasion with you after work.

Friends vs. acquaintances or online friends

Sometimes it can be difficult to differentiate between real friends and mere acquaintances::
  • An acquaintance is someone you exchange small talk with as you go about your day, trade jokes or insights with online, or chat about sports with in a bar. While most of these relationships will never progress beyond an acquaintance level, with effort, real friendships can blossom from online contacts, people you meet on social media sites, or from neighborhood or work acquaintances.
  • A friend is someone who shares a deeper level of interaction or communication with you; he or she is someone you can really connect with, face-to-face. A friend is someone you feel comfortable sharing your feelings with, someone who'll listen to you without judging you or telling you how you should think or feel. As friendship works both ways, a friend is also someone you feel comfortable supporting and accepting, and someone with whom you share a bond of trust and loyalty. Read more...

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