Forming meaningful friendships is incredibly important for our social and mental health. Meaningful friendships provide us with a means to communicate our feelings and give and receive emotional support, as well as contribute to our happiness. 

Good friendships also make life more enjoyable, and establishing a healthy social life can lead to an array of benefits for our wellbeing, including an enhanced ability to recover from serious illnesses. And, according to many international research papers, having strong friendships can help us live longer! Researchers writing for the renowned journal PLoS Medicine even go so far as to say that not having enough friendships has a mortality risk comparable to that of smoking 15 cigarettes a day! So, believe us when we say that friendships can improve our mental and physical health and overall life satisfaction just as much as they can boost our social health. 

But, as adults,  it can be a little tricky to juggle work, family, exercise, relationships, and household chores, as well as keep in touch with friends and meet new people. What’s more, making friends seemed so easy when we were younger, but can be a tad more challenging now that we’re grown up. If you can relate to any of this, stress not! We’re here to give you three handy tips for forging lasting friendships as adults!

#1. Be Open to New People and Experiences

One of the reasons it can be difficult to meet new people as we get older is that we can get increasingly relaxed in our comfort zones and be hesitant to try new things. So, a great way to find new friendships and experiences is by looking outward. This could involve interacting with our coworkers in other daily situations, like going for lunch, or meeting them in our downtime for social activities, such as catching a movie, or getting a coffee. It could also involve spending more time doing things we wouldn’t normally do. Certain sports or leisure activities like swimming or gaming can be a great start. Joining clubs is also a great way to get out of our bubbles and make new friends! It’s all about taking little steps out of our social ruts. We never know what’s just around the corner!

#2. Consider Your Current Social Network

Another great way to expand our social networks is by looking at the friends we already have. It can be daunting to look outward and try to meet new people, but if we look at the people who are already part of our lives, we may find that they have other social networks that we could join. If you have a friend who often spends time with their work colleagues, there’s nothing wrong with asking to tag along and getting to know some of those people yourself! Plus, if a friend likes another group of people, there’s a high chance you’ll get on with them too!

#3. Communicate Effectively

Sometimes the barrier that stops us from making and maintaining friendships is our inability to communicate. We can practice active listening and really learn about the people around us, and we can also try to be more open and honest with the people already in our lives. This leads back to examining our current networks. If we feel like we don’t have many social connections, the perfect thing to do is to share this with the friends we do have: We may just find ourselves invited to more social occasions, getting the opportunity to expand our networks in the process!

Making friendships that last and have a positive impact on our lives can take time, patience, and effort, but being honest about our feelings and needs can help us find our genuine “ride or die” buddies!

Remember: Holistic wellness starts at home! Follow Holisticly’s guide to creating meaningful relationships today, and explore the rewards of cultivating deep connections with your loved ones.