Ep 22. 5 Secrets to Making Friends as an Adult

I'm Ashley!

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Do you ever wish that your life was like that super famous TV show that we all know and love, Friends? Where your friends just came over unannounced, they felt comfortable eating out of your fridge, and they were always there for you no matter what. I want to share with you five secrets to making friends as an adult and how to go deeper with those friendships.

I’ve been exactly where you might be, feeling you just want a best friend that you can fully trust and share your life with. You want that friend who you can invite over at any time or that they invite themselves over and they’re comfortable enough to just give it to you straight. They’re comfortable to be at home with you in your home, and your family is like their family. So, let’s get right into the five secrets I have for you today.

Secret # 1: Focus on Quality over Quantity

Like I just mentioned, it’s so easy for us to have a lot of acquaintances; a ton of people that we know of, but we don’t truly know them on a deeper level. Now it’s important to note, that we tend to become like the people we hang out with. So, I want you to really think about what kind of influence do you want in your life. Think about the kind of people that you want to be surrounded with.
This might be someone that’s further along in business than you. Someone that has a characteristic that you love that you want to improve on. Finding someone who is going to help you become a better person, those are the kinds of people that you should be looking for. Now I want you to be thinking about focusing on just nurturing a few really meaningful relationships. I think too often we try to have too many friends, and then we wonder why we can never go deep with them, because we just are trying to manage so many different friendships.
Now finding good friends is kind of like finding a spouse. You have to date a few people before you really know who you want to go deeper with. Now, I want you to think about the friends that you already have. Maybe there are a few friends that come to mind that you wish you were closer with. Start with those people, get to know them on a deeper level. But for those of you that don’t really feel like you have any friends that you want to go deeper with. I want you to start thinking about who might be someone you want to surround yourself with.

Secret # 2: Friendships Start with Awkward Moments

So that leads me to secret number two, every friendship starts with some awkward moments. Putting yourself out there can be extremely difficult, especially if you are an introvert and you tend to be shy. Or maybe you have a really hard time just striking up conversation with a random person. If that’s you, I want to let you know that there are so many other people that can relate to this. I personally am an extrovert; I can strike up a conversation with anyone and I can talk to just about anyone about anything.

Now this is partly my personality, but also partly a learned skill. Striking up a conversation can be extremely nerve wracking and it can be awkward. But what I like to do, is just get the awkwardness out of the way. Now, what comes to mind right now is a networking event. I go to networking events by myself sometimes, and you might be thinking, Oh my gosh, that’s great incredibly scary. But the reason why I do this is because it challenges me, to step outside of my comfort zone and to make new friends and meet new people.

Now, one of the opening lines that I typically use, when I will walk into a crowd is, I’ll just say something like, hey guys, do you mind if I hang out with you? I came alone and I’m just looking for some really cool people, and you looked like a great group of girls. Do you mind if I hang out with you? Do you really think that anyone’s going to say no to me? And you guys might be thinking like, oh my gosh, I can’t believe how bold she is! That is bold, but it is something that I have practiced and something that I have just had to get better at. Because I know that it’s a muscle, this is something that I want to get better at. So, practice some of those conversations starters.
Now you might be thinking, okay that is a little too extreme for me. I want to just start small with like a one on one conversation, and that’s a great place to start. Be thinking, the next time that you come across someone that you’re like, oh my gosh, I jive with this person! Maybe you can see yourselves being really great friends or your kids get along really well. I want you to be thinking about what your next step is going to be. I think a really easy way to get to know people is to just set up a coffee date. Now right now during COVID-19 it’s a little bit harder to do that, but you can set up a virtual coffee date. Say something like, Hey, I would love to grab coffee and get to know more about you and what you do. This is a great segue into just getting to know someone a little bit better.

Now, since we are living in the digital world and a lot of us are on Instagram, another really great way to initiate a conversation is to do a voice memo. So, if you find someone on Instagram that you really want to get to know better, shoot them a voice message and just let them know that you found their feed. You love what they’re doing, and you would love to learn more about them. This is a really easy way to just start up a conversation and get to know new people.

Another thing to keep in mind is when you are out at a play date, or maybe it’s just playing at the park. And your kid seems to get along with another kid really well, and you’re like, oh my gosh, they could be best friends! Don’t be embarrassed to go strike up a conversation with the mom and say something like, Hey, I’ve noticed our kids are really getting along. We should get them together again sometime. Do you have an Instagram or Facebook? I would love to connect with you over there.

It’s a little bit less intimidating to ask someone for their Facebook and Instagram handle instead of just being like, Hey, can I grab your number? I’ve done that before too, but here’s the thing that I want you to remember, is that the other mom was probably thinking the same exact thing. She was just too shy and too embarrassed to make that first move. Now I want you to remember, that if you want to create meaningful friendships and you want to have friends that are like minded, sometimes you need to just get past that awkwardness, push past the embarrassing moments and just go for it. Because the worst thing that could happen is, they could give you a fake number. I mean, when has that ever happened in real life? Maybe, but I honestly believe that if you step outside of your comfort zone and ask someone, they’re not going to reject you. So just give it a try and then send me a DM and let me know how it works.

I want you to think about if you’re shy and you have a hard time coming up with what to talk about. So maybe you’ve initiated this friendship, maybe they’ve agreed to the virtual coffee date. Maybe you’re going to go over to their house because your kids really get along. Whatever it is, if you tend to have a hard time kind of coming up with what to talk about, lead with that. Share that with them say, Hey, I’m a little nervous because I have a hard time coming up with conversation starters. Just saying that out loud breaks the ice. And they might be like Oh my gosh, I’m the same way.

I think it’s even okay to have a little list of things to talk about or questions that you want to ask. Even though it might feel embarrassing to you, I think it is so helpful to just put it out on the table and say this is what I struggle with. Because honestly, at the end of the day, don’t you want a friend that is comfortable with who you are? And cares about you and accepts you for who you are? And if you are an awkward person, then putting that out there upfront is just getting you that much closer to a deeper friendship.

Secret # 3: Put in the Effort and Be Intentional

Okay, let’s chat about secret number three. You have to actually put in effort and be intentional. And sometimes that looks like taking the first step; don’t be afraid to initiate. I think it’s so interesting that a lot of my friendships are like text friendships. We are acquaintances and we are friends and we text a lot or frequently or often. But then when I think about how many times have, we had a phone conversation, it’s crazy to me how little for action that we have had on the phone. So, I encourage you, if you have a friend that you want to go deeper with, get on the phone with them. I can’t tell you how much closer I feel to people after hanging up the phone with them.
Let me give you a perfect example; I have a neighbor who I haven’t really had a good opportunity of connecting with. We’ve texted a few times, we’ve seen each other in person, our kids were on the same soccer team. She is a great person, but I haven’t really had a chance to get to know her very well. We haven’t had a face to face hangout before, but the other day I messaged her because I was looking for a babysitter for my kids, and we had a mutual friend.

And so, I was like, Hey, this girl is one of your friends, and she said that she was available to babysit my kids. Can you tell me about her? And this was all via text. So, she went ahead and instead of texting me back, she called me, and she was like, Hey, I’m making dinner, it’s easier for me to just talk on the phone. And we had a 30-minute conversation and I got to know her on such a deeper level. She asked me questions about what my job was, and we really just bonded over a phone call that was really semi-related to my texts, but it went deeper.

So, this is something that I want you to think about, get on the phone with someone you can go so deep by just having a conversation and you do not have to be in person to initiate this. Now with COVID-19, it has been so hard for all of us to meet in person. So, another idea is to go so on a virtual call and just reach out to all those friends that you haven’t seen in a while and have a phone call with them. You will instantly feel more closer and connected.

Now, one of the tips I have for you, is every time you hang out with this person, remember we’re going for quality over quantity. So, you’re going to pick one or two friends to really dive deep with. Now, every time you hang out with this person, or every time you have a conversation with this person, before you hang up or before you leave plan another time to connect. As mompreneurs, as moms in general, we just get really busy, it’s not that we don’t crave the connection. It’s not that we don’t want to have deeper friendships, it’s that we just get so distracted by all day to day activities and all the things vying for our attention that we just forget to reach back out to our friends.

I want you to try that, set up a date before you leave and make it a priority to keep fostering that relationship. Set aside the time to actually get together and then make this a priority. It’s like a house plant that you never water; it’s not going to grow and flourish if you don’t give it what it needs. And that is exactly what a friendship is, you have to pour into the friendship if you want it to flourish and grow deep roots.

Secret # 4: Don’t Give Up Easily when Someone doesn’t Reciprocate

Now, secret number four is, do not get it give up easily when someone doesn’t reciprocate right away. And this is my biggest pitfall, this is where I fall flat because I have initiated so many friendships in the past that never flourished. And it felt super disheartening, and I felt like there was something wrong with me. I was really bitter and resentful towards friends for not putting in the effort that I was putting in. Then, a really good friend of mine pointed out one time that, in order to foster a friendship, you really have to let people know what you need. And you can’t expect people to know what you need if it hasn’t been communicated.

And so that really kind of bugged me at first and kind of made me mad. But then the more that I thought about it, I was like, you know what she is, right. I can’t put my hope in these people to be what I need them to be, if I haven’t initiated that. If I haven’t let them know that that’s what I need from them, it’s not fair to put that on them. I kind of had just, not given up, but I had just decided that I needed a break from trying to pour into all these relationships. And then one day it kind of just fell in my lap and someone reached out to me, and they were like, Hey, I would love to go get to know you a little better.

And this is somebody that I really didn’t even know, barely knew. We were just kind of friends on Instagram and I was like, okay, this is a little bit awkward. This is kind of interesting that she would reach out to me, but she saw something in me that she was connected with. She was drawn to me and wanted to get to know me more. And so, I encourage you when you feel that nudge and you feel that Itching in your heart to reach out to someone, try it. Reach out to them, see if there is a reciprocated friendship there. And I am so 150% glad that she reached out to me, because she is now one of my bestest closest friends that I have ever had in my whole life.

She is the friend that I have prayed for, for so long. The friend that I have tried to be to so many people and it’s incredible. She reciprocates, she reaches out, she tells me what she needs, she asks me what I need. It is exactly the friendship that I have always wanted. So, I want you to remember, that sometimes it’s going to take a little bit of time for you, for the other person to reciprocate, and let me give you another example. So, there was this friend that I had a long time ago and I was just text friends with her. But she would start to call me, she started calling me every week and then it became every day.

And we talked on the phone all the time and she was such a close friend. But she did all of the initiation at the beginning and then I finally was like, you know what? She is so sweet; she always reaches out to me to see how I’m doing and how my day is. So, it might just take some time for you to be that initiator before someone starts reciprocating. However, on this same note, I want to also give you permission that if you have been reaching out and reaching out over and over again, and that person just isn’t reciprocating ever at all, it’s okay sometimes to let that go.

It’s okay to decide, you know what, I want this friendship more than they do. And it’s okay to try something else, it’s okay to move on to another friend. Now that doesn’t mean to just drop them as a friend completely, but at some point, if they are never returning your calls and they’re never returning your text messages, then it might just not be the right time. They might just not be that forever friend that you’re looking for.

Secret # 5: Be Willing to Get Vulnerable

So now let’s chat about secret number five. That is in order to create that life changing friendship that you have always been looking for, you have to be willing to get vulnerable. Now I think that this is really hard for some people, they want to chat about the really surface level things. They want a shopping buddy or someone to just share their day with. But if you really want to go deeper, and you really want a lasting friendship, that kind of friendship in the show Friends, where they just know everything about each other, and they just care deeply for one another.

And they have that fun really bonding relationship that we all want, where our friends just pop over whenever and we’re okay with it, and they’re okay with it. And we eat dinner and we go on vacation together and our kids grow up together and we plan their arranged marriage. You have to be willing to have those really intimate, vulnerable conversations. It has to go deeper than what’s your favorite show on Netflix. And this again, it just takes time, it takes being in real life together, it takes sharing those moments of weakness.

It takes celebrating those wins when your friend wins and being happy for them, instead of being jealous. This is all going to take time. So now if you are thinking right now, yes that all sounds great, but I just haven’t found that person. I don’t know who would want to be my friend. I don’t know who I want to be friends with. Or I have a really complicated life. I have a really complicated past; nobody ever wants to get into that with me. I want you to know that there is someone out there. There are multiple people out there that want to be your friend, and that are waiting for you to take that first step.

I created The Purpose Gathering community just for that, I was craving community. Friends who understood what it was like to be a mom and a business owner. I wanted someone who could sit with me and chat business. Someone who could talk about being a Christian and the morals and the values that I have. Somebody who could lift me up when I was feeling sad and when I was down on myself. They would tell it to me straight, and they would give me encouragement and they would pray for me. And I found that friend and that friend was through this community.

And so, I encourage you if you are not in our online Facebook group called The Purpose Gathering Mamas, get plugged in there. Make a Friend wanted Listing. I know it sounds funny, but did you know that there is an app called Bumble for friendship? And you just literally swipe through, until you find someone that you want to be friends with. I think it’s hilarious and I tried it, but I never actually reached out to anybody, but it was funny. But that could be what we do in The Purpose Gathering. I really want to foster friendships, I want you guys to be able to plug into this community and find people.
So, go in that group, make a listing that says, Hey, this is who I am, and this is who I’m looking for. If this sounds like you, let’s be friends! Put yourself out there, get outside of your comfort zone. Do it! I promise you, there are people who want to be your friend. So, if you’re not a part of that community, I encourage you to go join right now, it’s totally free. Head to thepurposegathering.com/mamas, that’s M-A-M-A-S and go take that first step. Step outside of your comfort zone, do it! I dare you! And I can’t wait for you to be connected with someone.

So just to recap, the five secrets:

  1. Focus on quality over quantity.
  2. Every friendship starts with awkward moments.
  3. You have to actually put in the effort and be intentional.
  4. Don’t give up easily when someone doesn’t reciprocate right away.
  5. In order to create those life changing friendships, you have to be willing to get vulnerable.

I hope that you found this encouraging and that you learned a few things. Maybe you feel inspired to go out and reach out to some of those friends that you want to be connected with on a deeper level. Maybe it’s going to give you the courage to step out and be bold, when you see someone that you want to connect with. Maybe your next step is going to be to hop into that Facebook group and put up your listing, your wanted ad, your personal ad.
But whatever step you’re going to take, I encourage you to just do something. Take action, you’re not going to be able to change overnight, but just take that first step.

Mompreneur article about making friends as an adult

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My mission is to help fellow momtogs (mama photographers!) experience success in business and in motherhood. As an Arizona brand photographer for mompreneurs, I’m passionate about capturing authentic images that show off my clients’ unique personalities so they can connect with their ideal clients. And as an online business coach for momtogs, I LIVE for helping mamas experience incredible transformations that help them build a business they love, without sacrificing their precious time with their littles.

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