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The First Steps to Making New Friends

So you are new to town or you just started college or maybe you’ve just decided it is time to step out of your comfort zone and meet your neighbors. At different seasons in our lives, we will have to repeat the steps of making new friends. I wish the process got easier over time, but from my experience, that isn’t the case. So…what do we do? We roll up our sleeves and initiate conversation that could turn into an agreed upon “hangout” that could turn into a real friendship. Here are my three simple steps to making new friends.

SAY HELLO

If you see a potential new friend– maybe your kids go to the same daycare, maybe you both are signed up for the same gym class or maybe your co-worker likes to eat at the same place as you–make the first move and introduce yourself. If this seems really scary, just pick a compliment. “I like your sunglasses. Where did you get yours?” “I noticed you have the best snacks for your kids. Where could I find healthy snacks like that?”

My real life example: We moved into a new neighborhood a year ago and I had kept my eye out for families with small kids. After I collected my neighborhood data, I wrote notes with my contact information and went door-to-door asking the moms if they would be interested in a play date.

MAKE A PLAN

Don’t just mention you are going to hang out later. Get contact info! Whip out your digital calendar and plan a day and time you want to connect. Don’t miss this step. If you don’t make a plan, you probably are never going to get an opportunity to connect.

You can’t go deep in a few 5 minute conversations as you walk to your cars.

My real life example: A girl stopped me one day after a gym weight-lifting class. She noticed my t-shirt which happened to have our church logo on it. She said she attended the same church and said, “see ya around sometime.” Well, that wasn’t enough. The next time I saw her at the gym I asked for her number so we could text to go on a walk or meet to exercise on the ellipticals together…I mean exercise is way more fun with a friend.

STICK TO YOUR PLANS

The last step seems simple but is probably the hardest. We find so many excuses to not follow through with our social plans. So, don’t let your laziness, fear or apathy get in the way to making friends this time! Show up, be early and be excited about getting to know someone else’s story. And if it goes well, make plans right then for the next hangout.

My real life example: I schedule coffee dates with friends and when it is time to go I feel too tired or unmotivated. It’s not that I don’t want to be their friend but we aren’t “really” friends yet and my couch is calling me. But, about five minutes before I need to leave, I linger with my phone in one hand and my car keys in the other. Do I text and just say “maybe another time” or do I get in my car and go. Every single time I choose to spend time with a friend, it is worth it. I am happy I went. I feel alive after a good conversation. And I know that we talked about things we really needed someone to hear, nod and say “me too.”

Sisterfriend, you got this! I have made friends in all sorts of environments like on a walk in my neighborhood or saying hello to the girl sitting next to me in church….ya just never know. And if you say something embarrassing the first time or you feel awkward about reaching out to someone just remember your confidence is in Christ and he will give you the energy and boldness you need on this friendship-making journey.

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15 Comments

  • Reply Edna Davidsen

    Hi Bailey!

    Just wanted to give you blog a visit before I clock out of office for today.

    I have moved a lot in my life so that blog post about making new friends was interesting for me to read. What I learned from your blog post is that it basically boils down to just beginning a conversation 🙂

    Thank you for what you bring to the table in the Christian online community.

    God bless, Edna Davidsen

    Friday, May 18, 2018 at 1:28pm
  • Reply Lynn

    I think women have it down with small talk, even if it’s just commenting on another gals purse! You think it would be easier to make new connections for this reason! But our insecurities can get in the way, and our time. These are all great tips on taking those steps for building new connections and friendships. Thanks!

    Friday, May 18, 2018 at 7:43am
    • Reply Bailey

      That is so true! We do have to get to the second phase of actually making friends

      Monday, May 21, 2018 at 1:50pm
      • Reply Bailey

        I bet you would have a lot of pointers. I’ve only moved three times in my life but being an only child, I felt like I had to learn to make friends quickly just by going into classrooms by myself, camp or any other social activity.

        Monday, May 21, 2018 at 1:52pm
  • Reply Lisa Quintana

    Friends are a gift from God! Thanks for the tips on how to make more of them. Bless you! Lisa Q

    Thursday, May 17, 2018 at 6:05pm
    • Reply Bailey

      thanks, Lisa!

      Monday, May 21, 2018 at 1:54pm
  • Reply Emily | To Unearth

    Love this! It’s hard to make that first move sometimes, but God has been blessing me lately with new friends, and I’m understand more and more the importance of each point you made here!

    Thursday, May 17, 2018 at 8:05am
  • Reply Karen Friday

    Great tips, Bailey. Sometimes we make plans for everything but making friends. We’re in the ministry and one time on a move to a new church and town I had this experience. A lady approached me at church and asked if we needed anything. At first, I told her no, that we were fine. Then the Lord nudged my spirit and I turned around and said, “I could use a friend.” It was honest and vulnerable. And we became friends. 🙂

    Thursday, May 17, 2018 at 7:16am
    • Reply Bailey

      Karen, that’s a really sweet story! Way to be bold!

      Thursday, May 17, 2018 at 8:05am
  • Reply Melissa Henderson

    We never know when an opportunity will present itself. Showing God’s love to others is a blessing. 🙂

    Wednesday, May 16, 2018 at 5:04pm
    • Reply Bailey

      Yes! Being friendly is always a good opportunity to show God’s love!

      Wednesday, May 16, 2018 at 9:14pm
  • Reply Nancy E. Head

    A friend must show himself (herself) friendly. Great suggestions here. God bless!

    Wednesday, May 16, 2018 at 5:03pm
    • Reply Bailey

      thanks Nancy

      Wednesday, May 16, 2018 at 9:14pm
  • Reply Yvonne

    In our world of electronics, I think this will help remind people how to connect

    Wednesday, May 16, 2018 at 2:41pm
    • Reply Bailey

      Face to face is best!

      Wednesday, May 16, 2018 at 2:53pm

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