As we get older, it's harder to find new friends, as we are no longer in school and exposed to new people every day. That being said, just because you're unhappy with your usual weekend plans doesn't mean your stuck, and there are a number of habits you can adopt to help improve your social life. It's never too late to start meeting new people and doing interesting things, and you'll likely see your life improve for the better.
"Fear of rejection stops a lot of people from developing a social life," says relationship expert April Masini over email. "They fear that they won’t be wanted or desired and that their romantic feelings won’t be returned in kind. Additionally, lack of creativity is often a barrier for people who get stuck in social lives they’d rather change. They just don’t know how to get out of their ruts."
Research from Eurostat shows that frequent social interaction is linked with improved quality of life, so improve your social life will not only bring some more fun until your days, but it can help your overall health as well. If you want to improve your relationships and become more involved in activities, try adopting these 11 habits that can improve your social life.
1. Reaching Out
Sometimes, it's all about putting in the effort. "Many great friendships are lost because you waited too long to contact the other person," says psychotherapist Matt Traube over email. "When that happens, many feel like too much time has gone by and you missed the opportunity to stay in touch. It’s important to remember that it is never too late."
2. Saying Yes To Plans
A huge part of having a good social life is saying yes to plans, even if they don't always seem ideal at first. "Accept invitations to social activities including friends gathering for dinner, a hike, movie, day at the beach, or picnic," says psychotherapist Dr. Fran Walfish over email. "You might be surprised at how much you enjoy them, and people are more likely to frequently extend an invite if you commonly say yes.
3. Working On Eliminating Anxiety
"Anticipatory anxiety can prevent someone from improving their social life even before they get out of the door," says Traube. "If this happens, try writing your initial thoughts down on a piece of paper. Wait 30 minutes and re-evaluate your initial thoughts and write out a few other possible scenarios that might happen. For instance, someone thinks you are enjoyable to be around or even shares the same fear of being negatively judged by others."
4. Not Worrying About Rejection
Fear of rejection is what prevents people from reaching out to new friends or spending time with different people, but getting over this fear can expand your social circle. "I often tell people that even if the worst case scenario occurs and someone decides they don’t want to be friends with you, you are right back where you started," says Traube. Nothing really changed. Now if that person or group of people enjoys your company, well that’s significant progress. Sometimes it can be less pressure socially when you feel like you have nothing to lose."
5. Looking For Things You Have In Common
People who have similar interests tend to do things together. Take a dance class if you like to dance or spend time in bookstores or joining book clubs if you like to read. "The trick is to push yourself out of the door so you can find out that you have more in common with others than you think," says Traube.
6. Becoming Friends With Your Calendar
Your calendar is important for not only remembering when you have plans with someone so you don't flake, but also for scheduling and managing plans in advance. "Scheduling get togethers is crucial to having a vibrant social life," says Masini. You can’t just try to remember dates. You really have to keep a diligent record of who you’re seeing when, where and for how long, on your calendar."
7. Taking Advantage Of Holidays
It's easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of our everyday lives, and it can seem impossible to do so much socializing when we have work and other obligations to balance. This makes the holidays and days off a great time to see friends or host a party. "The holidays aren’t just traditions or days off from work and school," says Masini. "They’re social opportunities."
8. Minding Your Manners
Being polite and following basic manners can go a long way. "Invitations, timely responses, and thank you notes are all tools to maintaining and growing your social life," says Masini. "People tend to flock towards those with good manners."
9. Being A Good Guest
"People want to invite great guests to their events," says Masini. "You can be the one who gets the invitation every time by being friendly, funny, and socially independent enough not to be the wall flower who is hostess-needy." If you are invited to someone's house or apartment, show appreciation and offer to help.
10. Living An Interesting Life
"This may sound kind of ridiculous, but it’s not," says Masini. "The truth is, people like to have interesting folks in their social circle." Plus, the more activities you're involved in, the more people you'll end up meeting.
11. Ask For Help
Ask your friends or family to introduce you to people, and if you feel like you're struggling overall, get professional help. "Reach out for help to a counselor or therapist, if needed," says Walfish. "There's no shame in asking for guidance when each of us feels temporarily lost on the long and winding path of life."
The more you put yourself out there, the more people you'll meet, but it's also important to know the right social skills to help you get along with others.
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