Admit that you are lonely
Self-awareness is the first step. Have you got so used to a limited social life and a lack of local friends, that you stop noticing how lonely you are? Pay attention to the signs of social disconnection: Are telesales the only people who call you in the evenings?
Is watching Coronation Street or Eastenders the highlight of your week? Have you stopped cooking meals because it’s so much trouble for “only one?” Whatever your loneliness indicators, recognise that loneliness is not a character flaw — it could be nature’s way of telling you to go out and make new friends!
Decide what kind of friend you want to be
The most important ingredient you bring to a relationship is yourself. What kind of energy and commitment are you willing to put out there in your search for connections? Make a decision that you will be someone who is worth having as a friend. That way your energy, honesty, and caring personality will draw people to you when you meet.
Reflect on the qualities you are looking for in a friend
Even though you don’t have enough or any friends at the moment, this is no time to lower your standards. In fact, the more conscious you are about what kind of friends you want to have, the more likely you’ll find people who meet your needs.
Are you looking for someone who enjoys some of the same activities you do and has something in common you can both talk about? Shares your political or religious beliefs? Doesn’t complain excessively about physical symptoms or family problems? Has a similar standard of living? Likes to listen as much as they talk? Bear this in mind when you take step 4.
Become a joiner
This is not easy because so many of us are shy about joining groups. Try a strategy of saying ‘yes that would be lovely’ to any invitation you receive just to get involved. Join a scrabble club, a singing group, and a meditation group, take up any invitations of new neighbours. Become involved into the local community.
Accept your qualms about groups and join some anyway. It’s really the only efficient way to meet kindred spirits. View it as a necessary evil. And choose only those groups devoted to activities or causes that you are passionate about. Focus on how you can contribute to a worthy cause, and you’ll lose your self-consciousness about being a newcomer on the block.
Many of us are intimidated by the prospect of having people to our homes, especially people we don’t know all that well. So challenge yourself to dust off that old recipe book, and host a dinner party for a few people you hardly know. There is nothing like home-cooked food to help people feel welcome and connected.
By inviting a small number of new acquaintances, you won’t have to worry about keeping the conversation going all by yourself — your other guests can help you. The important thing is to break out of your social shell and take those first steps to forming new friendships.
If you would like more help with finding and making new friends and companions the latest in the Mature Guide series from Mature Times will give you more ideas and suggestions.
You can order your copy by either sending a cheque payable to Mature Times for £9.95 or call 01934 864410 to pay by debit or credit card.