When was the last time you made a new friend? Even if you’re already blessed with several good ones, it’s easy at a certain age to become complacent about starting new friendships. That’s often because our existing friends already know us—our favorite foods, books, places to eat, beliefs and so on. We don’t have to “work hard” to get them to like us—they already do.
But think about what your current friends have brought to your life: a friend from a different culture may have taught you to enjoy new foods or traditions; perhaps you learned to appreciate a different genre of books, music or movies based on their recommendations; you may have even expanded your political or religious beliefs, because of conversations you’ve had with them over the years. And the benefits of friendship don’t end there—according to Mayo Clinic, friendships can significantly impact health and wellbeing by increasing your sense of purpose/belonging, boosting happiness, reducing stress, helping you cope with life’s traumas and uncertainties as well as celebrate joyful occasions.
Just as it’s never too late to learn, it’s never too late to expand your community of friends. Keep an open-mind and chat up interesting people at the grocery store. Invite an existing friend to dinner and ask them to bring one of their friends or co-workers—someone of whom they have spoken highly. Join a new activity group and sit next to another person who’s there by themselves; ask them how long they’ve been interested in the activity and see where it goes.
Not every friend has to be a “best” friend who knows everything about you. At the same time, connecting with new people, even if the relationships are more casual, has the potential to enrich your life, your mind and your heart.
Happy National New Friends Day on October 19—from Insights.
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