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It’s bloody hard making new friends

It's bloody hard making new friends

I’m sure you would all agree of the importance of having friends – they provide a good support system and are generally key to having a social life.

It’s bloody hard making new friends as we get older, throw in loosing some along the way, people are settled with their existing friendship groups, we are busy, we don’t feel like going out because we are dealing with some grief, our availability is every second weekend, we could be working longer hours and have less money.

Although I saw the value in friendships, I found the lack of money one of biggest roadblock in finding new friends as I believed it costs money to be social.  The end of the week would arrive and I needed to watch my money.  I didn’t have any single dad friends,  the people I knew were either single or in a relationship.  Both of theses groups had more money and didn’t need to worry about budgeting, it felt like they could live life a little easier, and in some ways they could.

If someone asked me out I had to sometimes say “sorry I already have plans” to save the embarrassment of letting them know that I was financially challenged, however sometimes I just didn’t feel like I would be fun to be around.  So I could end up spending a lot of time on my own.  I would occupy myself by going for walks, bike ride, hanging out and reading the weekend papers in the local cafe, an afternoon movie, run, or just be at home watching TV.  I’m sure this is common amongst other men who are separated!

It was just easier to say I had things on! This worked at least once a fortnight as then I had my children every other weekend.  So my availability would come around infrequently and possibly i would go out every 5-6 weeks.  Not a lot of time to work on friendships.

This can impact in many ways:

  1. It reduces the fun times in your life
  2. You laugh less
  3. Prevents the development of new friendships
  4. Reduced availability to talk and chat
  5. People start to call less often
  6. Difficulty in planning ahead
  7. Becomes the norm instead of a one time event
  8. You do a lot of reflecting
  9. Become introverted
  10. It can make you miserable
  11. There is little distraction from loneliness

If you’re finding it tough, don’t despair, below are a few ideas to implement and help you cheer up!

  • Be kind to yourself:  Exercise regularly. It’s healthy and cleanses your mind.  Exercise and other healthy activities will take away the loneliness, releases endorphins and make you feel better about yourself. Being healthy will not only improve your internal disposition, but it will improve your fitness level.  Go outside, take a walk or just enjoy the sun and fresh air for a few minutes everyday.
  • Find a hobby:  It can be listening to music, reading literature, or even brushing up on your computer skills. Talents are also things that social networks can be built around.  Join a club or guild devoted to what you are interested in or good at.
  • Be your own best friend: Be good to yourself and treat yourself with a lot of respect and kindness.  It’s easy to be negative towards yourself when you have no one around you.  However, it’s very important that you don’t develop overly negative feelings towards yourself, creating low self esteem.  That said, no one likes an egomaniac, so be sure to keep your feelings in check.
  • See the advantages of having no friends: It’s a mistake to think having no friends isn’t normal just because thats what society tells you.  Stop believing society.  Having friends can get you to grow dependent of others, which can be considered a weakness.  A strong mind can save itself and you’re now able to have one. Realize that you’re among the stronger ones if you can make it through life without friends all the time.
  • Write letters:  Write to your relatives (even your kids) or you can find a pen pal.  Writing a letter to someone will help you get through tough times and stay in touch with the positive in your life.  Treat them as you would wish to be treated and you’ll find yourself coming a long way.
  • Try To Develop Friendships. Spend time around people doing things you enjoy:  If you’ve taken up a sport or hobby, go to club events, sporting meet-ups and competitions.  Engage with people at these events to make connections.  Take it slowly if you’re hesitant, but allow yourself to connect and potentially click with people who like the same things that you do.
  • Go online and look for like-minded people:  Even if you don’t find friends in real life in any hurry, you can find many people online who share your thoughts, ideas and dreams about many things. You can develop very close and take things at your own pace with the ability to withdraw whenever you need to.  Online friendships are not as intimate as those in real life and usually won’t solve loneliness completely, but are nonetheless a good way to feel connected and pass time.
  • Volunteer:  Doing things that benefit your neighbourhood like community service projects are a great way to meet people. Helping the less fortunate also allows you to step out of yourself and put things into perspective.  Being part of something bigger than your self is good for the soul. Check out GoVolunteer
  • Try to make friends with an animal: You can go to your local animal shelter and buy a dog or cat. Often, pets can act as a nexus of socialisation.  Having a pet gives you an excuse to get outside and talk to other pet owners that you meet on the streets or in the park.
  • Take a chance:  Socialising can be extremely difficult, and even the most social butterfly will find themselves in awkward situations regularly.  To properly socialise, you must be willing to go out on a limb and take a risk.  If you talk to the popular crowd at their table and they insult you, walk away and praise yourself for stepping into that lion’s den.  If you ask someone out and get rejected, praise yourself for having the bravery to admit your feelings.
  • Develop a Positive Outlook:  Look on the bright side of life. It might be hard at first, but there’s always good around you. It’s easy to see all the bad things in the world, and to always be negative.  Be thankful for something in the moment like the sunshine or your health.
  • Stop hating:  If you are anti-this or anti-that, figure out why you’re so against it. If you explore things that you are against, you might find good in them – and if not, you will know your enemy better. Someone who is full of hatred, but cannot say why is often viewed as irrational and unpleasant by the people around them.
  • Explore whether or not you may have a deeper problem:  Excessively negative feelings might be the result of an earlier trauma. An inability to socialise properly might indicate an inherent emotional imbalance or a form of depression.  Remember your doctor or a psychologist in your area are always great people to talk too.

I would like to acknowledge and thank all the authors that contributed to these tips at Wikihow.