When adulting and friendship collide...

Do you remember how you met your very first friend?

If you’re like me, you probably don’t. They somehow were always there.

Always at the playground or in the neighborhood. Always at your house or on your team. Always in your class or on your bus.

As kids, making friends just kind of happened. Common bonds were made over two tiny data points: age and geographical location.

As I entered middle school and high school, friends became more complicated. Age and location were no longer solid criteria to build a friendship around. But rather, shared interests and personalities (in my case, collecting baseball cards and endearingly awkward) built friendship bonds.

In college, the sheer nature of the experience was enough to bring people together. The college campus was a sea of strangers displaced from their homes who were excited to make friends. Friendships were made over shared academic interests, dorm assignments, and the newfound freedom college provided.

In each of these situations, one thing was true. Making friends was easy. At every stage — from childhood to college — friendships just happened without much effort. The lack of true responsibility, when paired with built-in communities, makes living in communion with others carefree and simple.

But then, you know what happens. Life does.

After college, I headed out into the big wide world with my beautiful wife excited to experience adulthood to its fullest.

But with move after move from continent to continent, I realized something. Building friendships is hard. It takes work. It doesn’t just happen. It is the result of consistent, intentional effort on the part of both people.

And you know what? I’m not alone.

This week we will talk a little about why it’s so difficult to make friends later in life, but more importantly, we’ll learn what we can do about it so our networks continue to grow and thrive (even without a common playground to gather in).


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Do you remember how you met your very first friend?

If you’re like me, you probably don’t. They somehow were always there.

Always at the playground or in the neighborhood. Always at your house or on your team. Always in your class or on your bus.

As kids, making friends just kind of happened. Common bonds were made over two tiny data points: age and geographical location.

As I entered middle school and high school, friends became more complicated. Age and location were no longer solid criteria to build a friendship around. But rather, shared interests and personalities (in my case, collecting baseball cards and endearingly awkward) built friendship bonds.

In college, the sheer nature of the experience was enough to bring people together. The college campus was a sea of strangers displaced from their homes who were excited to make friends. Friendships were made over shared academic interests, dorm assignments, and the newfound freedom college provided.

In each of these situations, one thing was true. Making friends was easy. At every stage — from childhood to college — friendships just happened without much effort. The lack of true responsibility, when paired with built-in communities, makes living in communion with others carefree and simple.

But then, you know what happens. Life does.

After college, I headed out into the big wide world with my beautiful wife excited to experience adulthood to its fullest.

But with move after move from continent to continent, I realized something. Building friendships is hard. It takes work. It doesn’t just happen. It is the result of consistent, intentional effort on the part of both people.

And you know what? I’m not alone.

This week we will talk a little about why it’s so difficult to make friends later in life, but more importantly, we’ll learn what we can do about it so our networks continue to grow and thrive (even without a common playground to gather in).


Dare to reach out your hand into the darkness, to pull another hand into the light.
— Norm Rice

BE THE CHANGE

At Contact Mapping, we aren’t about the simple handshake and kind, “Hello! Nice to meet you.” 

We built our entire app around a proven philosophy, system, and mindset that goes beyond the common courtesies to building deeper bonds. We want people to feel like they belong and are significant to us — not that they’re just a number in our phone. 

To make someone feel significant and give them a space in your life and in your heart, it means listening well and following-up often. 

So whether you are friend-filled or friendless, the suggestions I’m offering today are for you. These small, tangible actions — when used in conjunction with your Contact Mapping app — will leave a lasting impact on the people you meet and the networks you build. 

In this article by Vox, the author suggest 5 tips to making and maintaining friendships as you get older.

  1. Don’t accept the status quo. When it comes to making friends, be intentional. Let the other person know how you feel about them and be clear about your intentions for following up.

    Don’t just say, “It was nice meeting you.” Instead, make it evident you’d like to see them again, “It was great meeting you, would you like to grab coffee next week?” If they’re not interested, they’ll let you know, but make sure YOU don’t miss the opportunity to build a potential friendship.
     

  2. Be authentic and personal. Don’t be afraid to share your true feelings, real problems, and genuine emotions.

    Instead of meeting at a coffee shop, invite someone to your home. Offer to pick them up in your car. Give someone a personalized gift — something you know they’d like. When people can get a glimpse into your authentic and real life, it will be easier to connect.
     

  3. Be ok with saying no. Prioritizing is important. If everyone is important to you, then no one is truly important...You know what I mean? It’s ok to say no or just keep someone as an acquaintance.

    The author, Jackie Luo says, “It’s not a kindness to ‘perform’ friendship without genuine support and commitment when both of you have limited time to spend. Instead of saying you’ll grab lunch and then canceling yet again, you can just part ways and make friends who are better suited to each of you.” 
     

  4. Reciprocate, reciprocate, reciprocate. If you’re always waiting for the other friend to initiate conversation, change your habits.

    Use your Contact Mapping App to set your follow-up — and with your personalized notes, you’ll make every conversation more personalized and meaningful.
     

  5. Show up. If you’re someone looking for friends, this is 100% the most important thing you can do. Sometimes showing up means being physically present, but other times, it means providing a listening ear.

    Luo says, “There will always be reasons to not be there, but if you keep choosing other commitments over a friendship, that’s a signal to that person. Friendships aren’t static. They require work from both people.”

In short, the only way to turn the tides of loneliness is to be a better friend to those around us and make a conscious decision to connect with others (in person whenever possible). Our mission at Contact Mapping has never been more important for our communities and our world.

Will you join us?