Ask any individual who’s got them, friends, whether you live in Austin, Dallas, Houston or anywhere else in Texas, are good for you. They are good for health as well as for your life in general. The proof? During down times, friends are a source of comfort and strength. So it’s important to learn how to find and nurture friendships as well as to be a good friend.
Friends have the shoulders you lean on. They give you good advice. They comfort you during hard times and share in your laughter in the good times. Friendships provide all these advantages and more. Friends can boost your self-esteem, provide companionship and even help improve your mental and physical health.
It’s not always easy to make friends, especially when your life is hectic with work demands, family time or school. But friends are important for both men and women. Friendships can help you get through a divorce, a job loss or family death. Your friends may encourage you to change unhealthy lifestyle habits like excessive smoking or drinking. Friends are also there for you to celebrate the good times in your life — like a new baby, a new job, a new house.
Some people benefit from large groups of friends. Others prefer a smaller circle of friends and acquaintances. There are certain very close friends you rely on for personal conversations, and more casual ones for movies or general activities.
Many adults find it hard to develop new friendships or keep up existing ones. Friendships may take a back seat to your other priorities, such as long days on the job. Or maybe you’ve moved to a location and haven’t met too many people yet.
Here are some ways to find new friends:
– If you have a pet, take it outside for exercise. Many cities have popular dog parks. While you’re there, have a conversation with those who stop to talk or make pet play dates.
– Exercise yourself. Join a local gym, senior center or community fitness facility. Or start a walking clutch in your neighborhood.
– Share a meal. Invite a new friend out for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
– Accept invitations. When you get an invite to a party, dinner or social gathering, accept it. You can always leave if you get too uncomfortable.
– Become a volunteer. Hospitals, places of worship, museums, community centers and other organizations need volunteers. Working with people who share a mutual interest can often spark a friendship or two.
– Champion a cause. A group of people working toward a goal you believe in can also create new friendships.
– Get a hobby. Find individuals with similar interests, like auto racing, music, gardening, books or crafts.
– Hit the books again. Take a course to meet people with similar interests.
– Sit out on your porch. Front porches have always been social centers for the neighborhood. Sit out front with a cup of coffee or a good book. Make yourself visible, open and friendly.
Pat Carpenter writes for Precedent Insurance Company. Precedent puts a new spin on health insurance. Learn more at Precedent.com