Two months ago I wrote about the power of connection with others and its value in living a good life. But what happens when you lose close friends later in life when it’s harder to meet new people? Friend dating, as Lindsay Kavet, one of the Friendship Dialogues storytellers, realized, can be essential to moving on after the loss of a lifelong best friend. In Lindsay’s case, her best friend of 11 years Polly Mae Tolonen died in a car accident in 2008.
Recently the Wall Street Journal ran an article called “The Science of Making Friends.” The author, Elizabeth Bernstein, noted that she’d been going on friend dates recently and offered some words of advice that I think are worth repeating.
First of all you can’t be casual about this, you need to go about finding new friends with intention. Bernstein says, “Just as you would when looking for a mate, you need to look for someone who has something in common with you, and who is emotionally available.”
Bernstein offers a number of nuggets of wisdom about finding a friend:
- Don’t expect too much too soon
- Look broadly
- Share something of yourself emotionally
- Follow your interests
- Be consistent
- Consider rekindling an old friendship
It’s been awhile since I’ve intentionally gone out to make new friends. It’s not easy to do this. Your circle of opportunity narrows as you get older and you are less likely to meet new people. So it may mean joining new groups with which you have shared interests. Sometimes it means working harder on relationships you already have, to deepen the ties.
Have you made new friends recently? What’s worked for you?