As we get older, we realise that making friends isn’t as easy as it used to be. Long gone are the days of classroom friendships, next-door buddies, and “my mum made me hang out with you” BFFs. Combine our busy work schedules, gym sessions and flat-out disinterest in socialising with anyone other than our UberEats driver and, before we know it, we’re looking at hiring actors to fill our birthday party guest list. Not to fear though; here are our top tips on expanding your clique.
Dive into a new hobby
We all have pastimes we’d hypothetically like to pursue — learning a new instrument, studying a new language, golfing or painting. Well now’s your chance. Lessons in a newfound hobby provide the ultimate environment for friendships to blossom. Unless that hobby is playing the recorder, in which case, we suggest practicing at home, alone. (Or not at all.)
Become a ‘Yes’ man
Standing by the printer at work, the only co-worker who pays you any attention asks if you want to do something that night. You think about your upcoming plans — a night on the sofa watching old episodes of Cupcake Wars whilst eating leftovers — and before you know it, you’ve involuntarily admitted some completely fictitious plans. Tip: when somebody else makes an obvious step towards friendship, don’t say no — it may never happen again.
Butter them up
Because who doesn’t love a compliment? Remember to be genuine, say it with a smile and beware of the backhanded type (“Your outfit/hair/makeup looks so good today — I barely recognised you!”). Noticing something about someone, or asking them about something relevant on in their life will afford you a rewarding level of camaraderie.
Put yourself out there
Unless you strike up a conversation with the dust bunny that’s been lurking in the corner of your hardwood floor, it’s unlikely that you’ll find any new best friends in the comfort of your own home. Take a good book and head to the nearest cafe, or go for a drink and sit at the actual bar rather than the introvert haven of the booth — if nobody makes a move at least you can make friends with the bartender, he gets paid to speak to you.
Straight up bribery
We’re not talking about offering to pay your acquaintance’s rent for the next month, no, we’re talking the odd little gift or peace offering that makes somebody’s day; offering to pay for somebody’s coffee in a morning, giving your dog-eared copy of Eat, Pray, Love to the expat at work, bringing an extra bottle of wine to the next dinner party. Be careful not to overdo it though — you want a friend, not a restraining order.