Good relationships are the cornerstone of a strong recovery and a happy life. Having people to confide in, listen to, support, and ask for help has been shown to reduce feelings of loneliness and depression, and even lead to a longer life. Feeling connected to others makes us happier and broadens our possibilities. Having more friends connects us to more career opportunities, more adventures, and more people. Building new relationships in addition to strengthening your old ones is one of the best things you can do for yourself this year. Here are some suggestions for how to do it.
Get to know friends of friends.
There’s no need to search far and wide for new friends; you can start where you are. Get to know your friends’ friends. Even if your friend group is fairly insular, your friends almost certainly know people you don’t. Suggest a party or group activity and invite some people outside of your regular crew. Most importantly, follow up when you meet someone new. Become Facebook friends or invite them to come next time you all get together. Then repeat the process.
Take a class.
You probably had no trouble making friends in high school or college. You spent all your time around people who were about your age, probably with similar backgrounds and similar interests. However, most people find it’s harder to make friends in the wild. One solution is recreate those conditions that made finding friends so easy by taking a class. However, this time, it can be whatever you want. Have you always wanted to learn to make Indian food? Take a class. Always wanted to try boxing? Take a class. You see the same people with similar interests once a week or more, which makes it easier to get to know people. As always, you might have to be the one to suggest getting coffee or lunch outside of class.
Go to meetups.
Check out meetups.com for your city to see if there’s anything you’re interested in. There are typically dozens of different meetups for a variety of interests such as cycling groups, book clubs, investment groups, and many things you would have never thought of. Try a few out and see how it goes. There are also other kinds of groups such as neighborhood organizations to improve your community, Toastmasters to improve your public speaking, church groups, and volunteer organizations. Service-oriented groups have the added advantage of improving your self-esteem and helping you feel more connected to your community.
Get to know your coworkers.
We typically relegate “work friends” to a lower circle of friendship, but there’s no good reason for that. The personas people show at work are usually just the tip of the iceberg. If you take the time to learn more about your colleagues, you might find you have a lot in common with some of them. Even if you don’t turn out to be best friends, putting forth a little effort will at least improve your working relationships and make your days go more smoothly.
Tree House Recovery is a men’s treatment program located in Portland, Oregon. Creating sustainable recovery through sustainable change, our programs help men learn how to live sober with adventurous lives. Call us today for information: (503) 850-2474