Sunday, April 08, 2007

 

How And Why To Find New Friends

Copyright 2007 by Donovan Baldwin

If you are someone wishing you could find new friends, I have some good news for you, even though the fact that you are reading this means that you might not agree with me.

There are millions of people who would really love to be your friend!

I am assuming that when I use the term "friend", we both understand that a wide range of relationships may be encompassed. You may find a thousand acquaintances, five hundred close acquaintances, one hundred friends, ten close friends and one love of your life. Or, you may find twenty acquaintances, fifteen close acquaintances, five friends, no close friends and no love of your life. The results will depend on time, the pool of contacts you are diving into, your particular goals, luck, and other factors often, at least momentarily, beyond your control...such as time and place.

Many people who are seeking friends actually limit their opportunities to come in contact with these people and join with them in friendship because they are not following one or more of the following tips.

1. Go where your new friends are to be found.

2. To find a friend, be a friend.

3. Friends keep in touch and show they care.

As you read the above, you will notice one common thread. All of those statements imply action or effort of some sort. How many of us in high school had the "friend" who never seemed to have many friends and often complained that..."nobody likes me"? Thinking back from a slightly more mature viewpoint, how many times do we realize how often that particular person never went anywhere, never did anything to be a part of the group, and often stood on the sidelines taking potshots at those who were having a good time with their friends?

I know that I personally fit into that category. I was in the U. S. Army before I realized that I wasn't "popular" in high school because I fit precisely into that category. I can see now how many times people tried to include me in their activities and circles as I wandered in and out of these events and passing relationships trying hard to show everybody that I was just fine without them!

However, this sort of behavior is not limited just to high school. Sadly, I saw my father follow this same path throughout most of his working life and into retirement (although he WAS careful not to mock other peoples' beliefs)...where he died several years before he should have in a state of self-imposed isolation with the belief that nobody liked him or cared if he lived or died.

Who needs friends?

Over the years, several studies have shown a strong correlation between one's length of life and level of health, and the structure of their social network, i.e. the friends and acquaintances with whom they remain actively linked. In fact, sites such as Dr. Thomas Perls' "Life Expectancy Calculator" (www.livingto100.com), are including questions about the size and strength of an individual's personal network of family and acquaintances as part of the process they use to estimate life expectancy.

Okay, so where are your friends to be found?

Well, that is one to answer for yourself. Many people try to find "friends" in bars. However, while chance encounters in alcoholically fueled environments certainly accounts for some true lasting friendships, genuine friendship is often better based on shared interests and activities. Getting smashed regularly might not be the best way to search for someone you can trust and rely on...no matter how much fun they are at the moment. If you are religious, go to church regularly. If you are athletic, join an exercise group or sign up for a gym membership. If you are a stamp collector, join a stamp collecting club. Even if you do not find someone within that group who really excites you, those people of similar tastes and life views may have friends who would love to have you as a new friend. The key here is to circulate, but circulate within spheres where you are likely to find people with similar (not necessarily the exact same) interests and attitudes.

Somebody has to take the first step.

If you meet someone that you would like to be friends with, that should mean that this potential relationship is valuable enough for you to invest a little personal effort. That person may be sitting at home wondering why YOU don't call! When I attended my 20th high school reunion, I learned of two girls who had once had crushes on me while I had sat at home never contacting them or anyone else because I was sure that they didn't like me!

Okay, so your feelings get hurt, or you find yourself with a friend that you wish you had never hooked up with. Well, there's not much I can tell you except that is a normal part of life and is likely to occur whether you are actively seeking friends or not. However, no matter how much it may hurt or upset you at the moment, it definitely does NOT define your worth or value, and it will fade in time unless you choose to keep it up front with genuinely important things.

Take the first step. It doesn't have to be a declaration of undying friendship or a date. Include the person in an activity that you think they might be interested in. Sometimes just the invitation is enough. Call or send a card on their birthday. Yes, make the effort to learn their birthday. If you are in a used book store, just go whole hog and spend the $2.99 to pick up a used copy of the book they said they wanted to read. Even if they have bought the book new in the meantime, the thought will be important to them. If not, they probably are not someone you would want for a friend anyway.

Do not let true friends "fall by the wayside".

"No man is an Island", said John Donne. When we let friends drift away, we are allowing a part of our "island" of self to erode. True, not every friend or acquaintance is going to maintain the same level of importance in our lives as we and they change, move, ripen, or sour. However, it doesn't hurt to drop a line, an email, or to make a quick phone call just to keep in touch. Their friendship was valuable to us at one time and will probably retain a value throughout our lives, You never know when the guy you used to go on business trips with turns out to be the one who shows up to help you through a particularly difficult period in your life.

I don't know about you, but simply from a selfish point of view, better health and a longer, more enjoyable life are good enough reasons for me to go out and make some new friends or renew old friendships.

Donovan Baldwin is a Texas writer and a University of West Florida alumnus. He is a member of Mensa and is retired from the U. S. Army after 21 years of service. In his career, he has held many managerial and supervisory positions. However, his main pleasures have long been writing, nature, and fitness. In the last few years, he has been able to combine these pleasures by writing poetry and articles on subjects such as yoga, writing, nature, animals, the environment, global warming, happiness, self improvement, health, fitness, and weight loss. He has collected several of his articles on health, fitness, diet, and weight loss at http://nodiet4me.com/articledirectory/ .

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Donovan_Baldwin

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Comments:
A great article and one everone should read.

I would like to send this to my
friends and others. It is copywrited. May I have permission to use this article - given you credit for writing it, of course.
dwhite7777@msn.com - Don
 
A great article and one everyone should read. May I have permission to use this article, given you credit for writing it, of course. Thanks, - Don White


don@retirementrescue911.com
 
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