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More friends

More friends

wellbeing

Solid friendships are good for you1 – right up there with eating your vegetables. But not everyone finds it easy to feel part of the community, so once you’ve got your squad together, why not reach out and help others connect, too?

1. Ask questions
Want to know a surefire way to gain meaningful friendships? Ask questions. Be a listener. A story is the shortest distance between two people and everyone has one to tell – even those who struggle with socialising. Be interested in everyone. Did an acquaintance go on a trip recently? What was the food like? Do they prefer solo travel or groups? Curiosity will lead to connections you may not have expected.

Lipton peach ice tea art work

2. Put out positive vibes
If someone is feeling discouraged, help them feel less negative by using your own attitude as an example. People are generally drawn to positive energy, and by focusing on what’s right instead of what’s wrong, you’ll be set up to grab every new opportunity in your path – and you can bring reluctant ‘would-be friends’ into the mix. Find at least five things to be grateful for every day, and connections are bound to happen.

3. Be open-minded
Sure, there’s a reason we’re drawn to people similar to ourselves. After all, it’s pretty easy to relate to someone who shares the same interests and outlook. But there’s a lot to be said for mixing it up. Get to know a diverse group of people – in age, background, personality and work – and your life will be enriched by it. It can be as simple as inviting someone from your evening gym class over for some Lipton Ice Tea and a chat.

4. Take initiative
Why not organise an event in your area? If you’ve found that a few of your neighbours like a certain kind of music organise a get together with some karaoke and tracks that they’d enjoy. Then invite everybody, including the awkward guy who can barely muster a hello. Share your favourite Lipton Ice Tea and some good music and he’ll be your bestie before you know it.

5. Open up your circle
If you’re a fan of picnics, next time make it more interesting and ask each person to bring someone you’ve never met. It could be anyone – a family member, a work colleague or a neighbour. Just don’t forget the Lipton Ice Tea. This approach could feel less intimidating for shy newbies.

6. Spread the word
Making friends in unexpected ways is infectious – let’s get as many people doing it as possible. If you’ve figured out how to make interesting new friends, chances are those around you will take note pretty quickly. Introduce them all to each other. Be an ambassador for opening up the circle. Pretty soon they’ll go out and do the same.

References:

'1'Holt-Lunstad J, Smith TB, Layton JB (2010) Social Relationships and Mortality Risk: A Meta-analytic Review. PLoS Med 7(7): e1000316. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1000316