A recent survey conducted by Evite concluded that adults find it difficult to make new friends. In fact, the survey indicated that the average American adult hasn’t made a new friend in five years! Evite reported that we have 16 friends: three for life, five we really like, and eight we like but don’t spend time with.
I know that my Dad wasn’t what Evite would term an “average American adult.” He made new friends everywhere he went. He remembered names and listenied to stories. He loaned money to struggling waitresses and offered sage advice to anyone who asked. I like to think I have followed my Dad’s example, so I guess I’m not an “average American adult” either. I have made many friends over the past five years, and no, I’m not counting Facebook friends. Although my Dad was much better at it, I make a sincere effort to remember names and listen to stories.
I think some of you might agree that this survey is pretty sketchy. If I decided to conduct my own survey, I’d start by asking what’s your definition of friendship? Not surprisingly, I think there would be many different answers. I believe we all have varying degrees of friendship; it’s not an absolute. People I consider to be friends run the gamut from those I see regularly at networking events to people I’d visit in the hospital. I have friends who are always welcome to spend the night in my home, and friends from my past with whom all we have is a shared history. I have friends who I stay in touch with regularly, and friends who I rarely see (but when I do, it’s like no time has passed). I have friends who accept me, and friends who make me laugh. I have friends who are smarter than me and friends who aren’t. I have friends of other races, religions, and political parties. I have friends who are gay, straight, and trans.
Maybe your role models were not like my Dad. Maybe your friendship scale is more in alignment with the Evite survey, which revealed that 45% of the adults surveyed find it difficult to make new friends. Their challenges include shyness, commitment to family, moving to a new city, and no hobbies that allow them to meet other people. Those same 45% also responded that they’d go out of their way to make new friends, if only they knew how.
I have a few ideas on how to go about making new friends. (I also have a few ideas about how to dump an old friend.) The method that works for me is face-to-face. Not Facebook.
Do you find it easy or difficult to make new friends? Have you made a new friend in the past five years? How do you define friendship? Do you have 16 friends along the lines of the Evite survey? More? Less? What are your tips for making new friends?
Please share your thoughts. There are no wrong answers here, and I appreciate your input.