For 20 years, I went to the same church and lived in the same town. I knew everybody and everybody knew me. People would sometimes say that getting to know people was hard and I would be confused because I had never known that to be true. But one day all that changed. About 5 years ago, my husband and I moved from one end of the country to the other. We had no choice but to start all over and make new friends. I discovered that making friends at a new church can be hard. My husband and I have worked at making friends and can now say that we have many close friends.
I discovered that making new friends as adults can be hard. My husband and I have worked at making friends and can now say that we have many close friends.
If you are new in town or at a school or church and have not made friends yet, here are 10 tips to help you make new friends.
I mainly focus on making friends at church, but these tips can be used in any setting.
Proverbs is a book of wisdom. In it, we find the secret to making friends,
Proverbs 18:24 a NKJV says: “A man who has friends must himself be friendly…”
To make friends, one must be friendly. It might sound simple, but one way to be friendly is to say hello.
At church, there are many opportunities to say hello. This might be during the service where you are asked to turn around and greet each other, or it might be before or after the service. When trying to make friends saying hello is the first step.
The church we go to has about 400 people. It’s hard to get to know everybody. In the first year of going there, my husband and I decided to sit in a different spot every week and to try to say hello and meet as many people as we could. Now, we recognise and know many people in our church.
Make the first step:
Churches are usually friendly but sometimes people are busy and don’t notice new people. Instead of waiting for people to greet you and invite you to events I suggest that you make the first step. You find people to say hi to and introduce yourself. If you wait for people to invite you to events it might be months before you get to know people.
Start with people in your demographics
When we first moved to our new city I was 7 months pregnant and had a 3-year-old. The first place I made friends was in the nursery taking care of my baby. The church we go to has many people in the same stage as we were in and it was an easy way to relate.
Friendship usually starts over a shared experience. Bonding over children, work or your stage will help you connect to people quickly.
Go to events
Most churches have events going on throughout the week. One way to get to know people is to pick some events and go to them regularly. Just by going people will start recognising your face and will greet you and want to get to know you. Some of these events may be bible studies or children’s programs. If your church does not have any events, maybe they need you to plan one.
Sharing a meal has a great way of bringing people together. One way to get to know people better is by having people over for a meal.
My husband and I would open the church directory and pick a family or person to invite over for a meal. Over the years, we have had many people over. Some of these people have turned into close friends.
The first hello and interaction are the easiest. It’s the follow-up that can be hard. If you suggest to somebody that you want to hang out…. follow through and make the plans. Take out your phone and choose a date that works best for you. There have been too many times where somebody has said: let’s do coffee, and then they never actually make the plans. Be a person of your word and follow through.
Make the effort and stay in touch
Life can get busy. One of the first things that go when having young children is friend time. So I know how hard it is to juggle kids, husband, church, work and friendship. But friends are the people who keep us sane, and honest. So, it’s important to take time and keep the friendship going.
If there is somebody that you want to spend time with no they have not contacted you, then you make the effort.
In high school no university, this was the part I struggled with the most. I still do. For some reason, picking up the phone is scary to me. I was lonely and wanted friendship but did not know how to reach out. Since the idea of calling people scared me, I spent many lonely nights in my basement.
Now, calling still scares me, but I know that making plans is better than waiting. Maybe your friend is lonely too and can’t seem to pick up the phone. You never know who you are saving from a night alone at home.
Maybe you go to a church that does not have anybody your age. If that is the case, don’t neglect people who are not your age or in your stage.
Titus 2:3-5 NKJV says: “the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things— that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed.”
How can any of this happen if we only make friends with people our age? It’s important to branch out and get to know people of all ages.
In university, my mother started a weekly seniors lunch. I would go every week to help out. It was the highlight of my week and I got to know many of the elderly people in our church. I counted many of them as close friends.
Don’t give up
My husband and I reached out to a few people we thought would be close friends. But due to busy lives and schedule conflicts, some of those friendships never went any further. It’s not that those people were not nice or not willing, but they were already living a full life and at the time and did not have time to commit to more.
Instead of being hurt and shutting down, we moved on. My husband and I just found other people to reach out to and tried again.
Friendship comes with trial and error. It might not happen right away or with the first people that you get to know. But if you keep trying eventually you will find the type of friendships you are looking for.
Making deep and lasting friendships take time. It’s important to be realistic and to know that deep friendships take time and effort. They don’t happen overnight. If you take the time and effort to put yourself out there and keep working at it, you will find yourself with close friends soon enough.
The first year in the new area I said hi to a woman at a ladies retreat. She was nice and I liked her. A few months later, I found out she lived in my area. Through getting to know her at bible study, we started to meet during the week at the park, then at each other’s homes. Now, she is my closest friend. We did not start off as close friends, but With time and effort, she has become somebody I depend on for friendship.
I hope that by following these tips, you will be encouraged and will develop deep and lasting friendships.
How have you found your close friends?