Studies have found that having friends is one of the most important contributions to having a happy and healthy life. Forming friendships isn’t difficult, but it does take some effort.

Friendships Come in All Shapes and Sizes

Some friends we know from childhood are with us our entire lives. Others come into our lives for a short time, and our lives are enhanced. With some friends, we feel close right away, and we’re are able to share intense experiences soon after we meet. Other friendships develop slowly, perhaps over years.

Some people we keep close contact with frequently. Other friends drift in and out of our lives. I have a friend who I met when I was pregnant with my daughter 30 years ago. We saw each other off and on over the years, losing track of each other, then seeing each other in front of a health food store or crossing the street downtown. Now we’ve vowed not to lose track of each other again. We have each other’s phone numbers and e-mail addresses, and it’s easy to stay in touch.

The more you see a person on a regular basis, the more likely a friendship will flower. You can see someone at the same café, bump into them at the gym, or share the same class with them over a semester. You start with a simple “hi,” move to short conversation and then to longer and more intimate ones.

You’re also more likely to form a friendship with someone who lives nearby. Being physically close can make a big difference. If the person is open and friendly and enjoys talking, developing a friendship may happen quickly.

There is a greater chance of becoming friends if you share the same interests, beliefs and values. Although you don’t have to agree on everything, if you look at the world in the same way, this is an excellent basis for friendship. You may have similar jobs, family situations, education, ages, spiritual beliefs, or economic status. If their personality is like yours, all the better!

Where to Meet People Who Can Be Your Friends

There are many, many places where you can find people to start a friendship with. Look around you and see if any of your neighbors are similar to you. It can be your neighbor in the next apartment or someone down the street who likes to do what you do. Start a conversation and see where it leads.

What about making contact with people from your past? You can call an old school chum and find out what they’re doing now. You can e-mail each other or, if you live close by, call them and have lunch to catch up. Sometimes this can lead to a closer relationship.

You may find an interesting friend at work, someone who shares your interests or who you enjoy spending time with. During breaks and lunchtime, you can discover if there is any connection. If you ask them to go to a movie or attend an event with you, you’ll see if you have fun together.

Of course, if you’re taking a class, you already know you have something in common. Talking during a break or after class will help you know whether or not you want to make a deeper connection.

One of the best ways to meet people like yourself is to be involved in activities you’re interested in. It can be a hobby that you’re gaining knowledge about, a physical activity that you enjoy doing, learning a new skill, a lecture you’re attending about a topic you’re passionate about, or volunteering for a cause that you feel strongly about. You can look for one-time events such as lectures, home shows, concerts, tournaments, or sports events. Or you can look for something more long-term such as political activist meetings, book clubs, meditation groups, yoga classes, or religious services.

When you’re attracted to something, others who are similar to you will find you interesting. You can exchange stories and experiences and even create new ways to do things together.

Exercise

At least once today, compliment a friend on their appearance, their smile, or a decision they have made. Not only will they appreciate your compliment, you will feel good for having enhanced their day.

Author's Bio: 

Vivian Harte is the co-author of Self-Esteem for Dummies in the Dummies series. She has helped over 12,000 people learn and use assertiveness skills during the last 14 years. She teaches online classes on assertiveness, self-confidence, and teamwork. She has a Bachelors degree in Sociology and a Masters degree in Public Administration. She taught college classes for many years in Tucson, Arizona. She has two grown children who are both successful. She lives in Tucson with her husband, three dogs and two cats.

She offers kits with articles, guided visualizations, and songs as well as online courses, group coaching and 1-on-1 coaching, and you can find out more about these at her website, self-esteem-for-me.com. Discover how to improve your relationships by downloading her free kit Create Self-Confidence in Relationships.