Have you ever heard of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator®? It is a personality test developed to make sense of the personality types described by Carl Jung, the father of analytical psychology. When I take the test, my result is INFP. That means that I am Introverted, iNtuitive, Feeling, and Perceiving.
What does this have to do with making new friends? INFPs are likely to have few friends, but the friends they do have are probably going to be friends for life. In my own experiences, I can see this through my friendship with my best friend, D. We have been friends for 17 years, and I would do anything for her. Throughout grade school, she was one of the only friends I had. I had acquaintances with whom I was pretty close but few friends that I still talk to today. An INFP wants to have a mutual understanding, but social situations quickly become tiring for us. This makes it tough to spend enough time with people to get that deep understanding that we want so much. We are great at reading other people’s feelings, but we don’t often let people in on our own. So, it can be tough to open up and let people become my friend.
I was really scared to move right after N and I got married, and not knowing anyone up here was a big reason. I knew how hard it can be for me to make new friends. If you know me, you might be thinking, “You talk to everyone. How in the world is it hard for you to make friends?” You’re right; I do talk to everyone. I often find myself apologizing to my husband, N, because I make simple errands take much longer than necessary by talking with random people along the way. (He says he loves that about me.) But, these conversations are often with complete strangers who I will likely never see again, and they are surface conversations. That kind of interaction does not lead to friendship without additional effort.
Find Friends at Church
Church is a great place to find new friends. When you walk into church, you know that you have something in common with every person there. It is easier to build friendships with people when you have a common interest.
Our first Sunday at church, I made an effort to find a few people to talk to. This was not too hard for me; I am good at surface conversations, remember? I was able to talk with two or three women in our ward, and I really liked them. It was a good start.
Set Up Social Activities
A new friendship needs an environment in which to grow. Think about organizing a game night or a potluck. These are great social activities to invite potential new friends to. These activities allow more time to get to know people, it is a fun place to let your guard down, and there are more people there which means you don’t feel obligated to be really interesting the whole time.
After our first Sunday, I had the idea that we could all get together once a week for a family home evening. For us, family home evening (FHE) is a time each week when a family gathers to have a spiritual lesson and spend time together. As newlyweds without children, this can become repetitive, and it is hard to do sometimes. I wanted to get a group of couples together to keep FHE more interesting. I knew this could be a fun idea and lead to some great friendships, but I was scared to put myself out there like that. I turned to N for his input, and he gave me the reassurance that I needed. Our FHE group was born!
Serve the People Around You
Service is a great way to meet new people and cultivate relationships with people you already know. Service does not have to be an entire day of back-breaking work. It can be something as simple as bringing cookies to a friend or helping someone unload their groceries.
On that first Sunday, N and I decided to bake rolls for a few couples we met at church that day. We got home and got down the mixer. N pulled out his family’s roll recipe, and we started baking. As we were making the rolls, white smoke started to seep out of the back of our brand new KitchenAid mixer. I was freaking out! Did we break it already?! N turned off the mixer and let it cool down. We did some research and realized that the batch of bread we were making was too much for our little mixer to handle. Lesson learned. Luckily the mixer is fine, and we still use it on a regular basis. That day, we were able to finish the rolls and deliver them to our neighbors and the two couples we met at church. They were so grateful, and our friendship has grown since then. N and I enjoyed this so much that we baked rolls and delivered them to two or three couples each Sunday until it got too hot to bake for the rest of the summer. We have met so many people this way. What service would you enjoy doing?
Talk to People at Work
Work can sometimes be monotonous. I have found that talking with my coworkers and getting to know them helps me enjoy work more. You might even make some new friends. But what if I work from home? Consider your neighborhood your office! Get out and talk to the people around you. I realize this is not possible for everyone, and that is why it is just one of several suggestions in this post.
The first couple of months we were here, I was working two jobs. It was rough! I found myself looking at the clock and wondering how it had only been 5 minutes since I last checked. Talking to the people around me was a good way to make the time more enjoyable and, in turn, pass faster. Now, I would not consider most of my coworkers my friends, but the potential is there for a friendship to develop.
Get Out of the House
It is difficult to meet people sitting in your house all day. You might say, “But Courtney, I can meet people online.” This is true, but it is hard to go to the beach with your internet friends. There is something wonderful about having friends outside of the internet.
N and I like to go on walks in the morning. This has been a good way for us to get some exercise, but it is also a good way to meet new people. The other day, we were finishing up our walk, and we walked past a woman setting up a yard sale. We quickly crossed the street and offered to help. She was so grateful for the help, and we, in turn, learned more about a family in our neighborhood and made a new acquaintance. Without leaving the house, we would never have met her.
There are so many ways to make new friends. These are just some things that I have found helpful in our move. What are some things you do to make friends? I would love to hear your ideas and stories.