Throwing a spanner in the works, let’s say you move to a completely different country, or move city even, where do you make these life-long, stick-with-you-through-it-all mates?
A shoulder to cry on, a ball of laughs and crucially, someone who will listen to your venting and tell you to pull it together – getting great friends like this is hard once you’ve transitioned into full-blown adult mode.
It turns out that we not only want friends around for company, but a recent study from the University of Notre Dame concludes that having a close circle of friends actually benefits your health.
“What we found was the social network structure provides a significant improvement in predictability of wellness states of an individual using the data derived from wearables, like the number of steps or heart rate,” says Professor of Computer Science and Engineering at Notre Dame, Nitesh V. Chawla and Frank M. Freimann, Director of the Interdisciplinary Centre for Network Science and applications and a lead author of the study.
In a time where apps dominate our lives and effectively thwarts real life social connection, there are ways both online and offline to develop these friendships.
Become a member of a book club
Book clubs are all the rage. Oprah has one, so does Reese Witherspoon and remember that time Emma Watson left books hidden in London tube stations for Londoners to find – the thrill of it all. From the group ‘Women in their thirties who enjoy books with their wine’ with over 1,700 members to a classy affair in the group ‘Book Swap Brunch 20-30s’, this is the place to be.
Join a sports team
Whether you’re partial to a bit of netball, football or hockey, women’s sports is finally getting the respect it deserves. It could be a lowkey, local team that appeals the most, or maybe a thriving, competitive environment that you’re after, but being a part of a team comes with feeling solidarity with others, forming bonds and friendships with people that already have a common interest in the sport.
“These friendships will really grow as you all go through the peaks and troughs which come with competing in sport – we often bond in times of great excitement and great difficulty and being a sports team regularly brings both of these elements” says Dr Josephine Perry, sports psychologist at consultancy group Performance in Mind.
Join an app
It can sometimes feel as if our lives are spent on apps. Relaxation, news, and, of course, the occasional candy crush binge, there’s an app for pretty much everything. Dating apps seem the easiest ways to meet people, but there are now apps specifically made for making friends.
App Hey! Vina acts as a starting point for 20-35 year old women to meet like minded friends. “What we need even more ever is help with our platonic social networks. Finding friends through an app is all about efficiency. You can’t walk around the world and instantly know who lives near you or has similar interests, but with a friendship app, it can instantly let you see some of the story behind the cover” says founder of the app, Olivia June. Examples of groups include mums, students and of course, funemployed.
Coffee and Food Meet Ups
Agreeing to meet up with strangers over the internet is to be looked at with caution, however when there’s over 600 people in a coffee group on meetup.com, it’s hardly an intimate affair. Whether it’s discussing everyday topics or general life, the pleasantries of meeting new people over a coffee or some food is a great way to get to know others living locally or regionally.
Take a course
Learn a second language, or at least attempt and fail together or improve on cooking skills that have always been a bit rusty, taking a class can be a great way to learn new information and skills, but also pick up a friend in the making.