Hello there! Ever noticed how tricky it can be to make friends as we age?
If you’re open to shaking things up a bit and ditching some old habits, there’s no reason you can’t keep adding to your friend circle, regardless of your age.
In this article, we’re going to discuss 10 habits you need to wave goodbye to if you want to keep making new friends.
Let’s jump right in.
1) Being overly critical
We’ve all had that friend who finds something wrong with everything.
It’s exhausting, right?
As we grow older, people are less likely to put up with this kind of negativity. Everyone has their own struggles and the last thing they need is someone constantly criticizing them. If you find yourself often pointing out others’ faults, it’s time to take a step back.
Try focusing on the positives instead. Not only will it make you more pleasant to be around, but it will also make you feel better about yourself and the world around you.
Remember, no one is perfect. So embrace people with their flaws and you’ll find more people wanting to be your friend.
2) Staying stuck in the past
Do you find yourself constantly reminiscing about the “good old days”?
While it’s great to have fond memories, constantly living in the past can hinder your ability to make new friends.
People typically gravitate towards those who are present and engaged in their current life. If you’re always talking about your past, it can come across as though you’re not interested in what’s happening now.
Try to stay open and curious about the present moment and the people within it. This will make you more relatable and approachable, which are key attributes when it comes to making new friends.
3) Not making time
Let me share a personal experience with you.
A few years back, I was juggling a demanding job, family responsibilities, and trying to maintain a social life. I noticed that my circle of friends was shrinking. Why? Simply because I wasn’t making time for them.
I’d always say things like, “I’m too busy” or “I’ll call you next week,” but next week rarely came. Eventually, I realized that friendships, like plants, need watering. If we don’t invest time and energy into them, they will wither away.
I decided to make a change. I started scheduling ‘friend time’ into my week – even if it was just a quick phone call or a coffee catch-up. The result? My relationships flourished.
If you’re serious about making more friends as you grow older, ensure you are dedicating enough time to nurture these relationships. Trust me, it’s worth it!
4) Ignoring the power of listening
Did you know that according to a study published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, people who listen more are actually more likable? Yes, you read it right.
Being a good listener is an essential trait for building strong and long-lasting friendships. People love to feel heard and understood. If you’re always the one doing the talking, it can make others feel like their thoughts and feelings are being overlooked.
Next time you’re in a conversation, try to focus on listening more than speaking. Show genuine interest in what the other person is saying. This small tweak in your communication style can make a massive difference in how people perceive you and how willing they are to form a friendship with you.
5) Forgetting to show appreciation
In the hustle and bustle of life, we often forget to show appreciation for the people around us. This small, yet significant, gesture can make a world of difference in any relationship.
Think about it. When you feel appreciated, you feel seen, valued, and loved. It strengthens the bond between you and the person showing appreciation. It’s a warm and comforting feeling that we all crave.
Don’t underestimate the power of a simple ‘thank you’ or ‘I appreciate you’. These words can bring a smile to someone’s face and brighten up their day. Take a moment now to think about the people in your life. Send them a message of appreciation. It could be just what they need to hear today.
The more love and gratitude you spread around, the more likely it is that new friends will gravitate towards your positive energy.
6) Not being open to new experiences
I’ll admit, I used to be someone who preferred staying in my comfort zone. It was safe, predictable, and well, comfortable. But then I noticed that I was missing out on meeting new people and forming potential friendships.
One day, I decided to step outside of my comfort zone. I signed up for a cooking class, something I’d always been interested in but never got around to doing. And guess what? Not only did I learn how to make a killer lasagna, but I also met some amazing people who are now dear friends.
The takeaway here? Get out there and try something new. Join a club, sign up for a class, or attend that social event you’ve been invited to. Embrace the opportunity to meet different people and see where it leads. You might be pleasantly surprised!
7) Keeping up a facade
Let’s get real for a moment. We’ve all done it—put on a mask, played a part, tried to be someone we’re not, just to fit in. Here’s the raw truth: it’s exhausting and it’s not doing you any favors when it comes to making genuine friendships.
People are drawn to authenticity. They appreciate it when you’re real with them, when you show your true colors, warts and all. It creates a sense of trust and closeness that forms the foundation of any strong friendship.
Yes, you might fear judgment or rejection if you let your true self shine. But those who can’t accept you for who you are, aren’t the kind of friends you’d want to have anyway.
Rip off that mask, let your guard down and just be yourself. It’s the most liberating thing you can do and it will attract the right kind of people into your life—the ones who appreciate and love the real you.
8) Failing to follow up
Here’s an interesting fact: according to a study conducted by the University of Kansas, it takes about 50 hours of time spent together for a mere acquaintance to become a casual friend. If you want someone to become a true friend, the study suggests that it takes about 200 hours.
What does this mean? Simply put, one-time interactions or occasional meetings aren’t likely to morph into deep friendships.
Whether it’s sending them a text after meeting, arranging another catch-up, or even just commenting on their social media post, these small actions show that you’re interested in building a friendship. So don’t hesitate to reach out and follow up. It can definitely help turn those acquaintances into true friends.
9) Being too self-centered
I remember a time in my life when I was consumed with my own world. My problems, my achievements, my life. I’d always steer the conversation back to me, barely leaving any room for others to share their own stories.
Over time, I noticed that people started pulling away. I felt confused and hurt until a good friend finally had the courage to tell me, “You always make it about you.” It was a bitter pill to swallow but one that I needed.
I began to realize that friendship is a two-way street. It’s about sharing and caring for one another’s experiences, not just your own.
The moment I started showing genuine interest in others’ lives and stopped making every conversation about me, my relationships started to improve significantly.
10) Constant complaining
Let’s get brutally honest here. No one likes a Debbie Downer.
If you’re constantly complaining about everything under the sun, it’s going to push people away. Sure, we all have bad days, and it’s healthy to vent to friends every now and then. But if your conversations are perpetually filled with negativity, it can be draining for the people around you.
The world is filled with enough challenges; most people are looking for uplifting interactions that make them feel good. Try to keep the complaining to a minimum. Find the silver linings. Be someone who can find joy even in the small things. You’ll be surprised how this change can attract more people towards you.
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