Author Topic: How to choose who will be your closest friends?  (Read 5125 times)

epower

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How to choose who will be your closest friends?
« on: December 13, 2016, 12:54:52 PM »
I have one close friend that I can confide in and ask the hard questions with. This friend helps when we move house and we go away on trips with. I'm close with my parents, my fiance and my sister also.

However, I want to get a few more close friends.

I've looked through all my friends on Facebook and I can't think of any of them that I would sit down with and share very personal information with, it is always on a superficial level. I wouldn't consider getting closer to any of these people because we get along well enough, but not really well to develop into a really close friendship.

Do I therefore, just go out and make new friends and see if they develop over time into really good friends?

All my really close friends I've met in university and stayed friends since (9-10 years and counting).

marty998

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Re: How to choose who will be your closest friends?
« Reply #1 on: December 13, 2016, 01:21:41 PM »
Probably not the best person to give advice. For a long time I didn't have "close" friends... only recently did I find someone who shared all the values I did and I could talk forever and a day with them.

Don't be afraid to be picky. If your going to share personal aspects of yourself you want to be able to trust them completely.

And then work at it. Talk/text/email/meet up whenever you can, at every opportunity. "Waiting and seeing" is only going to leave you in the "i've heard of this person" friend/acquaintance type bucket.

mbl

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Re: How to choose who will be your closest friends?
« Reply #2 on: December 14, 2016, 07:28:06 AM »
I would ask why would someone want to be your friend?

You sound like you're evaluating potential employees of a sort.

Any relationship is a give and take. 
Your considerations sound quite selfish.

Ask yourself what you have to offer first.

FIRE_at_45

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Re: How to choose who will be your closest friends?
« Reply #3 on: December 14, 2016, 07:42:29 AM »
I would ask why would someone want to be your friend?

You sound like you're evaluating potential employees of a sort.

Any relationship is a give and take. 
Your considerations sound quite selfish.

Ask yourself what you have to offer first.

That is strange.  I didn`t get that vibe at all.  Making real good close friends is difficult.  My closest friend lives thousands of miles away and we met in high school and have just remained close. 

I am not strong in this area either and I will follow for advice too. 

+1 to the advice above to make an effort to communicate regularly. 

Daleth

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Re: How to choose who will be your closest friends?
« Reply #4 on: December 14, 2016, 07:52:44 AM »
We're in a similar situation. We had two couples who were very close friends, but one moved away so locally we're back down to one. :(

Getting involved in activities where you could meet new people who share your values is never a bad idea. That said, I wouldn't dismiss your current facebook/social media friends or acquaintances out of hand. There have to be one or two who live in your town and seem at least slightly more intriguing or worthwhile or whatever than the others. Invite them out for coffee or to some event you think they might be interested in. If they don't have family in the area, maybe even invite them to your holiday meal, if it's likely to be fun (i.e., if your relatives or whoever else is coming are good company). Give them a chance. I've tried that and been very pleasantly surprised.

Fishindude

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Re: How to choose who will be your closest friends?
« Reply #5 on: December 14, 2016, 08:03:36 AM »
Making friends isn't a job interview where you evaluate their talents and qualities and then make a yes / no decision as to let them be your friend.
It's more of an evolutionary thing that develops over time.  You have common interests, good conversations, similar hobbies, work together, etc. and it just works out.  Thinking too much about it or complicating things is unnecessary.  It's a two way street too .... you have to be a friend to them.

Some you spend lots of time with, some you see less frequently, some you share lots of information with, some you limit the information with, some you don't want to spend extended periods with, etc., etc.   You can have friends at all levels, and a person can't have too many friends.  Read somewhere, that you are a lucky person if your number of real good friends is close to your number of fingers.  I'd say that is pretty accurate.

Nick_Miller

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Re: How to choose who will be your closest friends?
« Reply #6 on: December 14, 2016, 08:15:51 AM »
My advice is to go out there and be honest/clear with people about making new friends. Not enough people do that, especially as you slip into the "adult" age group without the built-in network of school to support your social life.

What I'm saying is, if you feel like you vibe with someone, go ahead and suggest doing something together! Don't be coy. Heck, I met a guy through work and we were both pretty clearly looking for new friends who shared our values. I think I said something like, "Hey it seems we have a lot of things in common. Let's hang out." He was looking for the same thing. It was really easy.  A lot of people are shy or just feel awkward basically telling another person "I want to be friends with you." Think about how big of a compliment that is to the other person.

swick

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Re: How to choose who will be your closest friends?
« Reply #7 on: December 14, 2016, 08:20:54 AM »
I went to summer camp - as an adult :)

Personality has a lot to play with the ability to make friends and connections. If you are an introvert it is harder. If you happen to live somewhere where you don't have a lot in common with other folks it can be hard too. If you happen to work from home, again, it's hard!

So I found out about a summer camp for Entrepreneurs. I sucked up my fears about being social and the time and expense to get to NY and I went.

The great thing about it is everyone was there for the same reason and have similar challenges. They all purposely chose to be there, everyone was looking to make connections and expand their community. So it's like you have 300-ish people who are pre-qualified as potential friends. By being there you know you have SOMETHING in common with them. Also, the organizers (who are introverts) have made a very intentional safe community for people to explore and play in.   Out of it, I gained a couple of friends for life, new business opportunities, new social friendships.

Same thing with Camp Mustache. The big problem seems to be finding the right gathering places and once you're there plucking up the courage to find people you have even more in common with.

While many consider Myers-Briggs, Enneagram and the like "junk" science I have found them helpful in understanding the types of people I would probably connect well with and so far it's been pretty spot on for me.

Also, in trying to gauge similarities around home, I usually will ask someone who I think might be a good possibility if they like board games. Their answer tell me a lot about them very quickly :)

mskyle

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Re: How to choose who will be your closest friends?
« Reply #8 on: December 14, 2016, 08:21:02 AM »
In my experience you don't actually get to "choose" who becomes your close friend, you just kind of "become" friends. Obviously you can choose who you actually spend time with, and you most likely *won't* become close friends with someone you don't commit to spending a lot of time with. But it's very hard to figure out who's going to be close friend material without just giving it a go.

For the vast majority of people it's just way harder to make friends once you are a grownup compared to making friends in university or before.

elaine amj

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Re: How to choose who will be your closest friends?
« Reply #9 on: December 14, 2016, 08:37:06 AM »
I'm good at making acquaintances, but not so good at developing deeper friendships. Thankfully, my husband is great at this and if I follow along, we make awesome couple friendships that I deeply treasure. As I grew older, I have been comfortable settling with the notion of a very few really close friends. The #1 thing I have found works is like many other posters say - to BE a friend. And yes, it takes effort on my part - shoot a text semi-regularly, invite them out for such and such, have them over for dinner, etc. The friend I am closest to now....we weren't that close for many years. When she went through a separation, I was there for her. Checking in regularly, dragging her out to do fun things, accepting when she would flake on me because some days getting out of bed was too hard, etc etc. We grew very close during the couple of years after her separation. She is an amazing person and I gained a wonderful friend.

When I was looking for friends, I would invite acquaintances I found interesting over for dinner. At one point, my husband and I committed to inviting someone over for dinner once a week. It was a lot of fun and really good for developing friendships. I was rather surprised at how receptive people were to dinner invites (although we did deal with several flakey no-shows). We always held our breath if the phone rang on the day of the dinner - since it would often be a last-minute cancellation. Regardless, we had a lot of fun doing it and enjoyed all the excuses to experiment with new dishes.

There's a few people I know that I would love to get to know better...sheer laziness on my part has really limited me. I should invite them for dinner or out to some event or whatever. Definitely something to consider in the New Year.

I do find building friendships to be an active thing on my part. Sometimes a close friend would fall into my lap....but most of the time, it takes active engagement from me to make the effort to invite them out to do something we mutually like, etc etc.

@swick The folks we have gotten along the best with all like board games although Mexican Train Dominoes is our game of choice :) While I didn't consciously choose friends this way, it does make a rather awesome filter!

swick

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Re: How to choose who will be your closest friends?
« Reply #10 on: December 14, 2016, 08:56:03 AM »

@swick The folks we have gotten along the best with all like board games although Mexican Train Dominoes is our game of choice :) While I didn't consciously choose friends this way, it does make a rather awesome filter!

It Does!

If people say "YES! We LOVE monoloply!" Probably not the people for us. - it has just happened this way. It's weird but been correct every time.

If people say "I haven't really played since I was a kid, but I'll try" Cool, we can work with that!

If people say "Games are dumb/for kids/a waste of time" then probably not going to be a good fit.

Next is to ask "What kind of games do you like"?

We find out if people like cooperative games, casual games, super hyper competitive games...it tells you a lot about their personality.

Having people over for games is a low-key, low obligation even that also lets you get to know people, how they think, how they communicate, how they work together (or don't), how creative they are.  Most of the couples we have become friends with, the friendships were forged over games.

GreenSheep

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Re: How to choose who will be your closest friends?
« Reply #11 on: December 14, 2016, 09:23:51 AM »
The games thing is weirdly true. I really hate board/card games (though I loved them as a kid), but I've found recently that if it's not a hypercompetitive game (or hypercompetitive group of people), it's a great excuse to just sit around and talk with friends. Usually the conversation becomes the main activity and the game is just sort of the reason to get everyone together, or the reason to stay after dinner. The game goes on, but it's a side event, and it's something to talk about when there's a lull in conversation.

It's sort of like the way I once heard someone describe hunting... Men will rarely say to each other, "Let's go walk through the woods and have a good heart to heart talk for several hours," but that's often what hunting becomes. (Or at least, so I hear. I am neither a man nor a hunter, but I do know several of them.)

As far as flakes are concerned, I have a theory that maybe some of you could confirm/deny. I grew up in a smallish town, and I now live in a huge city. It seems like there are a whole lot more flakes here than there were at home, and I think it might be because in a big city, there are always other potential friends, and the risk of running into the person you blew off is pretty low, assuming you don't work together. In a small town, there's a smaller pool of potential friends, and there's more of a chance that your circles of friends/family/acquaintances will overlap and your flakiness will become known. Or maybe it's just that times have changed. Or maybe it's just that I've changed, and I somehow attract flakes now!

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Re: How to choose who will be your closest friends?
« Reply #12 on: December 14, 2016, 09:35:57 AM »
I'm essentially close to two people in my life.  My wife, and my roommate from college.

I'm pretty introverted and don't share much personal details with other people in general.  For me to really get to know someone and become comfortable with them I've learned that living with them is really the only way I can develop that sort of relationship. 

I've also learned I am only really friends with extroverted people (spouse, best friend, essentially entire friend group).  I can't connect with other introverts, we just sit in silence.

catccc

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Re: How to choose who will be your closest friends?
« Reply #13 on: December 14, 2016, 12:20:38 PM »
I've gotten closer with some friends through a book club we started.  There's just 3 of us.  So I don't go to them to specifically to confide things, but over the course of a year's worth of book club meets, we've revealed quite a lot about ourselves, in a good way.  You talk about the book, but more than that, you talk about your POV and yourself in relation to the book/topic.  I would like to get to be even better friends with them, but we are all so busy it is rare we get together beyond book club.

My oldest friend (the friend I have been closest with the longest, not the oldest in age) I still see occasionally and I will confide in.  But we have grown apart in many ways as the years have passed.  I was appalled to find out about a year ago that we differed so greatly on some views.  We don't see eye to eye on things that are really important to me, like racial social justice issues.  (I am a POC, she is white.)  Her behavior has also changed in ways that make me uneasy (cheating on now-ex-spouse and on subsequent boyfriends).  If I met her today, I probably would prefer to keep her as an acquaintance, not as a close friend.  One thing we still do together is go to shows- she is my concert buddy, and our conversations usually revolve around her and my job is to talk sense into her about being reasonable or honest in relationships.  I can do that.  I don't go near social justice issues because I'm afraid I'll blow up at her ignorance on the topic.  And I'm not saying ignorance like it is an insult, she really lacks education in the area, like history of slavery and immigration laws in the US.

DH has made some good friends since he started working at a local coffee shop.  They will sometimes confide in him, but he is much more private and would probably not confide in anyone but me.

JLee

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Re: How to choose who will be your closest friends?
« Reply #14 on: December 14, 2016, 12:38:58 PM »
In my experience you don't actually get to "choose" who becomes your close friend, you just kind of "become" friends. Obviously you can choose who you actually spend time with, and you most likely *won't* become close friends with someone you don't commit to spending a lot of time with. But it's very hard to figure out who's going to be close friend material without just giving it a go.

For the vast majority of people it's just way harder to make friends once you are a grownup compared to making friends in university or before.

^

I didn't 'choose' my closest friends.  They just happened over time.

hoping2retire35

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Re: How to choose who will be your closest friends?
« Reply #15 on: December 14, 2016, 01:00:33 PM »
I have this issue.

Most friends are either; moved away, don't have kids, or somehow grew apart.

I get what the OP means about 'choosing' your friends. You don't want to put in that time when you know someone will have some personality/belief/activity that will not jive with you, and maybe they don't recognize it but you do and so you have to make what becomes an awkward 'breakup' instead of just keeping things more casual.

I've looked into Dad activities, thinking that there could be some commonalities and some buffer of kid schedule(bed, nap, mealtime, etc) that can keep things casual if needed, but nothing starts until they are older. So just us hanging out for now.

lightmyfire

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Re: How to choose who will be your closest friends?
« Reply #16 on: December 14, 2016, 01:18:34 PM »
I've also learned I am only really friends with extroverted people (spouse, best friend, essentially entire friend group).  I can't connect with other introverts, we just sit in silence.

Lol, I completely identify with this. My introverted friends always make me a little nervous. I think it's because part of my introversion is a sort of unhealthy hyper-empathy that makes me aware of the discomfort they might be feeling engaging in conversation, because, well, I'm often feeling it too. I really like these friends because I can identify with them and they probably understand me better on a deeper level, but the small talk can be much more draining. I think small talk in general is draining for introverts, so we turn to extroverts to pull more of the weight.

catccc

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Re: How to choose who will be your closest friends?
« Reply #17 on: December 14, 2016, 01:55:29 PM »

I didn't 'choose' my closest friends.  They just happened over time.

Yes, but this probably just "happened" by you choosing to say yes to an invitation out, or choosing to extend an invitation to spend more time with someone.  Or choosing to chat with them when you are in a larger group of friends.  To an extent, it is a series of choices that leads you to be closer with some people than others. 

I was hanging out with a group of 7-8 mom friends.  (our kids first kids are all around the same age, and most of us delivered at the same midwife run birthing facility.)  One of them reached out to me and said she really liked me and would like to hang out sometime (indicating an event separate from our group events).  But I actually didn't like that she always talked about her family dramas and how much she hates drama.  So I said kind of brushed her off and said I was busy but I'd see her at the next mom group event.  She chose to reach out to me to be a closer friend and I chose otherwise.  Eventually, she created the first and only ever drama episode in the group of mom friends and decided to stop hanging out with us.  The only episode of drama in 8 years, that's pretty significant!  Thank goodness I didn't have any obligation to her as her closest friend of the group!

catccc

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Re: How to choose who will be your closest friends?
« Reply #18 on: December 14, 2016, 01:57:14 PM »
oh, someone mentioned texting.  I think DH has developed good relationships over texts.  I know that sounds silly, but a person's willingness to send a quick picture message of something he saw at the store that DH would find humorous and therefore appreciate... it's easy and little and I think those small events can help to strengthen a friendship.  You can kind of feel out who you might develop a closer friendship with based on how they respond to small things like this.

GreenSheep

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Re: How to choose who will be your closest friends?
« Reply #19 on: December 14, 2016, 02:55:45 PM »
Most friends are either; moved away, don't have kids, or somehow grew apart.

I'm on the other side of that; I have lost friends because they have kids and I don't. Not "lost" in the sense that we had a big blowout... just that we no longer have anything in common. However, my longest and best friend has two kids, and yet we're still extremely close. I think it's because she makes an effort to talk about something other than her kids, and when she does talk about them, rather than trying to seem like Super Mom, she's honest about the not-so-awesome things about parenting. I don't leave our conversations feeling like I'm not in The Club or wondering why she can't see that there's a world beyond her kids. I think her kids are adorable and brilliant and fun to be around, and of course I want to talk about them sometimes, but she realizes that there are other things that she and I can discuss.

If you haven't tried it already, maybe try to retain (or recover) some of your no-kid friends by remembering that you're more than a parent and trying to bring other interests into your conversations and activities. Also, having the kids along sometimes is fun... but not all the time. Your friends who don't have kids most likely still want to be friends. :-)

LadyStache in Baja

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Re: How to choose who will be your closest friends?
« Reply #20 on: December 14, 2016, 04:22:20 PM »
Making friends is hard!  I miss the days when I had a solid "friend group" where we'd see each other everyday at school and eat lunch together and hang out on the weekends.  I think I've often felt disappointed by my friend-life these days, but when I compare life now to life then....of course I don't have a solid friend group.  I'm much more isolated within my little family.  I have to remember that my family is my friend group...we eat together everyday, see each other everyday and hangout on the weekends.

That being said, a little miracle has happened in the past month.  A nice friend/acquaintance said hey we should get together for a potluck on the beach this Friday.  She invited some other moms.  We've made it a thing.  It's like we were all lonely for a friend group and just decided "we are going to keep doing this".  So every Friday we have our little friend group potluck.

The only way to make it better, I'm seeing now, is to get together for lunch during the week without kids.  I'm gonna make that happen too.  :)

One other thing, before this, I would get together one-on-one with other women acquaintances.  I'd just say, "Hey, do you wanna get coffee this week?"  It seems like an awkward thing to do, compared to the organic way friends are made by proximity when you're young, but turns out it's a completely normal adult thing to do.  If you work during the day, you could say "beers" or "apps" or whatever.  You can also substitute "get a smoothie and walk around town" or "go for a walk" or whatever suits your personality. 

pachnik

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Re: How to choose who will be your closest friends?
« Reply #21 on: December 14, 2016, 04:43:00 PM »
I'm enjoying reading along on this thread so I thought I'd share my 2 cents. 

Right now, I am feeling a bit low on friends.  My closest friend is very ill with a mental illness.  Things are different now and I am not sure if she's ever really coming back from her illness.  I will continue to spend time with her when she comes home from treatment.  It is possible that she will end up in a group home if she doesn't rebound back far enough to be able to live on her own like she used to. 

Rather than have a large friend group, I've usually just had a few close women friends.   So I am on the lookout now.  I go to 2 12-step fellowships and most of my close friends come from there.   I also have a couple of friends from a previous job. 

Daleth

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Re: How to choose who will be your closest friends?
« Reply #22 on: December 14, 2016, 05:02:04 PM »
I'm enjoying reading along on this thread so I thought I'd share my 2 cents. 

Right now, I am feeling a bit low on friends.  My closest friend is very ill with a mental illness.  Things are different now and I am not sure if she's ever really coming back from her illness.  I will continue to spend time with her when she comes home from treatment.  It is possible that she will end up in a group home if she doesn't rebound back far enough to be able to live on her own like she used to. 

Oh man, I'm so sorry. I have a friend with serious mental health issues, though not to the point of potentially needing a group home. That's really rough.

FIRE_at_45

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Re: How to choose who will be your closest friends?
« Reply #23 on: December 14, 2016, 06:52:59 PM »
I think Anita at the Power of Thrift did an awesome job explaining how to make friends.  She claims to be an introvert as well.  There are two separate articles:

http://thepowerofthrift.com/how-to-make-friends/

http://thepowerofthrift.com/make-friends-guide-examples/

I plan to make this a life goal because I recognize the positive impact of good friends.   

HappierAtHome

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Re: How to choose who will be your closest friends?
« Reply #24 on: December 14, 2016, 07:04:12 PM »
One of the best ways I've found to make friends with super cool people with whom I have heaps in common has been to go to MMM Meetups ;-)

Seriously though: to make friends, you need to go out and meet people. And you need to find follow-up opportunities to keep spending time with the people you meet and think you might like to be friends with. Groups that meet around a common interest are a GREAT way to do this.

FIRE_at_45

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Re: How to choose who will be your closest friends?
« Reply #25 on: December 14, 2016, 07:07:21 PM »
One of the best ways I've found to make friends with super cool people with whom I have heaps in common has been to go to MMM Meetups ;-)

Seriously though: to make friends, you need to go out and meet people. And you need to find follow-up opportunities to keep spending time with the people you meet and think you might like to be friends with. Groups that meet around a common interest are a GREAT way to do this.

+1 I think this is the key.  You have to be forward and follow-up.  Hey, we should go hiking, biking or whatever sometime. 

Miss Piggy

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Re: How to choose who will be your closest friends?
« Reply #26 on: December 14, 2016, 07:26:19 PM »
Right now, I am feeling a bit low on friends.  My closest friend is very ill with a mental illness.  Things are different now and I am not sure if she's ever really coming back from her illness.  I will continue to spend time with her when she comes home from treatment.  It is possible that she will end up in a group home if she doesn't rebound back far enough to be able to live on her own like she used to. 


So tragic. I hope she's able to recover.

SilveradoBojangles

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Re: How to choose who will be your closest friends?
« Reply #27 on: December 14, 2016, 07:28:42 PM »
I have read that the reason it it so difficult to make good friends as an adult is that, at that phase in your life, you just don't have the time to sit around and hang out and talk about anything and everything in the way that you did when you were younger. Apparently it is this time spent that allows you to delve deep and form the bonds that create that very close friendship.

I am actually rather good at making friends. I have a number of close friends (3 besties that I talk to every week or two, and text with more frequently, and 8-10 that I would classify as good friends). Sadly only one of them lives near me now. But all of them are from high school, college, the peace corps, or grad school, where we had that kind of time to hang out and get to know each other. So part of the puzzle is maintaining friendships with those people that are worth holding on to. This takes work - I draft long emails and set up skype dates or phone calls and plan visits and host people.

I only have one good friend that I've met through work, and she was a fluke. We worked together for about 6 months, and only became friends right before I left that job because my car happened to break down, and she gave me a ride to the company christmas party. Because of this, she and her husband sat with me and my husband, and we had a lot of fun. So we kept in touch, and I was lucky that she was willing to put the work in to keep our hours-old friendship going. That was almost 10 years ago.

I'll most likely be moving next year, and operation "make friends" is going to be one of my top priorities, especially if we are somewhere we think will put down roots. Friends are vital to our happiness, and we can't just rely on occasional visits and phone calls the way we do now.

pbkmaine

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How to choose who will be your closest friends?
« Reply #28 on: December 14, 2016, 07:41:31 PM »
My answer was getting back in touch with friends from high school, college and my early twenties. They know the girl I was. We have no secrets. I may not see them often, but when I do, it's as if time never passed. And we keep in frequent touch by emails, Facebook and phone calls. I also have a group of local friends I met through my activities here to "do stuff with". Best of both worlds.
« Last Edit: December 14, 2016, 07:43:57 PM by pbkmaine »

Rubic

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Re: How to choose who will be your closest friends?
« Reply #29 on: December 15, 2016, 08:43:48 AM »
My criterion for friendship is to associate with people who will make
me a better person, either by reinforcing my good points, or by
challenging me to overcome my weaknesses.  Interestingly, this
goal often puts me in contact with people whom I might not otherwise
share viewpoints (political, religious, economic, philosophical), but
I gain an appreciation for others' virtues when I see them in practice.

With some exceptions, I think you ultimately end up with the friends
or spouse you deserve.

FLBiker

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Re: How to choose who will be your closest friends?
« Reply #30 on: December 15, 2016, 12:04:44 PM »
Personally, my few friends have come from AA / a Buddhist group.  I'm fairly active in both, and thus I have several opportunities a week to interact with people with whom I have some important stuff in common and to talk about nontrivial issues.  I'm not really interested in folks with whom I'm not able to talk about things that really matter.  And even with these friends, I almost never see any of them outside of these "official" contexts.  I'm just not particularly social.  It literally never occurs to me to call someone up and see if they want to do something.