INDIANAPOLIS — What are the benefits of friendship?
According to the Mayo Clinic, good friends can help you have good health. They help prevent isolation, loneliness and much more, but how do you make new friendships?
Karen Kennedy is a Maven Space Director. She says she knows what it's like to start over in a new environment.
“I've moved several times in my lifetime,” said Kennedy.
That means new everything — including cities, workspaces and new friendships as an adult.
Kennedy says it's so hard for people to make friends as adults because they aren't used to change or breaks in routines.
"You sort of get set in your ways and you have your small group of people,” said Kennedy.
According to Kennedy, as an adult it's more difficult to break into already formed friendships and it's harder to find people who may share your same values.
“When you're looking to expand that network, it's hard to like how your priorities align," said Kennedy.
Those barriers shouldn't stop you from trying. Kennedy says the goal is to find quality relationships, beyond being acquaintances.
"And it's work, it's work from both sides," she said.
That means taking the first step out the door to meet people and then following through with plans.
"And don't do the whole 'We should get together sometime' thing," said Kennedy.
Organizations like Maven Space make it easy with a variety of events each month that creates opportunities to meet others.
"We're all here [at Maven Space] because we like to be around other people,” said Kennedy.
But what if it isn't easy for you?
"Do you think it's harder since people went through the pandemic and are less inclined now to get out and about?" asked Shinn.
"We all sort of forgot how to have a conversation. We forgot how hard it is to walk into a room full of people we don't know.” said Kennedy. “It's so hard and you have to really psych yourself up."
Beating that social anxiety takes practice.
You should practice talking to everyone; practice having confidence, even if you must fake; and practice attacking your fears. What are you afraid of, when talking to strangers?
Maybe even treat meeting new friends like you're dating and enjoy the process.
Maven Space co-founder, Leslie Bailey says maybe even recruit a current friend in the process.
"Finding friends to go with you to make friends is a great idea right,” said Bailey.
It's important to make the effort because even more businesses are emptying offices, and people don’t meet face-to-face in the workspace as often.
According to Forbes, around 12% of full-time employees work remotely and 28% work hybrid remote schedules, in 2023.
"I have a number of therapists who have said that they actually suggest Maven Space as a place to come,” said Bailey. "A lot of their patients are not necessarily as depressed but just lonely."
The US Surgeon General declared loneliness an epidemic in our country, but like anything making friends is a numbers game.
"I think we only grow if we can push ourselves to evolve and meet new people,” said Bailey.
Do what comes naturally. If meeting in-person's too much, look virtually.
"A lot of people don't want to go to large events,” said Bailey. "Absolutely walk out the door and see what's outside your home. The world is our oyster when it comes all of the different communities online."
No matter what, prioritize making time for new friends because it's always worth the effort.
Always remember you should have flexibility when it comes to friendships. They're living breathing things.
Consistency in relationships is key and know that it becomes easier, with practice.