How To Make Friends As An Adult

 

How To Make Friends As An Adult

Close relationships, more than money or fame, are what keep people happy throughout their lives. This is according to one of the world’s longest studies by the Harvard Study of Adult Development.

Making new friends is scary. I do not believe there is a specific type of human being that feels differently. In first grade it made me feel like an awkward wet washcloth and the anxiety didn’t get easier as I got older. But… research is crystal clear that we are wired for connection. The quality of those bonds determines the quality of our HAPPINESS.

So, what exactly are we to do???

There are many benefits to getting older and wiser (they are not always linked but let’s pretend for the sake of the blog) and using our experiences to stuff friendship hacks in our fanny packs, is one of them. Below are some tips I’ve learned and some others from friendship experts and science-backed studies.

Make the First Friendship Move

While at work, in line at Starbucks, or at a party, simply smiling is a good icebreaker. Ask how they’re enjoying said place, how do they know the host, have they tried the new pumpkin Chai latte? Intentionally striking up a conversation or word like hi is also a low-stakes option and a great first step. This has the benefit of a) getting you out of your comfort zone and b) helps to non-verbally express your openness to having a conversation. Remember. More than half the US adult population feels lonely, a study from Cigna health insurers found. This means THEY TOO would love to make a new friend. So initiate the friend date. MAKE THE FIRST MOVE! This could be with someone you met at a good friend’s birthday dinner and you both realize you have an interest in spirituality and astrology. This just recently happened to me, and I plan on reaching out to this woman for a coffee date. Weve already connected on Instagram. Small steps forward. You may end up meeting your future sister-in-law or traveling partner to you dream destination.

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Know Your Friendship Qualities.

There exist friendship superpowers only you possess! Maybe you aren’t even fully aware of them, but others most likely are and here are some ways to be conscious of them as well. Knowing this allows you to develop these awesome characteristics, and gift them to others more assuredly. When you’re sure of what you have to offer, you will be more confident to approach them with a sense of ease. Go ahead, ask the cute girl with the delicious-looking grilled branzino if she would recommend it. Here are some questions to ask yourself in case you can’t come up with your friendship qualities.

What advice do people come to you for?

 What do you often get thank you’s for?

What qualities would your closest sister, friend, co-worker say you possess?

My Answers: I think I offer empathy, a calm space where friends can be exactly who they are, and a compassionate ear.

People ask me for advice on their love journeys.

I get thank yous for being there when a friend truly needs me. I’m still learning to be a better in-real-life friend.

Assume People Like You.

The biggest barrier to making new friends in adulthood? Fear of rejection. Turns out, that’s pretty common, and there’s even a name for this phenomenon: “the liking gap.” But research has found that after strangers interact, people generally underestimate how much they were liked. An Individual who has mastered the friend-making game, walks into new situations with the assumption that they’ll be accepted and liked. That’s what really facilitates them reaching out to others.

So, the next time you cross paths with a potential pal–whether virtual or IRL—believe in the power of your own likability. After all, wouldn’t you want to be friends with you?

 

Get Out There.

I hesitate even typing this since it’s a phrase that makes the hairs on my entire body stand up. But this is still the #1 way to potentially make new friends. It doesn’t mean you need to go to bars alone. Here are some ways I’ve found getting out there has led me to form new friendships. I met up with a friend at a restaurant for a girls’ night out and ended up building an acquaintanceship with the jewelry designer who happened to be sitting next to me. Intentionally saying hello to the blonde woman with the playful German Shepard on my daily walks. I accepted a pool party invite from an acquaintance and met Babs who later became a hiking and book-lover friend. Once I joined my hubby at a business garden gathering where the partner’s daughter channeled people’s energy on canvas, and I connected with an adorable heavy accented Spanish couple. I didn’t form a friendship there but in hindsight, I see this could have been an opportunity to get their contact and possibly meet up when I visited Newport Beach. In conclusion, accepting the uncomfortable feeling and getting out beyond your comfy place, may very well be the catalyst to meeting your next bestie!life coaching los angeles

Be Vulnerable.

Ahhhhh…..TRUE INTIMATE FRIENDSHIPS STAND ON EMOTIONAL SAFETY

Keep sharing your time.

As Oprah always says “time is our most valuable asset” so everyone knows that utilizing that precious time with another is one of the most precious gifts we have to offer.

Once you get to the acquaintance stage, keeping in touch regularly is key. For the soon-to-be friends, become their cheerleaders when they share something positive. Encourage them to smell the roses with you. Remind them they are worth the playtime with a friend. Come up with fun activities. If all the time you have is a 15 min chat at the corner bakery shop, do that! Remember an activity they mentioned they wanted to try and get tickets for it?

I absolutely need to adhere to my own advice. In recent months I’ve prioritized friend-time with people I love but never see. The same thought permeates my mind the entire time…why do I not organize these friend dates more religiously?

Staying in consistent contact allows us to get to know each other on a deeper level. It increases the likelihood of being vulnerable, which is one of the three principal legs of a real friendship according to Shasta Nelson author of Frientimacy. The second leg is a 5:1 positive to negative interaction. This is great info. What it means is that the best friendships have 5 x’s more positive exchanges than negative ones. People want to be around you more when you are uplifting. The third is the amount of time you spend together. There is research that says the more we see people the more likable we find them. This is called the Mere-exposure effect.

Interact with your potential new friends doing things that you both enjoy. Think about your friend’s super-power and make a point to compliment them on what is most valuable to them. EX: If your friend takes pride in her work, you can say something like “wow I have never seen anyone with this much dedication. You are going to be an even bigger success than you already are.” The idea is reflecting to someone in words or behavior the best in them. This goes the extra mile when they have forgotten how wonderful they are.

Signal Likability.

 Rejection is terrifying. It results in never having the courage to risk it by showing anyone we like them. Monica Moore, Professor, and psychologist at Webster University found that even if we think we are showing people we like them, we really aren’t. She found it takes 13 glances for a woman to signal to a man that it’s ok for him to approach her.

How to signal well:

-Light touch on shoulder when speaking with them

-Smile

-Use their name

-Comment on their posts

-Ask them if they want a coffee when you’re going to get one

Find your Kindred Spirit.

weve all been told « join activities you’re passionate about lalalala… « And that is still top-notch advice BUT if going to a class alone makes you feel queasy, you can find your groups on social media. Love yoga? Follow yoga instructors that resonate with you in your city. Positively interact with their posts. The more you engage with them the more both of you feel like you have become friends. When you feel a sort of kinship, it will encourage action like joining one of their online zoom classes or iRL classes.

Support Groups & Group Coaching

We all have our vices, sometimes it’s hard to get the support we need. Fortunately, you can learn how to meet new people in your crisis via a support group OR group coaching. For example, if you suffer from an eating disorder, you can research then spend time with people discussing how to cope with eating disorders. Sharing our struggles in groups with others is therapeutic. We no longer feel alone.

I hope these suggestions were helpful!

If you would like more support on creating new or getting over the loss of a close friend or social anxiety, feel free to click on SCHEDULE  TAB above and book a complimentary Soul Session with me.

Blessings!

Irene

https://CoachingwithIreneScheduling.as.me/?appointmentType=21011478

Book Recommendations

The Relationship Cure by John Gottman- This book focuses on relationships in mid-life with all the important people in your life. This is focused on emotional availability which is a pillar of all healthy relationships. The Relationship Cure: A 5 Step Guide to Strengthening Your …https://www.barnesandnoble.com › Books

Here to Make Friends by Hope Kelaher, LCSW. This is a great book on how to move past small talk and strategies on how to build a meaningful community.

Here to Make Friends by Hope Kelaher | BookLifehttps://booklife.com › project › here-to-make-friends-7…

WHAT KEEPS 95% OF MODERN WOMEN SINGLE

Enjoying your life as a single woman is fantastic! And by the way, necessary for the universe to connect you to a healthy love match. But what happens when you decide you’re ready to share your world with someone, but have never mastered the love game or are fearful of it? Below are four reasons 95% of modern women desiring to be in a relationship are single.

You don’t make time

You are the professional rainmaker. Your execution and drive are exceptional. But we are all wired for human touch, companionship and warmth. And who knows, one Sunday morning sipping your cappuccino on the deck of your second home in Miami Beach, you’ll think…. WOW, I truly am a badass! And you 100% are! But you’ll also be aware an important piece of your life’s puzzle is missing. As we get older companionship becomes more important.

Consider creating a few hours weekly to get out and experience new activities. There are so many cool things to learn. There are co-ed dance classes, boxing classes, golf, reading groups, you name it. Imagine saying yes to attending a friends cooking class (you hate cooking) and low and behold your rolling dumpling with your future husband?

Making, stealing, whatever you have to do to add work-free moments-in group settings- will facilitate accepting dates you’ve been forced to turn down in the past. And, you’ll feel great about it!

Singledom Feels Fine

I am not saying being single should not feel fine. I’m just throwing out the possibility that you’ve convinced yourself that you’re happier that way. The only way to get a different outcome is to create a new desired feeling more powerful than the one keeping us where we are. When you have the freedom to come home from work, cook dinner for one, and watch anything on TV without compromise, it’s easy to want things to stay this way. Even if only on a subconscious level. You haven’t worried about factoring in someone else’s wants and needs into your bigger picture in a long time. The truth is, you sort of enjoy being able to focus fully on your amazing self. Here are some questions you can ask yourself for the discomfort of singledom to be just a bit stronger than the comfort of it. Many times that’s all you need to realize you can be both single and in a relationship and feel great.

1. In 10 years from now, how would having a long-term relationship increase your happiness?

2. What are 3 ways you could have both freedom and companionship in a fulfilling marriage?

3. What old false beliefs may be attributed to you not wanting to pursue coupledom?

EX:

A partnership requires a loss of freedom.

A partnership requires choosing I give up my successful career.

A partnership with both chemistry and true emotional safety does not exist.

CAN I GROW MY ATTRACTION TO MR. NOT MY TYPE ?

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CAN I GROW MY ATTRACTION TO MR. NOT MY TYPE ?

photo by:Brigitte Tohn


Hello My Passionate Friend,

What is it about bad boys that has us circling back like excited bees to a colorful birthday cake? No matter how many spectacular flame-outs we go through, most of us willingly put our hand right back on the flame. If this sounds familiar, you may be wondering: is it possible to be attracted to someone who is initially not my type?

We attract what we need to heal

There’s a deep, unconscious reason that makes it hard to break the cycle of attracting unavailable men. Whether it’s karma or energy, we’re drawn to heal our childhood wounds. And this is great but what’s not so great is how we go about it. A common way we do this is by subconsciously choosing the one partner that will shine a spotlight on our insecurities and fears. Yep. We choose an avatar for the parent that couldn’t see how smashingly magnificent we were. Basically, in a room of fifty-thousand men, we will choose THE ONE with a particular kind of torture in store. Consciously we might think we’re drawn to the heady confidence, or shared interests, and that is part of it. But what is primarily behind the wheel is our desire to feel loved by a parent that did not have the tools to do so.

“Our conscious self is drawn to the positive qualities we yearn for, but our unconscious draws us to the qualities which remind us of how we were wounded the most.” ~ Psychotherapist Ken Page, L.C.S.W.

These love patterns can be relearned. We don’t have to sacrifice knee-wobbling passion either.

Bust out of that groove

Potential partners ebb through our lives and fall on what I call a level on the Captivation Rainbow.

Here’s how it works:

❤️ Level Red: The bad boys that leave us light-headed and speechless. We need no convincing of captivation for these men. They’re the ones that leave us eating pints of ice-cream in our P.J’s, but that sizzling passion is too irresistible to give up.

💙 Level Blue: The guys that completely turn us off leaving us COLD. Choosing them would make our parents nod with approval but we’d be pacing back and forth questioning our choice to forget chemistry and settle for a bitter taste in our mouths. We never want to do this. A compulsion to flee is never a good sign.

💛 Level Yellow: The progressive lovers. These are the men we weren’t sure about but gave them the benefit of three dates. The yellows will have a very fulfilled life, a healthy financial situation and will enjoy being the leaders- or the supporters if you prefer to lead with masculine energy. How nice would it be to stop doing everything for everyone?! It’s true, we tend to not have much of a reaction when we first meet them. BUT.. if there’s even a glimmer of attraction, fanning it into passion is a very real possibility.

Date outside your type

A balanced love story comes from the center and that’s true of this rainbow, too. When you date guys in the yellow zone of your captivation rainbow, expect a few things to change:

👉🏻 You’ll feel less inhibited and bring more of your true self forward.

👉🏻 You’ll feel more comfortable and secure

👉🏻 You’ll have more selection of partners to choose from.

Studies done at Harvard proved, we’ll even have healthier aging when our relationships are joyful. https://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2017/04/ove…. Heck yes!

Physical attraction is changeable

You’ve probably seen people like Chandler and Monica from Friends who grew their friendship into a steamy romance. What started as platonic grew into a massive sexual attraction as they discovered more about each other.

All you really need is a mere spark of possibility and at least some physical attraction. Then watch. The more you get to know a guy from the WARM zone, the more he’ll give you fuzzy brain syndrome.

Love after first sight promises to be the most reliable and longest lasting. When we do the inner work of nourishing ourselves first, we are more attuned to what will actually make us happy. https://thriveglobal.com/stories/3-relationship-hacks-for-real-love-right-now/This is different from what we THINK will make us happy. Our picker is waaaaay more intelligent. Remember, we are not buying the house. There’s no sense in getting caught up with the plumbing. We are a guest enjoying its welcoming energy and colorful pillows. New experiences can be a lot more fun than you think!

Steer away from the two extremes and look to the stable center. He may initially look like Mr. Not Your Type, but that’s a good thing.

After chasing the ones that leave you with a vacant stare, you may want a coach-slash-wing-woman to lean on as you make profound shifts. I’m here for you and would love to hear your story.

Here’s to troubles melting like yellow lemon drops,

Irene

Irene is the creator of the Happiness Within Reach program which coaches single, freedom loving women on the foundational skills of building a meaningful relationship with themselves so they can attain the love they dream of. She is an ICF, ACC Certified Personal Development coach who holds two certifications from the University of Pennsylvania on Positive Psychology and is trained in the Gottman Method for Couples Therapy. Irene is an advisor to the Keeepr app as well as a dating coach to the Three Day Rule Matchmaking Company. She is also an Amazon best-selling co-author of the book How To Be Crazy Amazing During Difficult Times and has been interviewed on podcasts such as Chat With Leadersand Beyond Barriers. Her mission is to remind women of their indisputable worthiness and capability of creating the extraordinary soul on fire life that is their birthright. Let’s connect on Instagram


Benevolently Sexist or Chivalrous? Whichever, More Please!

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I have missed you and am so excited to get back to writing you!

Let me preface by saying I know for some; this post might stir up big emotions. My intention is to offer you a wider lens with which to view some well-meaning men that live by a set of traditional masculine morals. I won’t be focusing on what I believe to be the exceptions; men that pay for dates expecting sex in return or those that offer to carry heavy grocery bags implying we are too weak to do it ourselves.

I’m speaking of gentlemen. Yes, I know, they actually exist! The well-educated men that respect women’s professional drive and accomplishments but simultaneously feel good about taking the initiative of asking a woman out on a proper date, paying for most and making sure she is safe by walking on the traffic side of the street.

I can hear some of you thinking “great Irene but what the hell is benevolent sexism?” I’m glad you asked because I had never heard of the term before last night, but felt inspired to learn more. It refers to a theoretical framework developed by social psychologists Peter Glick and Susan Fiske which reinforces traditional gender roles signaling women need to be protected by men.

One study posted on Journals.sagepub.com published by Kathleen Connelly and Martin Heesacker explains that even though previous research proposes benevolent sexism as an ideology that sustains gender inequality; some very much support it, as it has also been linked to greater life satisfaction. Besides these findings Connelly is against it as it presumes “women are wonderful but weak.”

Although the second- wave feminism movements overarching goal was to achieve gender equality, it confused the hell out of many men that value more traditional behaviors. Gentlemen in the baby-boomer generation knew how women expected to be treated. They had a more courteous approach towards women. Men wanted to lead and believed it was their role to provide a certain type of security; financial and physical towards women they loved. Today roles are undefined both men and women aren’t sure how to act, what to say and what is actually desired by the other.

I had such an interesting coaching session last week with a charming Gen-X male entrepreneur whose topic of conversation sparked my curiosity and moved me to dive a little deeper on this subject. He said he was raised to believe it was common courtesy to open doors for women and pay for dates but sometimes felt torn to act with integrity as he didn’t want to be viewed as a sexist ass.

As a result of this conversation, what really sparked my interest was, what do women, especially devoted feminists feel about men that express some old school courting?

A study of 782 women in 5 experiments conducted by Pelin Gul a post-doctoral research fellow in the Dept of Psychology at Iowa State University found that women were more attracted to benevolently sexist men than their counterparts, despite knowing these men were more likely to be patronizing and controlling.

The findings show women interpret men who confidently go after what they want and cherish women as signs of a partner that will commit, protect and provide. The reality is, women want men who make them feel physically, emotionally and financially safe, period. This is the case no matter how professionally successful they are.

Drinking the Kool Aid of women don’t need men and we can have and do it all on our own came with the cost of believing we should be doing everything on our own. This led to a whole lot of high-achieving but lonely women.

There has never been a time in history where women had more pressure or expectations on their shoulders. We’re juggling building businesses, managing employees and doing whatever it takes to keep up with the ridiculous cultural beauty expectations while simultaneously taking on twice as much on child care and housework. How much more fulfilling would our lives be if we released some of our control and allowed these men to take the lead and do more for us?

Wishing you a wonderful rest of your day!

P.S. I would love to be connected with you on Instagram and see what you too are up to.

You can find me @Irene.abbou

XOXO,

Irène Abbou

The Magic of Letting Go

Hello Rockstar [FIRST NAME GOES HERE]!,

I am so excited to be writing you its feels like it’s been forever! There have been so many pivots in my world recently I’ve almost developed thigh muscle definition- almost, and I couldn’t be happier to be here with you right now.

In the process of letting go, you will lose many things from the past, but you will find yourself. Deepak Chopra

Letting go of almost anything even if it’s something we’ve been desperately trying to release is hard. There is a certain comfort to our discomfort. Have you ever had a powerful urge to floss your dog’s teeth? No? What about one to scrub your refrigerator draws? Well, that’s exactly how my inconvenient resistance to letting go rears its ugly head. Just like that, I’m about to complete a lengthy project and scrubbing bubbles hijacks every molecule of my brain.


Fortunately, today I realize, that the source of my fear of success originated from the meaning I gave my slightly strained childhood experiences. In my head, the freedom acquired from monetary wealth equaled sad, neglected little ones. My dad was very successful. Me, my baby sister and brother were neglected, so thats how my kids would end up if I made real money, right?Absolutely not! This accepted belief-I kept snug in the back pocket of my five year old OshKosh B’gosh was the biggest roadblock to my professional growth. I can almost guarantee that your wildestest longings are also being held back by the tainted lens through which you see yourself and what youre capable of.

This shows up in our grown-up life by sub-consciously finding evidence for this belief which reinforces its perceived truth. This keeps us stuck in an endless cycle of recreating the same outcomes.

Visualizing my kids as poster children for a Jerry Springer episode left me terrified, so my business excelled at the speed of a baby turtle. The frustration of not reaching my potential challenged me to make a real attempt at releasing my inner-child’s beat-up old baggage. Encyclopedia Britannica’s definition of old baggage aka belief is: a mental attitude of acceptance without the full intellectual knowledge required to guarantee its truth.

BELIEFS ARE NOT FACTS

Common Old Baggage:

  • I’m not worthy of…
  • I’m only worthy when…
  • I cannot be loved as my true self
  • I cannot have what I actually want
  • I am underving of love…
  • If I do what I want others will be unhappy

 

My business goal was transforming the quality of people’s lives by teaching them the foundational skills of intimate human connections. I finally understood that inherent to reaching my goal was releasing my association of career advancement with a collapsed home life. This led me to get reacquainted-yet again- with the most important relationship I’ll ever have, the one with myself.

Shortly after identifying what was holding me back, I made a commitment to a daily practice of prioritizing my mental health. When we are fully conscious of who we are and attuned to our self-worth; we are unstoppable.

My full time job is my mental health. I am most interested in mental health for without it, we can lose life. The quality of our life is directly related to our attention to our mental health.

Elizabeth Gilbert

In 2020, I hired a business coach, began group therapy, and like a sign from the universe; beautiful human connections and opportunities started presenting themselves to me. Collaborations with businesses in fields I didn’t know much about knocked at my door. Meaningful friendships were created and bloomed despite not being able to physically be near one another. Tami Holzman the Queen Connecter thank you for being such an integral piece of my growth and holding my hand through so many new-isms.

If there’s anything certain in this human chop salad we call life, it’s change. If we have a longing for something that never goes away, listen to it! That is a power greater than yourself guiding you towards what you always knew was meant for you.

Let go of the old and follow your heart to the place where anything is possible!

Rumi once said, what you seek is seeking you.

There is an inextricable bond between gaining something extraordinary and releasing old versions of ourselves. It’s simply part of the process to the crazy amazing new chapter of our life.

My question to you is…

WHAT MUST YOU LET GO OF TO LIVE YOUR BEST LIFE?

Biggest Hugs,

Irene Abbou

Irene is the creator of the Happiness Within Reach program which coaches driven men and women to open their hearts to self-love while forming deep and meaningful interpersonal relationships with others. She is an ICF, ACC Certified life and business coach who holds two certifications from the University of Pennsylvania on Positive Psychology and is trained in the Gottman Method for Couples Therapy. She is also an Amazon best-selling co-author of the book How To Be Crazy Amazing During Difficult Times.