Do you feel lonely? Do you feel like you don't have any friends? Or that you don't know how to make friends anymore? If so, you're not alone.
Making friendships in adulthood is one of the hardest things you can do. It's like starting over in a relationship. You have to put yourself out there and meet new people all over again.
But what really makes a friendship? What helps us escape the rejection loop and get into better social circles?
In this episode, I'm going to help you tackle this question and so much more. Together, we're going to uncover what it takes to make new friends in adulthood and keep them no matter what age you are or what life phase you're going through.
Love the podcast? Leave a 5* review on Apple Podcasts. Ready to commit to the next level of transformation? Join my email list to get my best advice. Want to get coached by me? Apply now: www.therealebjohnson.com.
Welcome to the Practical Growth podcast with me, ebi Johnson, author, nlpmp and cognitive reappraisal coach. This is the podcast created for people like you, people looking for more, more health, more peace, more happiness. Each week, I explore a new topic in pop psychology and help you build a better life and better relationships. Join me for special guests, exciting ideas and practical advice that you can use to improve your life from the inside out. Let's get into it. Hello, hello, hello, my lovelies, it is me, ebi, your favorite top medium writer, your favorite top TikTok coach and your favorite cognitive reappraisal specialist. And I'm back, back, back. We're here with episode three of the new season and I want to start it with a question. I want to start by asking you a really simple question how are your friendships doing these days? Do you have a lot of close friends? Do you have any close friends at all? Is there anyone in your life outside of your family, outside of romantic partners, outside of coworkers, that you can just kind of rely on, that you can trust? Maybe the better question is do you feel like you're surrounded by the right people? A lot of my clients, a lot of my readers. They come to me and they basically say, ebi, I don't have a lot of friends. I don't feel like I have a lot of friends, and it's humiliating, but as an adult, I don't think I know how to make friends. I don't think I know how to keep friends and I don't know why I'm always alone. If you feel like that, then you're not alone, right. There's millions and millions and millions of people out there who feel the same way. When we're kids and we're in school and we're constantly around other kids every day, we make friendships really, really easy. We've got the time and space for it, we've got the proximity right. That's a big part of it. But when you're an adult and you kind of go off and you're on your own path and you're just trying to keep your head afloat and you're trying to care for your family and you're just trying to survive, all of a sudden it can feel like you don't have a lot of friends, that all of those people that you felt so comfortable around, that made you feel so happy, that lifted you up. They're not there anymore and you know it's been a decade or two and you don't really know how to make those connections again. That is what we are going to be talking about today friendships, making friendships and adulthood, specifically what it takes to make those new friendships and adulthood. You know people that you can go and have coffee with that, you can laugh with that, you can travel with that, you can rely on, that, you can emotionally invest in outside of your family obligations. That's what we're going to talk about today, because friendship is important. It's more than just superficial things, right. It's more than just shopping dates. Your friends provide you with a real sense of safety and a sense of family in a crazy world, especially if you know you're someone like me who is child free, doesn't have children. Maybe you are independent, you run your own business, you run your own company. You're just really on your own path. It's really lonely and you kind of rely on your friends for that sense of family. You know, maybe you came from a dysfunctional family so you're not in contact with your family anymore. You guys know my story. Your friends become that family, right. They become that tribe for people to feel connected, to feel stabilized, to feel safe in the world, and that is very, very important. But making friends is like so tough. It sounds stupid but it is so tough, right. Not only do we have to find the right people to connect within the first place. We also kind of have to outside of picking the right people and making sure we're picking the right people. We got to make sure that we're on track, that we're not slipping back into bad habits, that we're not forming friendships that encourage self-sabotage, that we understand healthy behaviors and friendship and that we are displaying them ourselves, that we're setting healthy boundaries both for these new friends and for ourselves. That's a lot to juggle. It's a lot to juggle because you're more aware of these things as an adult. You're not aware of them as a kid. So many of us probably had really terrible friends that we remember as being better than they are, because you know we didn't really have the same awareness. It's different when you're an adult and you've got a different awareness. So if that is important to you, if any of this so far sounded like you, then buckle up because I'm going to break down to you what it takes to form friendships not just any friendships, but good, solid, stable, worthwhile, fulfilling friendships in adulthood. I'm going to break it down for you through the six rules or the six kind of fundamental laws of friendship that you have to work to and apply. So what am I talking about? Because, if you're, you know, a few years ago, if you were like me, because I was digging into this, all this information I share with you guys. There's always information that I have, you know, applied to myself, that I have lived through myself, that I have worked through myself and that I have worked through directly with my clients and my family and friends. And when I heard that there were six laws of friendship, I was like you got to be kidding me. This is are you kidding me? Another list school. But it's true, there are six fundamentals to a good adult friendship, to a worthy adult friendship, to a stable, supportive, healthy, happy, joyful adult friendship, and you can basically think of them as the foundation of a house. Okay, so, moving forward, all of these six elements that we talk about, I want you to think about them as the foundation stones of a house that you were building. Okay, and they'll be different sizes for each person, they'll get slotted into different places, but without these six fundamentals the rest of the house, the relationship with that person it cannot stand. Okay, ultimately, what these fundamentals do is they create your likability quotient. Okay, all of these things add up to create a likability quotient, and the higher a likability quotient is, the more kind of likable and enjoyable and connected those two people are going to be. Okay. The more they're going to blend, the more they're going to mesh, the more they're going to meld and get along. So what are these kind of six fundamentals of friendship, these six laws of friendship that form your likability quotient? Number one, and it's the first thing we're most often attracted to in a person, is the law of humor. Okay, it's humor. How funny are you, how funny are the people around you? How much do you laugh, both with yourself, at yourself and with other people? Okay, not in a mean way, but in a truly joyful way. How much do you laugh? It turns out that this is actually potentially a key part of building a friendship with someone People who are funny, people who look for the humor and things. You don't have to be a standup comedian, right? You just have to have a really good sense of humor and want to laugh more than you want to complain. But people like that are perceived as more likable. Now, why would that be? Well, it's actually, according to the research, it's because humor reduces anxiety and it increases feelings of trust. So if you can make someone laugh, they're more likely to trust you, they're more likely to feel connected to you, they're more likely to feel attracted to you in a platonic way. So it releases endorphins, essentially, which is good for us. That's one of the chemicals that helps us to form bonds with one another. And you know, of course, what does the golden rule of friendship say If you can make people laugh, make people feel good about themselves, they'll like you, and that's what humor does. So that's the first thing that's kind of fundamental to that new relationship Can you laugh together? Number two here is quite interesting, and it's one that people don't really think about too much but they should, and it is curiosity, the law of curiosity, the element of curiosity. Do you have that? Do you have a little bit of mystery to you? Do you make other people curious? Do you make them want to ask questions about you, your life, what you're doing, what you're working on? When you meet someone new, do you ask them a lot of questions. Are you curious about them, or do they just kind of quickly fade into the background for you? If you can produce curiosity in other people, it ups that likability quotient, it ups your friendship factor, the more people who want to know you. And again, you don't have to be popular, you just have to be interesting, okay, and how do you be interesting? You do things that interest you. You lead a life that is filled with your own curiosity, your own interest in your own passions. It doesn't have to be anything grandiose If your passion is quilting and you do a bunch of quilting, you'll end up with other people that do that thing and they'll be curious about what you do, your methods, your passion for that thing that you're passionate about. So this is the law of curiosity. Do you have the ability to inspire that? Do you have passion within you that's going to make people go? Hey, what's that? What's that all about? Number three is not going to sit well with you codependents who are listening to this, you over-sharers, you potential and I mean this with pure love. You stage five clingers. And it's scarcity, the law of scarcity and friendship, Believe it or not. People want a little bit of inaccessibility, right. They want to feel a little bit like this new friend is a little bit out of reach. Now, that doesn't mean you're trying to play some cool cartoon TV trope, right? You're not too cool for school and not going to talk to them and only answer in one word. That's not what it means. It just means people prefer healthy boundaries and a little bit of distance over desperation. They don't want the person who wants to hang out 24, seven, 365. And if they do, red flag, okay, that's a big, big, big, big, big red flag. The law of scarcity is essentially just people like something that feels safely out of reach, so you're never more than a phone call or a text away, but you're not always present on their doorstep, smothering them and trying to be a part of every single element of their life. It's a really good way to start a friendship off on the right foot and people who are willing to form that relationship with you, that friendship that are willing to, you know, keep the hands up and kind of keep their distance a little bit safely. That shows someone who's going to be healthier for you. It starts everything off with the right moment to moving in the right direction. So scarcity, desperate people who are always available, appear like they want something. So if you're trying to form new friendships, stop texting all the time, stop calling all the time, stop trying to hang out all the time, all the time, all the time where adults you can hang out once every two weeks sometimes and that's absolutely fine. So number five here, the. It's another interesting one and you can take it how you want to take it, but essentially it's the law of misattribution. The law of misattribution and what that is is, is this the law of misattribution states that people who are having a good time are more likely to associate you with that if you're there, even if you have nothing to do with that. So essentially it's being in a the right place at the right time. When you are in upbeat, happy, positive environments where good things are going on and people are enjoying themselves and they meet you in that environment, they're more likely to associate you with those feelings of happiness, with joy, with having fun with you know, all the good stuff. So you kind of want to, wherever those places are for you, which could be the gym, it could be traveling, it could be going to the library. Everybody has different places where they kind of feel that euphoria and that lightness and that fun and that relaxation. Those are the places that you need to go to find the right friends. You need to go and look for people who have those same feelings in those environments. Okay, because that positive association helps move that momentum forward on a friendship, on a friendship, and then you guys have similar interests, similar likes, similar, you know joys, which is very, very, very positive. And again, high end orphans come into play here. If you try to make friendships in places where people are experiencing joy and relaxation and you know fun with their partners and other friends, if you can meet them in that space, they will have high levels of endorphins going on and that will help boost your endorphins and then that will help you guys bond with each other. So the law of misattribution get yourself in the right place at the right time with the right people. And, last but not least, number six is the law of disclosure. The law of disclosure, which is going to be a tough one again for you trauma survivors, because a lot of us don't like to open up. We've had bad experiences, we've had that weaponized against us, but all the same, vulnerability is a very big, very important part of a friendship. Okay, just like it is any other relationship that you care about that you try to to nurture and feed. Okay, you have to let down the walls. Your friends can't just see the good stuff that's going on. They, they need to be able to see the bad stuff too, and that's not to say, the minute you meet someone you have to open the floodgates. This is a build that you're building right. Those other five elements, let's say that that was kind of pouring the concrete in this last one. This is setting the concrete for the foundation of the house that you're building with the person. You need vulnerability, you need to be vulnerable, you need to ask for help, show your weaknesses, show your shortcomings, don't be afraid to make mistakes in front of someone that you want to be really deep, long-lasting friendship friends with. Okay, because that helps to establish deep trust, that forever friendship that you think you want, that you know you want, that you know you need, whatever the situation is, that is not just smiles and rainbows, that that is a human connection, and both of you will be having human experiences together, which means good and bad ebbs and flows, high times, low times. You have to disclose your shadows to one another too if you want to have solid, real, adult friendships. And that's the six elements. So what do we do with this? How do we actively move forward with this to create new friendships. You need to understand that what happens is these six foundation stones they come together and they they build what I mentioned up top as your likeability quotient. Okay, and your likeability quotient is the measurable effect of your ability to connect with other people. It's a term that was coined by dr hindry wiesinger and he's an emotional intelligent expert in 2015, and what he showed through his research was that this quotient was shown to affect every area of your life, but most especially your friendships, your long-term friendships, the friendships you were able to make. So, using those six kind of laws of friendship, those six elements of this likeability quotient how do we do this? How do we do this? How would that actively be applied? What would it look like? Listen, if you want to form more solid friendships, this is what you need to do. So get out your notebook, get out your pen and paper and just gonna break it down very, very quickly and sum it all up. Stop taking yourself so seriously. Number one Okay, laugh a little If you're feeling anxious, if you're a socially anxious person. Learn to be funny, learn how to be funny and every time you feel awkward, make it funny. Find an opportunity and make it funny If you can laugh and you can make them laugh, you're going to lessen your anxiety. You're going to lessen their anxiety. You're going to raise the endorphins and build a stronger connection. Next, find people with similar interests. Put yourself in environments where people are doing things that you like to do and that they like to do. Find that similarity connection. Next, get interested in something. Start doing things that you like. Get curious. Were you the kid that read the Volcano book over and over and over again in the library and just lost yourself in it? Go do that, go do that and then talk to somebody at the library. Make a little joke, make a little funny face at somebody like oh, can you believe this? They don't have the Volcano book anymore. Anything. Get interested, do passion projects, get curious about life and you will meet the right people along the way. But you got to be curious. Next, stop being desperate. You got to stop. Have you ever heard that saying if you stop looking for something, you'll find it? It's the same way here. If you stop trying to force friendships, if you stop being desperate, like, oh, I met this person that I like, I got to cling, cling, cling. Just be like oh, I met this person that I like. That'd be cool if it worked out. I'm just going to keep living my life now and see them when I can. That's when the friendships happen. It's when you cool off. Let go just chill out a little bit. Next, elevate the spaces that you're in. Don't expect to be in a misery environment and make forever friendships. I know that that happens sometimes, but, damn, you got to be aware of trauma bonding, right, you got to be aware of trauma bonding. Try to connect with people in happy places where people are upbeat and joy themselves, having fun, having a good time and, last but not least, be vulnerable. Stop trying to portray yourself as this mountain of stone, this fortress which has it all together and has life all figured out. No one wants to be friends with that person. We're all human. We're all struggling right now. Unless you're a millionaire or a billionaire, which some of you might be, which is absolutely okay. This you know. But a lot of people are struggling right now. A lot of people have problems not just financially, but in their relationships as well. It's a socially stressful climate. It's a politically stressful climate. It's, you know, it's stress. Everybody on this planet is stressed right now. So let yourself be human. Okay, stop trying to be invincible. We all want to connect with a human who's going through a human experience like us. So do that, connect with those people and let them be human with you as well. And that's where you got to start. That's where you got to start If you want to, if you are one of those people who, like I said at the start of the episode, you just feel like I don't have any friends and I have no idea where to start, because the last time you made a bunch of friends, you were all doing finger painting together or you know you were all working on an essay that you were terrified, you were all going to flunk. These are the steps that you can take now as an adult just you know, kind of out there floating through space and time, to make these new friendships, to make these new connections. Focus on increasing your likability, quotient, focus on connecting with people in those good spaces, having good times that like the things that you like and want to do, the things that you want to do. You know that really is like the most simple place to start and you'll be surprised at the connections that you make, and they may not be forever. I Think there's that. There's an expectation to that. A lot of us want to go out into the world and just meet somebody. Boom, this is my best friend, my forever friends, my person Right for you Grey's Anatomy fans. But sometimes it's just like building a relationship right. You had to go through a few partners to get to the right one that you wanted to spend time with, and Friendships can be the same way. Some friendships are superficial. You have some people that you just go out maybe and have dinner with or you have drinks with. There's some people you might only Travel with. There's some people that you invite over to your house every Friday night for dinner, who hangs out with your kids. There are different types of friendships and some take longer to build in others and some, you know, they last a couple months, they last a couple seasons and then they're there. They're one and done affair and that's okay, that's fine. People pass through lives again, as I said in last week's episode when we talked about that big, huge historical context of trauma, think about it like our ancestors passing in the night, these nomadic people who were together for a season and then, once things change, once the trees lost their leaves. Once the prey was no longer there, they separated, they went to different ends of the continent and then maybe they'd cross pass again and maybe they didn't. It's the same with our friendships, okay, and in a way, a lot of them were nomadic, and that's beautiful, because it gives us a chance to constantly meet new people and discover new elements of ourselves Through our experiences with others. And you know, that's that's kind of the magic of being human. If you feel like you're not there yet, don't despair. As I said, you've got more time left than you think you do. So just keep your heart open, keep your mind open and create that passionate, fulfilling, interesting life for yourself. It just fills you up from the inside out. It's filled with all the things in this life that bring you joy, and the friends will come with that. They'll naturally come with it. So you know, be who you are, be as you are and love yourself throughout this entire process. Become the friend that you want to attract and you will attract those friendships. And that is it for today. Thank you so much for listening. Hopefully you learned something. Hopefully that's inspired you, it's made you feel a little bit better about your friendship situations and it's given you a clearer vision of what you need to do to fill your life up with those meaningful connections that you're really, really ready to lean into. Thank you so so much for listening again. You guys, you fill me up. It's absolutely incredible and I would be nowhere without your support. So thank you for reading me on mediumcom, thank you for sharing my articles, thank you for following me on tiktok and sharing all my videos and YouTube and everywhere else. You guys are the best. I love you very, very much and I'll be back next week with another exciting new episodes of practical growth. So until then, keep following, keep sharing and, if you want to get coached by me, head over to the real eb johnsoncom and click on working with me to apply. Until then, until next time, keep your heads up, keep your eyes on the stars. Bye, bye, you.