Friendships are so important for our overall health. The social connection that we get from having friends is good for us and helps us to feel happy.

Friends also help to us to feel supported through our journey in life which decreases risk of depression in hard times. Having close friends in our lives have many other benefits as well including increased confidence and self-worth, sense of belonging and purpose, and they can even help to keep us motivated!

However, it is not always easy to make friends as an adult or to keep up friendships. Sometimes changes in your life, such as marriage, having children, or moving to a new community can cause you to grow apart from your current friendships.

Ways to Maintain Friendships or Make New Friends as an Adult

  • Join a group that you are interested in. There may be fitness groups, baby and toddler parenting groups, gaming groups, and more that you may be interested in.
  • Join a local sports team such as one listed the Edmonton Sport and Social Club website.
  • Volunteer in the community. Check out the Edmonton Federation of Community Leagues (EFCL) to find your league and opportunities or events you’d like to get involved in.
  • Ask coworkers to meet outside of work for a coffee or for dinner. We challenge you to try to talk about things other than work!
  • Join a group. The app Meetup has a lot of great options for people of all ages.
  • Take a class and learn something new. There are many workshops, classes, and events listed on Eventbrite.
  • Work towards a cause. You can discover opportunities that fit your schedule and interests on the Volunteer Alberta website.
  • Join a church or faith community. Simply conduct a quick Google search to find a denomination, program, or location that is aligned with your values.

Studies have shown you live longer when you are surrounded by close friendships. This means we should be putting in the effort to nurture the friendships we currently have.

Ways to Nurture Friendships

  • Make an effort to meet with friend(s) face to face and keep up the conversation in between meetings.
  • Being kind and empathetic by being a good listener.
  • Being thoughtful and thinking of that person. You can show this by picking up a gift for them or surprising them with their favourite drink, food, or even just saying, “Hey, I thought of you the other day when I saw‚Ķ “
  • Open up and be vulnerable by sharing your feelings with your friend so they really get to know you. This will bring you closer.
  • Be trustworthy by not sharing confidential information about that person with others.

No matter what happens in your life, don’t forget about your friends. Make sure you build relationships and reach out as it is good for their health and yours!

 

Blog post by Vanessa Amundson, Volunteer.

References

Face-to-Face Social Contact Reduces Risk of Depression: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-athletes-way/201510/face-face-social-contact-reduces-risk-depression 

Social Relationships and Health: A Flashpoint for Health Policy: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3150158/