The Girl Scouts have a song that goes, "make new friends and keep the old. One is silver and the other gold." It is great advice. What typically happens as people age is that their circle of friends shrinks as people move, develop different interests, or die. Can't you just feel life closing in when you think about it? Not making new friends is choosing to coast in life instead of embracing life. It is a script for premature aging.
Try on this belief: I make new friends all my life-even when I am well into my hundreds. Notice how time and space open up? When you adopt this belief you tell your mind to develop a script to fulfill it. To make sure the belief sticks, look for examples of people who are always making new friends. They can be great role models.
If you are shy, set a goal of learning how to make friends comfortably. Perhaps you can identify some shy people who has a knack for making friends and see how they do it. Another strategy is to become involved in organizations in which it is easy to make friends. If you are willing to take a leadership role in an organization making friends is even easier.
Why do women live longer than men? One factor is that, on the whole, they are better at developing friendships and social networks than men. Michael Roizen's Real Age statistics found that a 70-year-old man who is married, sees at least six friends monthly, and participates in social groups has a life expectancy ten years longer than a man with none of the characteristics. For women the difference is eight years. Marriage was a more important factor in life expectancy of men than of women-presumably because single women, on the whole, have more friends and those friends provide more emotional support. And Roizen's research isn't even looking at whether the marriages are happy marriages.
The key factor that typically moves an acquaintanceship to a friendship is self-disclosure and sharing. "Keeping your cards close to your chest" is a prescription for loneliness. If you want to make friends, go ahead and be the first one to share personal feelings or information. What do you have to lose. At this point they are only an acquaintance and if they are turned off or scared off by you telling them that the person you would most like to meet is Richard Simons, then they wouldn't have made a very good friend for you anyway.
Related Post: Making Friends Over The Internet