Looking For Love? Start with Friendship!
Our clients often share with their Advance LA Life Skills Coaches that they hope to find love and romance, while also acknowledging that creating friendships can be a challenge. Our Coaches approach this situation by helping their clients to first shore up their friendship skills before embarking on the search to find love. The premise for this approach is that sometimes a friendship evolves into a romance, and sometimes a friend is a friend for life – both are delightful outcomes.
When the pressure to find love is lessened, more time and effort can be put into creating friendships. The support that comes from a friendship, especially one that lasts for a long time, can provide the hope and optimism that is needed in other areas of life. Friends are a great way to meet potential romantic partners. Friends understand our needs, become invested in our story, and enthusiastically introduce us to more of their friends.It can be exciting when a friend invites you to their birthday party and you meet one of their other friends there and the two of you hit it off!
It’s also important to learn the skills of being a good friend to others. A nonjudgmental friend makes you feel confident in and loved for who you are and not someone who instills self-doubt or insecurity in you. Nonjudgmental friends listen to you and do their best to see things from your point of view.
A true friendship is defined by knowing someone has your back, no matter what. A good friend will watch out for you and ensure you are safe, feel supported, and are loved. A good friend will never purposely lead you into making decisions or taking actions that aren’t good for you. A true friend will always have your best interests at heart.
Trust lets us feel safe with friends—safe to be vulnerable and to share our plans, our true selves, and our lives. A trustworthy friend keeps your secrets, keeps their promises, and is dependable.
One challenging aspect of making new friends is knowing where to look for new friends. Here are some suggestions:
- Reach out to neighbors – why not bake some cookies and bring them to the people who live near you? A potential new friend may live right next door!
- Connect with co-workers – we all spend a large portion of time with the people we work with so you might already know if you have interests in common with your co-workers. If you share a passion for sports, maybe suggest going to a local baseball game together?
- Attend a Meet-Up event – meet-up events are great ways to meet new people with similar interests. Check out the possibilities at meetup.com
- Get Involved at your place of worship – whether you are active in a church or haven’t been to one in ages, churches, mosques, and synagogues are great places to meet new people. There are often volunteer opportunities or potlucks to attend and have fun.
- Volunteer – volunteering is a great way to meet people who share your core values and would make good friends.
After you have made some friendship connections, it is important to make the extra effort to stay in contact. You should regularly reach out to new friends. Call or text to say hello and see how they are doing. Ask about their lives and show interest in the things that are important to them.
And if a friendship does transform into a relationship, all the better. Friendship is the first thing you need and it is very important when it comes to developing a relationship. Being friends gives you the opportunity to get to know the person for who they are and gives you the opportunity to learn things about them that you would not have learned otherwise. By putting friendship before a relationship, you can easily decide whether they are someone that may be a potential romantic partner.
A friendship first approach centers around sharing fun and memorable experiences with the people we meet, and seeking to learn their stories and their preferences, free of any romantic expectations. Life feels more fulfilling with close friends. Plus, so much of the fun of falling in love is telling your friends all about it!
Jeri Rochman, JD, MS
Jeri Rochman, JD, MS, is the Advance LA Director of Community Outreach, a Life Skills Coach, National Board Certified Counselor and Certified Parent Educator. Interested in learning more about Advance LA’s services?