I often hear from those that have lost a spouse that one of the hardest things for them to witness is an elderly couple walking hand-in-hand. It’s not so much the romance they wistfully lament but the implied companionship that this couple is sharing. After all, friendship is the foundation upon which all lasting romantic relationships are built.
If you are not having much luck in the romance department, try another avenue to solve this dilemma. Take some time to concentrate on simply making new friends. An added benefit of new friends is that it exponentially expands your social circle, which can give you an opportunity to meet lots of new people. One of them may be a romantic candidate just right for you!
Additionally, feelings of isolation are also often felt by those who are mourning someone other than a spouse. Taking steps to once again participate in life, and making new friends in the process, is a healthy way to overcome those feelings.
10 TIPS on HOW and WHERE TO MEET NEW FRIENDS
1. The easiest way to meet people with whom you share common interests is to take a class or join a group that centers on one of your hobbies. This way you will already have a built-in starting point with the other members.
2. Be kind to yourself, and be a friend to yourself. Open your heart and allow yourself to be liked and loved.
3. Be open to honest and kind conversation. Balance your safety and your wariness of others that may cause you to question if someone has an ulterior motive for befriending you.
4. “Let’s get together soon” is too nebulous a statement when making plans. Decide upon a specific date and time to meet. This assures it WILL happen!
5. Always keep your word. Don’t say you’ll call and then forget to do so. Remember, someone else is counting on your personal contact with him or her.
6. Smile at people. You would be surprised how many others respond and appreciate the good will and warmth you are spreading. It is an inexpensive way to make yourself and others “light up” inside and out.
7. “What goes around, comes around.” Be the friend you would like to have, and others will reciprocate in kind. Keep Ralph Waldo Emerson’s words in mind: “The only way to have a friend is simply be his friend.”
8. Reach out to those less fortunate than you. Help others, personally or through an organization. Your life will be enriched by your good deeds.
9. Allow yourself to be happy and content. Your positive attitude will attract others to you. Everyone likes to be with positive people.
10. Initiate conversation. There's no rule that says you have to wait for someone to approach you first. Be the first to say hello, and you will be surprised how many people will respond to this simple, but brave, gesture.
Although there are many other ways to make and keep friends, I think Albert Camus captured the essence of friendship when he said, “Don’t walk behind me; I may not lead. Don’t walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.”
Ellen Gerst is a grief and relationship coach and workshop leader. She is the author of several books on both topics, including: Suddenly Single: How To Move From Loss To Renewal; Understanding Grief From A to Z; 101 Tips and Thoughts on Coping With Grief; How To Mourn: Help For Those Who Grieve and the Ones Who Support Them; Love After Loss: Writing The Rest of Your Story and Understanding Dating and Relationships From A to Z. For a full roster of her books, visit herwebsite bookstore or Amazon. Connect with Ellen on Facebook to receive tips on how to find love after loss.