Learning how to make and keep friendships can be scary, especially if you don’t have a lot of practice. One way to overcome your fears is to find a safe space where talking with others who have similar disabilities and concerns about making friends can be found. Young adult friendships can be harder to forge than friends that are made as young children. When you are little, your parents sign you up for activities, take you to school, bring you to church, or take you to community events. As a young adult, you are responsible for finding new ways to make friends.
When you don’t have any relationships outside of your family, you begin to understand why friends are important. There are many benefits of friendships that can help take young adults into more independent and fulfilling lives, but it all starts with taking that first and most important step. All Friends Network hopes to be that online friend network for young adults with autism, cerebral palsy, and other developmental disabilities that helps our members to make and keep friendships for a lifetime. It starts with online communications through our website and Live-LINK app but grows to include real life gatherings, events, and outings that are perfect for practicing your friend-making skills with real people.
Why Friendship Matters
Positive friendships should be the goal of every individual as they grow and progress in life. Friends are the people who encourage us to do more, be better, and try harder – no matter what it is we want to do or who we want to become. Young kids progress into teenagers, supported socially and emotionally by the friendships that they forge in school. As those teens become young adults, they may see some of their friends move on and move away, going to college or relocating with their careers or relationship. Lots of young adults will find themselves in the position of need to learn how to make new friends.
For those with developmental disabilities, young adult friendships can be even more challenging, especially if they don’t have a lot of opportunities to get out and meet people. Having friendships as an adult can be beneficial to your health. This is not just a mental or emotional type of benefit, but a full physical being advantage that comes from being able to talk with people who understand and genuinely care about your well-being. Venting about worries, stress, and anxiety can help you to cope with real life situations, such as problems with a job, family members, or concerns about changes as you grow into full-blown adulthood.
Making Young Adult Friendships
It is crucial for young adults who do not have any friendships outside of their close family and relatives to find opportunities that will help them to meet new people. Concerns about putting yourself out there are completely normal. Everyone, regardless of their disabilities or abilities, has the same worries from time to time. All Friends Network strives to create a safe space for young adults to get out in the world and meet new people who have similar backgrounds, interests, and goals. As an online friend network for young adults and people with developmental disabilities of all ages, we are working to achieve our vision to help people find lifelong friendships.
Currently, in the works are programs designed not just o provide real life opportunities to make friends but also to provide resources designed to encourage, support, and teach our members life skills that they can use in the real world. Online educational training videos, small seminars, and one-on-one sessions for our All Friends Network members are planned and will help make it easier to start conversations and make new friends. We are also planning to work with employment agencies to facilitate opportunities for members who are looking for job placement. Training will even be available to help individuals prepare a professional resume to support their quest for more independent living.
Interested in joining All Friends Network or participating in our Live-LINK app? Contact our team directly via the website to learn more about all of the resources, programs, and events that are available for our members. You can also call us directly by dialing 941-587-7172 and speaking with one of our team members about your interest in our social and educational programs.