While it seems as though making friends as a kid is just easy-peasy, there are still some basic skills that children must learn in order to make a real friendship. Being friends is more than just sitting next to each other in school, at lunch, or playing on the same piece of equipment at the playground; friendship is about forging a bond over a common interest or goal. Making friends as an adult can be even more challenging. Finding unique opportunities to make friends can be hard enough, but so is developing social ability, confidence, and finding the right way to strike up a conversation. All Friends Network was created to provide people with developmental disabilities to have access to community engagement opportunities, online networking, and supportive resources to help them learn how to make friends. Social skills and autism can be difficult to overcome, but it is not impossible.
Step One: Take the First Step
This might sound too simple, but the first step in developing social ability and making friends is to take that first, often challenging, step and just put yourself out there. Take the initiative to speak with others, attend planned community engagement opportunities, and focus on learning how to talk to someone new in a social situation.
Step Two: Join an Organization
All Friends Network offers unique opportunities to make friends and overcome issues with social skills and autism. Our online resources and support programs, interactive Live-LINK app for members, and real-life events are all designed to help create community engagement opportunities to help individuals gain the confidence they need to learn how to make friends.
Step Three: Be a Friendly Person
You can’t make friends if you have resting grump face. Learn how to be a friendly person and engage with others. Smile, say hello when introduced to someone new, and learn how to listen when others are talking about themselves. Think about the qualities that you would like to see in a new friend and figure out how to show others that you are that kind of person, yourself!
Step Four: Share Your Interests
Sometimes all it takes to forge a friendship bond with someone is to discover that you have a common interest. Shared interests can become excellent opportunities to make friends. Learn how to talk about your hobbies or join a group that focuses on your interests to find like-minded individuals who might make good friends. Your commonality might be something small – remember, you don’t have to like all of the same things as the other person to become really good friends.
Step Five: Be a Listener
No one likes meeting someone new only to have to listen to them talk about themselves for hours on end. That being said, learn how to be a good listener when someone else talks without feeling the need to butt in and comment on everything that is being said. Consider attending lectures or seminars where you can practice your listening skills to work on developing social ability.
Step Six: Look for Friends in All the Right Places
Joining a group like All Friends Network for those with developmental disorders can help you find community engagement opportunities both online and in real life. Opportunities to make friends don’t come around every day, so make sure you keep up with the member schedule and attend events whenever possible. These events are for members-only, so you don’t have to worry about outsiders barging in on your conversations that don’t understand where you’re coming from as you work on overcoming social skills and autism.
Step Seven: Don’t Expect Too Much
Even as you are developing social ability and learning how to make new friends, don’t expect too much from every event or community engagement opportunities that you attend. There’s someone out there for everyone, but it might take a few events and experiences before you find your new best friend. Be patient, and don’t become discouraged if you don’t find a lifelong friend right away.
Contact All Friends Network
If you would like to learn more about overcoming issues with social skills and autism or any other developmental disability, make sure to contact All Friends Network right away. We have planned a lot of resources, support, and opportunities to make friends for our members now and in the future. Give us a call at 941-587-7172 to find out how to join our growing network of friends.