Sociologists in the 1950s realised there was a science to making friends. They came to the conclusion that true friendship relies heavily on three key conditions. Even today with our digital lives the core theories still remains true.
But why is it so hard to make friends in London?
Have you been to endless meetup groups, lessons, social clubs and have a big list of acquaintances to pick from? You can have a drink once a month with your acquaintances – but you need to give your acquaintances 2 weeks notice first!
An acquaintance is not a real friend. A friend is someone you call in case of emergencies – someone you trust.
There are real challenges making friends in London, here are just a few you will encounter…
London is small compared to other cities but it seems that travelling too far from East to West or North to South is too much effort for many new friends. Unreliable transport links and friends busy lives prohibit last minute or impromptu meet ups.
You have to arrange meetups well in advance and when the day finally comes, you quickly catch up and then your friends has to leave after a couple of hours to get the tube or train home. How can you have a proper friendship with someone you see for 3 hours once every two months?
The definition of transience is something that lasts only for a short period of time. That’s typical of many people who move to London. Either they came from abroad and their visa expires and they need to return home or their flatmates are a night mare and they need to find new accommodation.
In addition jobs tend to last a year or two – which is great for your career in many ways, but it doesn’t help your social life. Everyone is constantly moving, friendships are short-lived and easily forgotten.
3) Meetups in London suck
You go to a meetup in London for the second time and the whole group is made up of completely different people! You have a friend here and an acquaintance there, most of the time they are not compatible so you keep them apart from each other. Friendships in London take time but nobody has time for friendships.
4) The English are shy
Is that true? Its difficult to say. It seems the English are very bad at taking the initiation. When an English person does come out for a drink they might have a great time but that doesn’t mean they will contact you next time. It becomes uncomfortable chasing after friends all the time doesn’t it?
Mediterranean cultures where you are surrounded by family and friends and you know all your neighbours is something you may not experience in London.
5) Feeling ashamed of making new friends
You shouldnt feel ashamed of wanting to make new friends in London. There are many reasons why you should just go out and be yourself. Perhaps you have moved area, you have moved countries, your old friends have settled down to have children. You shouldn’t have to justify to someone why you want to keep in touch with them. Keeping in touch with new people you have met is critical to turning an acquaintance into a friend.
So now onto the 3 Keys To Fostering Friendship…
Being physically close to new friends for extended periods of time naturally lends itself to friendship. Think about your school friends. What happened when you moved away? It got harder to stay in touch. You drifted apart from most of them. Seeing what an old friend is up to on Facebook is fine, but if you don’t correspond regularly you are not true friends.
Introduce yourself to your neighbours. Do you know the names of the people who physically live right next to you? That has to change. Your first foray into making friends should be introducing yourself to your neighbours. Give them a gift, take delivery of a parcel, anything to get your foot in the door. You’ll want to meet them anyway, as you will need them at some point in the future for certain.
-Regular & Random Interactions
If you live near a new friend and bump into them in the street it makes it easier to maintain your friendship. These are not planned meetups. These are occasions when your paths cross randomly. By choosing to do your shopping, drinking, exercise, etc. within your local area – you increase the chance of randomly meeting a friend. The second type of interaction is “Regular”. In other words you know a new friend is going to be in a certain place every week and you are there too. Hobbies and group sports are very good for making friends for this reason.
Make detailed plans. 84-year-old entrepreneur Roger Horchow says, “You can’t just say, ‘Let’s get together sometime.’ You could be dead by then.” This is true. With new friends make concrete plans and things will work out well.
When youre studying you can meet lots of new friends through your classes or your living arrangements. If you meet a friend through a sports team, part-time job, club, or association, thats a bonus. Once those days are gone your hobbies become a lot more important. People who have social hobbies have a much easier time making friends when they move to a new city such as London.
-A venue of vulnerability
Vulnerability normally applies to relationships. But in the context of making friends you need to be in a setting where people let their guard down and truly be who they are. When you first meet new friends they tend to be cautious. They won’t show their true selves and neither will you. New friends are more likely to open up when you meet in a small pub versus meeting just to play football and then going home. It’s in smaller and more personal settings that initial friendship grows.
Open your house for meals and get-togethers. This is can be scary at first. Once you make acquaintances this is a good way to let them know you want to be friends. If you have something in common, eg Djing, playing video games – all the better!