Making friends as an adult

Its all so easy when you are a kid. At school we are put in classes with others the same age as us. There are clubs where we can have fun with kids with similar interests. At a park or soft play, all you have to do is walk over to another child and say “Can I play?” or “Do you want to be my friend?” Most of the time the answer is yes.

Fast forward a few years. If you go to college or university, again you are put into a class. There are socials, freshers week and various clubs to join. If you have moved away from home and into the halls or dorms, everyone else is in the same boat. Everyone is new, wants to meet people and is open to making new friends.

But what if you are trying to make friends as an adult? What if you move to a new place or your circumstances change? How do you start over with meeting and getting to know people? It feels so much harder as an adult, especially if you are juggling work, home and family. I have moved to another city twice now. Both times it was for work and I didn’t know anyone except the family I was going to work for. I admit its scary but it is possible to find/make a new social circle and it can also be a lot of fun! Here are my tips.

Don’t be embarrassed

The first time I moved to a new city, I felt a bit embarrassed to be looking for friends. I was worried I would look sad or desperate, like that kid in secondary school who’s socially awkward and doesn’t really fit in. I’ve been there before… But the truth is a lot of people are in the same situation. They’ve moved to a new area, their other friends have coupled up and started having families, they’ve realised their interests have changed etc. This time around I don’t feel embarrassed and neither should you! Putting yourself out there doesn’t make you look sad or desperate, it makes you look brave. 

Think about your interests

Did you belong to any clubs when you were at school or university? What did you like doing in your spare time as a kid? Yes we have all grown up since then (in theory!) but thinking about your past interests can help you to discover activities that you would enjoy today. If you were very creative maybe you would enjoy an art class? Maybe you could learn a new skill such as knitting or pottery? If you were active is there a sports team you can join or a gym class you can sign up for? Where there are clubs and classes there are normally other people. If those people have similar interests then you already have something in common.

Find clubs/classes/groups that appeal to you

Following on from the last tip, find an activity or group to join. If you know what you are looking for, search google to see if there’s anything in your area. Local newspapers and notice boards in shops or supermarkets are another good place to find activities local to you. I also had a lot of success with meetup.com. Its free to sign up, you tick the kind of activities you are interested in and enter a search radius, say 10 miles from your postcode. All the groups in that area pop up, you can join any that look interesting and RSVP which meetups you would like to attend. Through this site I have gone to the cinema, had coffee/cake/lunch, gone snowboarding and driven quad bikes and hover crafts! There is something for everyone so why not give it a try?

Say Hello

Yes I know this one feels scary. I have always been shy and when I’m in a situation where I don’t know anyone, my first instinct is to leave or hide at the back and keep to myself. All I can say is the more you put yourself out of your comfort zone, the easier it will get. So when you are doing that art class say hello to the person sat next to you. Introduce yourself to as many people as possible when you attend that meetup group. Smile and be friendly. If it is your first meetup and you were really nervous, say that! Then watch as everyone else nods and starts sharing stories of how scared they were when it was their first time. Trust me, I have seen this happen many times!

Be patient

Remember that these things can take time. You might hit it off with someone straight away or it could be a bit trial and error until you find the right group for you. Have fun with it and try not to put pressure on yourself to be really social and make tons of friends. Do it at your own pace. 

I was inspired to write this post after joining more social groups as part of my Life Balance Project. What are your reasons for making more friends? Let me know in the comments below =)

Take care,

Hayley x

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Life Balance Project

Do you make New Years Resolutions? I don’t as such but I do set myself goals. This year I’ve decided to try something a little different. Often I complain that I don’t have a balanced life, it feels a bit like juggling and I regularly drop at least one ball. I want to create more balance. I want to feel more relaxed whilst also feeling that everything is under control. Crucially, I want to make time for everything and everyone that is important to me. I know its a big ask but with a little time and careful planning, I hope to prove its possible. I’m making 2019 the year of my Life Balance Project.

12 months to find balance

When I first decided that 2019 would be the year I attempt to find balance, I had no idea how to go about it. Over the last month I’ve done a bit of soul searching, brainstorming and plotting to work out what I want from this project and more importantly, how I can achieve it. I’m going to set myself 5 goals a month, each goal for a certain aspect of my life. First I needed to choose those 5 aspects of my life. I wanted 5 areas of my life that by focusing on each of them equally would keep me well rounded and help me achieve a sense of balance. Here are my 5 aspects and what each one means to me.

  • Well being Goals and activities that improve my sense of well being. For example, goals focused around routines, yoga, meditation and self care.
  • Relationships My friends and family are so important to me. However this section will include meeting new people as well as strengthening the bonds I already have.
  • Personal Growth Developing habits or skills that will help me grow as a person.
  • Money Unfortunately it does make the world go around. These goals will revolve around budgeting and continuing to save for a house deposit.
  • Organisation These goals will focus on organising myself and my time better.

A theme for every month

To plan out my year, I have set a theme for each month. My themes are influenced slightly by the seasons. For example, Spring makes me think of growth and new beginnings, whereas Autumn signifies changes, preparation and reflection. It makes sense to me to a line my goals with seasonal changes, it allows for some variety through the year and will also keep my goals relevant. Thinking of a suitable theme for each month was tough but I’m happy with what I decided on.

  • January: Fresh start
  • February: Making time
  • March: Hello Spring
  • April: Refresh
  • May: Blossom
  • June: Explore
  • July: Nature
  • August: Restore
  • September: Reflect
  • October: Hygge
  • November: Cherish
  • December: Festive

What I hope to achieve

Basically, a more rounded, less frantic, better put together life. Not asking for much am I? If you have read my other blog posts you might know that I recently moved to a new city on my own. Its actually the second time I’ve done this, I wrote a post called 5 things I learnt by moving away alone reflecting on the first time. I’m getting used to my new city but haven’t really had a chance to put down roots yet. A lot of my goals are going to focus on getting to know new people and really settle into my new city. I’m also hoping to become more organised and feel like a “proper adult”. I’m 28 and still feel like I’m trying to carve out a little space for myself in this new adult world of house deposits, pension schemes and overdrafts. Please tell me I’m not the only one who feels like this? 

My January goals post will be up in the next couple of days. I’m excited to get started, a new year, new month and new project! Are you making resolutions this year or are you doing something else? Let me know in the comments below =)

Take care,

Hayley x

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5 things I’ve learnt by moving away alone

5 things learnt moving away alone

In September 2016 I moved 250 miles away from home and family to be a live-in nanny. At the time I was taking a huge risk, moving to an area where I didn’t know anyone. I didn’t know how well I would cope with it or even if I would cope with it. Two years later, it was time for me to leave that family and I’ve recently moved again. The whole adventure was a really valuable experience and I learnt so much about myself. Here are the five main lessons I learnt by moving away alone.

Moving away actually brought me closer to my friends and family

They say absence makes the heart grow fonder, well it really does! When I traveled home for the weekend, I made sure to spend time with my friends and family, it made me appreciate them so much more.

My anxiety doesn’t have to hold me back

This is something I haven’t really discussed on this blog yet but from being a teenager I have suffered with anxiety and panic attacks. Between 2013-2016 I used to blog about my anxiety on another platform and it helped me immensely. I did worry that I wouldn’t be able to cope with being away from home and family because of my anxiety. The main worry was that I would be alone in my room having panic attack after panic attack. I did have panic attacks while I was living/working away but I worked through them and my anxiety didn’t hold me back. Also I realised that there is a difference between anxiety/panic and everyday stress, nerves and homesickness. I felt all of these emotions and that was ok, homesickness didn’t mean I would automatically have a panic attack, something else I had been concerned about.

I’m braver than I think¬†

During the whole experience I was really far out of my comfort zone. I grew so much and realised that I am capable of much more than I thought I was. I joined a few meetup groups to meet people and as a result of that I did indoor surfing, wake boarding, snowboarding, hovercraft driving, quad biking and jumped 125ft off the top of a wind tunnel!¬†Through all of that I realised I’m braver than I give myself credit for.

Meeting strangers gets easier the more I do it

The first meetup I went to, I was so nervous about introducing myself to a group of strangers that I almost turned around and went home. I’m so glad I didn’t! Meeting people for the first time, especially in groups, is scary but I found the more I did it the easier it was. I’m not an extrovert and I’ll never be a social butterfly but I was able to meet people and make friends through meet up groups.

Ultimately I’m a home bird but that doesn’t mean I can’t spread my wings!

The main thing I learnt is that although I loved the experience of being away from home, I feel miserable if I’m away for too long. When I was driving home for a weekend it was a 500 mile round trip! When I left that job and returned home, I knew that I wanted to work away again but I needed to be closer, for my own happiness. Just last week I moved away again to another job. The big difference is I’m now only a 2 hour drive away instead of 5! Its early days but I already feel much happier as a result.

Have you moved away alone? What did you take from the experience? Let me know in the comments below =)

Take care,

Hayley x

 

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