Hey. Want to be my friend? Sure. And you go off…hand in hand into the sunset to play with pieces of bark, climb the jungle gym, or skip rope. I just made a new friend like this yesterday. Actually, that’s not true. I wish it was.
As you enter what seems like a new era in your life, making friends should be this easy, right? Not so. I feel like I am personally stuck in some limbo place where I don’t know what to do. My girls are both, ahhh, both going to be in high school now. However, some of my friends have younger kids. They seem to have more time to meet new people because they are in that “I still have to drive everywhere, and go to play dates, etc” phase.
I also have friends who don’t have children, or have kids who have been out of the house a long time. I want to let you in on a little secret. This in-between limbo place is hard. I feel like other people have it together in this area, and I look around and wonder if I just don’t “people” well. I probably don’t to be honest because I don’t fit in with the norm…and I like it that way to a certain extent. Working alone doesn’t give me time to socialize face to face.
The difference now, is that people who are in their 40’s actually remember a time when we used to get together. A time when we had dinner parties, house warmings, Christmas open houses, or just come by for a beverage nights. So what can someone do to make new friends and rekindle this lost art of socializing?
How to make friends after 40:
- You have to be open to the possibility. Meaning, it might take you out of your comfort zone and you might actually have to say “Hey. That looks like fun. Can I come too?” <<< Now I know this seems like you are inviting yourself, but you are reaching out to see what the response is. New friendships don’t just happen and maybe there seems to be the same ole’ crew doing things, and they aren’t aware that you might like to come to. You can hint at it, but I actually suggest just outright saying that you’d be interested in x, y, or z event as well. See what happens from there. I bet they didn’t think you’d be interested.
- Announce it on your status. Sadly, most people will read your status before they call, text or ask you what’s up, right? So say “Hey. I am thinking about getting a paint night together on x date. Comment if you’re in.” Boom. You have a night out planned.
- Make a private list in your journal of what you like to do and what types of people you actually want to attract. I don’t cross-stitch. I just threw that out there because I am not going to find new friends at a sewing circle. I do yoga, hike, walk in the woods (almost the same thing, but not quite), drink wine, be a hermit, go to the mountains, read books, garden, write, journal, listen to 80’s music, pet dogs, be a geek, like to eat food that’s gluten-free, and occasionally paint bad paintings at expensive paint nights. I could go on, but you get my drift. I would like to attract people who kind of like the same things as me or at least have a few things in common with me. The hermit part is actually important because I need friends who ask me to do things, yet understand if I say no because insert hermity excuse. << it doesn’t mean I don’t want to see people, it just means not then.
- Join online groups of like-minded people. After you have your list, check out places like Meetup.com and/or local FB groups. Also, you can always volunteer at a local museum or hospital. What if there’s nothing on the list that you like? Start your own if you want. Announce in those NextDoor app places that you are having a book club on x night to read Harry Potter again for the 100th time and anyone who wants to discuss the new things you found after this 100th reading can come over. Wear your house colors though.
Some people say that it’s a matter of lifestyle and what’s important to you. That if you want to make friends, you really will find a way, not an excuse. I agree with that to be honest. I know that I use excuses to back out of things (I’m in a nest today. I’m writing. It’s cold.), but lately I looked up and felt panic. Holy Crap. My kids are almost in college. I need to make more of an effort. And I do believe there’s time for us all to make more of an effort no matter your age. So let go of the “My house is a mess” excuse, and start planning an event. I’ll bring the wine or gluten-free snacks. If you tell me I can wear my pajamas over that’s a plus.
Interested in uniting separately in your own homes to work together with my like-minded journal therapy group? Read more here >>> HHH Club <<<
I am always fascinated by research…particularly genetic research after discovering all the things I inherited that I choose to overcome. One of the things that I read while researching the feeling of being alone was this.
A 2007 study published in the journal Genome Biology found loneliness could be in our genes. The team of researchers discovered a distinct pattern of gene expression in immune cells in participants who suffered from chronic loneliness. These feelings of solitude were associated with changes in gene expression that drive inflammation — known as one of the first responses of the immune system.
Hold up. This can drive inflammation? Well what if you prefer solitude and don’t necessarily feel lonely? What then? Because I do have autoimmune and inflammation is the last thing I need. So let me ponder this out with you guys.
I have long thought that social media today makes some young people feel alone and like an outcast. Why? Because I have seen it happen in my own household. My youngest daughter was not invited to an outing where every single person she knew appeared to be there. All the photos. Inside I was livid. All the people she sat with were there…what game were these girls playing because believe me, I didn’t raise anyone to play these games. So how do I go about teaching the difference between being alone and being lonely? Enjoying solitude, yet feeling at peace and not excluded?
Now let’s look at the elderly. They don’t have social media and can feel alone as well; however, they pick up the phone and call people. They have found strong mental habits like thinking of their loved ones who might have passed on with fond memories knowing they lived a great life together. They make church dates, and meetings, and try to get out and keep up their old habits.
Between the generations it is sad to say that we are losing some of the things that make us mentally strong and foster these slight difference in being alone and being okay with it, and feeling isolated and cut off, which is not the same.
So how can we go about creating new patterns that make us feel less alone?
- List the top 3 people who you have not talked to in a while, but would like to. Do you have their actual phone number OR could you Skype with them? No texting. Make it a face-to-face meeting or a phone call.
- List 3 hobbies you could do OUTSIDE of your house where you might meet people of like minds. No computer stuff unless you are going to look for a Meet Up near you. In this day and age it is important to get out.
- Write a letter to a pen pal. Yup. I am way old school, but this was fun back in the day. You never knew when you might get a letter. I remember giving my friend in Australia my address and getting a card. I later sent her a package of some sort. It was pretty cool to me. Now, I don’t know much about this site, but here you go. And no this is not a hook-up as far as I can tell…but always be careful.
What would you do if you were lonely?
- You might decide it’s too much trouble talking to anyone in the “real world” and play video games or watch T.V. without actually making new real life friends. <<< Instead, grab your journal and write about the qualities a supportive friend might have.
- You might decide to drink alcohol…alone. <<< Instead make a green smoothie, a cup of tea, or a fruit water and look online at your local gym memberships. You can always just walk the treadmill, but you are getting out.
- Get invited to things, but never actually leave the house. <<< Be careful here. There is a difference in resting and deciding that you are always too tired to go out. I have been there so I feel like I can say that to you. I make it a point to tell my group of friends that I want to get together monthly.
In the end, what I have found while working with my group coaching members is that action actually makes us feel better! Write this down. If you would like to meet some new friends online in a safe environment, I invite you to join us in the Head|Heart|Health Club. We work our way through our thoughts and how to control them, through our hearts and how to foster worthiness and love, and through our overall health and wellness thus creating a more meaningful and fulfilling life no matter where we are in the world. This is right for you if you are ready to move forward from stuck to unstuck and from indecision to clarity. Speak to you soon! ~Aimee
The news is depressing. Your feed is depressing. The world feels…well depressing right now. It’s like a wet cloak…on a cold day. You know you need to shrug it off to get warm, but where can you go to find warmth?
You look around to the chaos that is out there and you just don’t know where to go. I’ll admit that I was like this for a very long time. Then one day, I really have no idea what changed, but I decided I had enough. I decided to say one positive quote a day to all my friends on social media. Then I decided to blog.
If you use the search button with the drop-down of months and you go back a few years to the beginning, you will likely “read” me in a whole different way. I was diagnosed with secondary depression after getting a bunch of invisible diseases...that had no cure. Note, that word links to a search on the term “invisible diseases” so you can read my raw, angry, old posts.
I never delete a blog post though…as I want you to be able to see my progression with not only my health, but my feelings. As I started to practice focusing on the positives in my life, my life started to change.
I had been stuck, and was slowly, miraculously, getting UNSTUCK in all areas of my life. I started being able to move again without pain…which was amazing. I started my yoga teacher journey, which was painful in the beginning yet extraordinary in the fact that I was able to complete 200 hours of Vinyasa Yoga Teach Training. Me. Me who had hardly been able to move.
I started being asked to do important work…work that I had always wanted to do like to speak in London. I wanted to change people’s lives after learning that I could truly move forward in life.
So what changed?
- Me. I had to get to rock bottom. It sucked there. Quite simply put it was like hell. But one of my favorite quotes always said “If you’re going through hell, keep going.” and I believe ole’ Churchill was right.
- I had to tame my thoughts. Erm mah gosh y’all. My mind was like a mess. A hot mess…except I was cold all the time, but you get the picture. Thoughts create stress, and then the spiral starts. I wasn’t sure if I was anxious or depressed. So I did what I do best and wrote about it all to help others.
- I started writing more…because that’s what I do best. I found out how therapeutic writing was and how it changes the thought patterns. Releases stress and lets you clear your mind. It literally became an itch in the night on nights the pain was so bad I couldn’t sleep. I would write it out.
- I learned to be grateful. I am never the same person year after year, and for that I am thankful. Gratitude in the little things was so important to me. It helped calm the mind and turn my emotions into a point on which to focus. The pain was no longer the focus. The present moment was.
- My well-being changed. There are still days I need reminders. No one is perfect, okay? But I practice this constant state of being more mindful than I was on say an off day. Being more grateful or more appreciative.
- Old me got angry really fast…gratitude helped me slow down my emotions. I am not going to pretend that the Scorpio doesn’t still have her moments; however, I use my sensitive side to tap into the world. I feel what’s going on, like in slow motion, under the surface, and think about what I can be learning in this situation. What can I be thankful for? Sometimes, it’s things like “I am thankful I have yoga.” But whatever it is, I use it in my head because maybe the other person doesn’t have this kind of support or system and really just needs my compassion at that moment.
- Surround yourself with what you want to become…became my mantra. My quote. That I use daily. It was so important to me to be able to offer that gift to others that I recently completed my course on using gratitude to shape your life and would love it if you are interested in joining the journey. For the E-book only, click this link.
Ultimately, we are on this earth for a short while and I believe I was put here to help others wake up to the fact that we really do have the power to say this is not how my story is going to go. The truth is, gratitude can move you forward in life and make the unbearable things more bearable. While increasing your level of gratitude you are actually increasing your health and wellness. You are learning to change your self-talk and that’s a powerful thing. I hope to see you in my group soon. Thank you so much for reading!
I took a quick poll last week about the topics that my readers wanted to hear more about and this was one of the top three! So to clarify for everyone out there, relationships don’t have to be romantic; however, I have been married for 18 years and this year marks year 20 with my college sweetheart. My best-friend from elementary school and I have been friends for almost as old as I am…which is to say a long time. Additionally, I have the greatest group of girlfriends who meet on a regular basis and are not afraid to let vulnerability be discussed. Has it always been this way? Heck no!! All of the above relationships have been through some twists and turns, but I did pick up a few tips along the way.
5 Tips for Developing Healthy Relationships Today:
- Open lines of communication are the number one tip that I have for you today, and that includes the “trust factor”. If you don’t trust your partner, your friends, or your family, how are you going to be open? You aren’t. You will always hold part of yourself back and that could even border on holding back the truth which will further work to damage the trust. I had a friend for a number of years who I genuinely cared about; however, that being said, each and every time we talked she would hide things or craft some sort of story that never seemed to be quite the truth. Time after time things were missing in our conversations. I ignored these signs, until one day I simply could not. The trust factor has to be there or the relationship will not be able to move forward.
- You have to be able to accept criticism that is honest and meant to help you grow. That being said, if this criticism comes from a harsh argument, it will not be effective at all. Moreover, you should develop active or reflective listening. In active listening, we are genuinely interested in understanding what the other person is thinking, feeling, wanting, or what the message means, and we are able to process this as a type of feedback. This is hard. It is. But I have seen it done with my group of girlfriends. One of them recently went through a divorce and has developed this skill through that process. She brings questions to the table about things and genuinely wants to know what we all think or how we feel. It has strengthened our friendship whereas before, she did not want to listen to advice before as it was painful to her. She is really trying hard to separate fact from feeling as she actively listens to our advice about whatever she is asking. It also helps that we are not giving her unsolicited advice. We are all there to lift her up.
- Develop and hone in on your compassion and empathy. Remember how I dislike the word judge? Icky. It makes us feel like we are on trial; however, there is a thing called discernment and that is different. We become aware of the emotional response and might know what triggers our friends, partners and family members. We then try to come at it from a place of compassion. We are more open and connected to what is going on this way and can tap into our inner intuition about what is really at the root of a problem. This saves us. It reminds us to speak from love.
- Remember to have boundaries. It is important to remember how to separate your feelings from that of your friends and partners. Likewise, it is important to know you can’t heal them emotionally. That is their job and not yours. One of my favorite memes recently has the little guy holding the jar of happiness and his friend comes over and says “Where did you get that?” And little guy says “I made it myself.” BOOM! Microphone drops. Have boundaries on your emotions before they get drained.
- Make time for the relationship…that isn’t on technology. The phones. The phones. They are everywhere. When trying to communicate they are a distraction. Make time by shutting off the technology and creating a sacred space for you to unwind and be real. This can be weekly, or monthly depending on your schedule, but try to get outside as well and enjoy some much-needed fresh air with your friend or loved one. It’s not only a lifesaver…but a relationship saver as well.
Want to know more about how to journal yourself to a better you? Read more under 4 Weeks to Wellness.
Plans were broken yet again. Didn’t come through when you needed them. You actually feel drained physically and emotionally after being around someone. You start to make excuses in your head why your friend leaves you hanging…and the excuses start piling up. Does any of this sound familiar to you? There is nothing worse than a promise broken. It leaves you feeling unsupported, unloved, unwanted and unappreciated. I have been there many times.
When I reach the point that my presence feels like a burden on a person or even a business establishment, I decide that I don’t need them in my life anymore. I am not a burden to be passed off and treated as if I could be discarded at any time. No. In fact, I am a gift to the world and so are you. So are you my friend.
5 Reasons You Need Supportive People in Your Life
- They LIFT you up. LIFT. Higher and higher. They actually help raise your vibrational energy to a higher level which then supports you physically and mentally. This feeling leaves you feeling full as if they were sharing some positive energy with you. You know people like this in your life and you need to make time for them to be around you more.
- They keep their promises. They understand the value of saying you are going to be there for someone or something and they live up to the integrity of their word. It’s the old school “My word is my bond.” thing and I love it. Your word SHOULD be your bond. Think about it. If not, who is going to believe you anymore? It’s like the whole boy who cried wolf scenario. People got tired of listening to his ass too. <<< Truth.
- They make time for you. My friends started showing up at my yoga classes. Secretly, it’s not like I didn’t want them there, it meant the world to me. But I didn’t want to let them down at first because I was nervous. I then realized, HEY. Wait a minute. They are making time for me!!! Yes. This is what it is about. It’s about support. If I suck, they will honestly give me some feedback on what I can do to make this class better. And I will be okay. <<<< I was okay and we went for beverages after.
- They talk to you…FACE to face. I worry about the “Next Generation” and not in a Star Trek kind of way. I worry because my daughter’s text are like this “WYD”. “IDK, WYD.” For real. That is garbage and you need to talk on the phone. Tonight is the night before her first day of high school. I SPENT HOURS talking to me BFF, who I am still friends with to this day, on the phone. In person. At her house, and knew every family member. You need to know your people. Your tribe. Your community. You need to feel welcome with their people. If you don’t, it might be time to move on.
- You feel loved and supported. This one is really important. If you had to count on someone to be there for you, do you have a list of people who would drop anything and everything to be by your side and do whatever it is you need them to do? I do have a small list. It’s okay if it’s at least 1 person, but find that one person. Find them and don’t you know, stalk them or anything, but let them know you feel supported and truly appreciate they have done for you. Sometimes supporting people means telling them things they might not want to hear, but you have to be able to speak your truth to them. If you can’t, they aren’t the right people.
So your task, beautiful gift to the world, is to go out and find those who support you and give back to you. Filling your cup, your bucket, your pool up to brimming. Make time for these people. Make time. For these are the people who will be there for you when you need them and they will stand in their truth beside you and support you as you live your truth. Go forth and lift up a friend today.
If you are in need of a supportive online group of friends, all working towards the same goals, please click Head|Heart|Health Club.
Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: “What! You too? I thought I was the only one. ~C. S. Lewis
Do you ever meet someone and things just instantly click? How about over time, you come to realize someone you weren’t quite sure about at first, has crept into your heart and you realize that you would miss them if they weren’t in your life? However your friendship starts, it takes lots and lots of nourishment to keep it going. Just like any relationship worth having.
One of the hardest things when you get older, is to keep friendships alive that might seem to be dying off. I know that when I was growing up, we’d call each other on the phone and make plans all the time. But once you are not in close proximity anymore, it really takes a more proactive approach that some people just don’t seem to have time for. The truth is, we are all busy so that’s just an excuse…it’s time to call friends, on the phone, and not just message or text them. I know that seems quick and easy, but there’s something about hearing your friend’s voice even a few times a month that can really make a difference.
3 ways to build strong..er friendships
- Talk it out. Even if you don’t always agree, arguments can be a sign that you still care enough about the other person to be concerned about a certain behavior. If you didn’t care, you might not bring it up. If they care about you, they will make time to listen to what you have to say and hear you out. Not just jumping to the worst conclusion. If they do that, well, it might be a sign that even when you talk, they only hear what they want to hear.
- They make time for you…face time. I know that we have all had those friends who couldn’t get together unless they needed something. If you want to get together, they have x, y, and z to do. But if the latest band is in town and they want to go, they text you. That’s not what I’m talking about. Proactive friendships are different. You enjoy spending time together and there doesn’t have to be an event, reason, or purpose. As a matter of fact, before you leave that outing/meeting/movie or whatever, you make time in your calendar right then for the next meeting. You are truly glad to get together…and it doesn’t feel like the other person is hiding anything or just making excuses when you ask what they are doing on a certain night.
- Seek balance in the friendship. Sometimes, it seems you are the only one putting in all the effort. At other times, you might be the only one making all the plans…asking when you can get together or even being the first one to text…without much response if any. During those times, it can be easy to assume that perhaps the friendship is not working out. Maybe the other person is truly not aware they are constantly giving you the brush off, or maybe they are. But at a certain point, it’s time to realize that you are carrying the friendship alone. There is no balance. A proactive friendship is one that really makes you feel good about your friend. You get together, you call, you actually carry out plans that you make. You don’t feel let down by constant broken plans, or empty promises. A balanced friendship makes you feel great. You have someone who you can count on no matter what.
I saw something on Facebook last week that made me think of writing this post. A person said she knew her “friends” had read the message she sent them as it said so, and they just didn’t respond. Not only that, but she was liking and commenting on things her “friends” did, but no one seemed to do the same for her. I understand how once in a while, messages can get missed. But if you rely solely on messages as a form of communication with a friend, well, that might be a problem as well. It’s time to look at your friendships closely. Are you being proactive and sharing the responsibilities or are you just too “busy” to keep up? Want more tips that you can use and a real support group? Read more here >> The Club with Soul <<
Hey y’all! Guess what? People seem to like me!! I have friends:) So this weekend was a certain erm birthday. My husband isn’t known for planning things. That isn’t his fault necessarily…it’s just the way things are. However, in my family, birthdays have always been a big deal. So my mom planned to take me shopping…and everyone came along. The kids, my dad and good ole’ hubby.
We went to the outlets…but it was like they were giving away free puppies or something. So it wasn’t really a good idea. I did enjoy myself in one store, but after that, I was like, oh yeah, this is why I do not shop. I don’t. I can’t stand the commercialization of things. Lines out the door just to get $5 off or whatever. Maybe you all like it, but meh. I don’t.
So anyway, it was all they could do to keep me out to a certain time. But when we finished dinner, I told them I was coming home to put on my special comfy jammies…I bought myself for my birthday. Shh. I did. I bought erm these like snuggie, zip up long john things. Hahahaha. But seriously. I did.
But surprise!! People were coming over to my house…and some were already in my house. And it was wonderful because they had food and things. Ok, they had wine. But the food was gluten-free and that was oh so thoughtful that they went to that kind of trouble for little ole me. But I had to stay in real clothes…but that was ok. We had a fire pit and we talked. I miss talking to people. I did pick up my phone to snap a few photos, but really almost forgot to do that. So I appreciate the party because it was about being real again. Talking and being in the moment. The one that is right now. Now tomorrow, or a few days from now, or I have to do x,y,z because x, y, z will be there. Please connect in the here and now with your peeps. They will be ever so thankful and appreciative…and grateful.
And they will be really HAPPY.
I was talking to my friend in another time zone last night, holla, and we were discussing people who bring us down. Basically it boils down to who has time for you, and who has decided you are not important in their life. Either they don’t “say” anything to you on the book of face, they don’t respond to your messages, or for some inexplicable reason, they delete you without even saying why. What did you ever do to them? Probably nothing. For real. Maybe it was something said in passing and you didn’t even mean it that way or it was told third person by some other person or they read into your silly FB status that wasn’t even meant for them. Humph, I’ll show them, I’ll cowardly delete them without ever asking is everything okay? Ha. Well, this is what I have to say to them:
Or maybe I feel like this:
Whew. Antoine you met your match. Well, let me just tell you something right now folks. Can you count on one hand the times those people messaged you when you were sick? Doubtful. Can you recall a time out of the blue they checked on you? Nope. So, basically “Ain’t nobody got time for that” applies here. Friendship is a two-way street as always. People who care about you WILL and DO make time for you. Others make excuses. End of story.
“I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw something back.” ~Maya Angelou
So I recently read this article that said “social exclusion literally feels cold”. Let’s say for example, you have the chance to hibernate or go out with friends. Pick go out with friends or invite them over and enact a scene from Cougar Town. Well, just the wine in the giant glass part. If you are lucky enough to have a friend with a warm, toasty fireplace, hope they invite you over to ponder random questions of the universe. Another thing you can do to stay warm is snuggle. Snuggling helps release that feel-good hormone, oxytocin. My husband decided to take it one step further lately. If I sound stressed he says stuff like “Don’t make me come in there and kiss you.” Yes, I know. You want to gag now. Go for it.
Moving on, a hot beverage always makes me feel better and perhaps umm pinning some stuff on Pinterest too. While sipping said beverage. Okay, and I microwave this warm heated thingy and put it behind me while sitting on the couch. Don’t tell anyone…it makes me sound like I’m almost 40 or something. Yikes. You can always make a nice crock-pot full of veggie soup or just eat some Wasabi. Whew. That always warms me right up. Anyway, I missed my own motivational post this week (not because I wasn’t motivated, but due to being sick). So hopefully this will motivate you to snuggle or have friends over. Or snuggle with friends. Whatever floats your boat. Be back with regular posts as soon as I can.
“Winter is the time of promise because there is so little to do – or because you can now and then permit yourself the luxury of thinking so.” ~Stanley Crawford