If you’ve been through a toxic relationship with a narcissist, chances are that when it’s all said and done, you might look around and find that you’re all alone – most of your friends and close family members have been pushed away.
This may have happened due to the fact that your abuser pushed them away from you in various ways – or, you may have done it yourself to keep the peace.
Fact: Narcissists need to keep you as alone as possible so they can control you – and isolation is one of the tactics they use to do that. And in many cases, narcissists also use straight up, directly overt social exclusion as a way to invalidate and further control you.
As survivors of narcissistic abuse, we also need to recognize the fact that we ourselves change profoundly due to our abusive, toxic relationships – and not always in positive ways. (C-PTSD is no picnic!)
And then once we are ready to change our lives, we find that our friends have moved on without us – and sometimes, in ways that don’t necessarily make it easy to reconnect – stuff like marriages, children, jobs and moving house can really change a person’s life and priority list – and chances are, you’re already well-aware of it.
The fact is that toxic relationships inevitably lead to narcissists isolating us from other people in our lives, including our friends, and more often than not, we find ourselves feeling lonely in our recovery from narcissistic abuse.
Of course you feel like you’re on your own, especially if you’re transitioning through a divorce or even just a change in job or the loss of a friendship or other close relationship – and going no contact in general is very tough at the beginning – you really NEED people around you to connect with and begin to rediscover life with, right?
And whether you have a job or you work at home, you might prefer to make friends OUTSIDE of work. So how do you do THAT?
13 Strategies for Making Friends Outside of Work
Don’t get me wrong, here – there are benefits to becoming friends with the people you work with. And sure, it’s convenient to hang out with your coworkers – but you may also want to make friends outside of work. However, as I’m sure you’re aware, that’s more easily said than done for many adults.
The good news? The friendships you make later in life could even be more fulfilling than those you made when you were younger – especially if you choose them intentionally. So hey, enrich your life by trying these strategies for developing relationships outside the office.
Online Strategies for Making Friends Outside Of Work:
- Proceed gradually. Just like dating online, looking for digital friends can be successful as long as you’re careful and realistic. Spend time getting to know each other. Meet in public places if you decide to make contact in person.
- Try Meetup.com. New apps for making friends are popping up regularly, but Meetup is still one of the most effective. Create an account, list your interests, and join groups where you’ll be surrounded by like-minded souls.
- Join the SPANily! If you’re looking for fellow survivors of narcissistic abuse with whom you can connect and bond, look no further than your very own SPANily. In fact, you can go join one of our support groups free, right here.
- Go Next Door. Proximity is a main ingredient for many relationships, so it’s strategic to search nearby. Next Door is a platform where you can chat with your neighbors and find out about local happenings.
- Use hashtags. If you have a passion for French cooking or paddle boarding, you might find companions by discussing your interests online. Using hashtags can help you reach others who are searching for the same topics.
Offline Strategies for Making Friends Outside Of Work:
- Build your confidence. Of course, face-to-face communications create a stronger basis for relationships. Motivate yourself to take risks and reach out. Focus on your strengths and positive qualities. Remember that others are looking for friends too.
- Spread the word. Let others know that you want to expand your social circle. Your current friends and family may be able to introduce you to their contacts or make other suggestions geared toward your interests and personality.
- Follow up. How many times have you traded phone numbers with an interesting acquaintance without taking the next step? Set a goal to invite 2 or 3 new contacts out for lunch or coffee each month.
- Walk around. You discover more opportunities for conversation when you leave your car behind. Stroll around your neighborhood or ride your bike. Walking a dog is a great icebreaker.
- Take classes. Sign up for courses at a local university or community center. You’ll have something in common with the other students and you’ll see them regularly.
- Throw parties. Extend your hospitality. Host a backyard barbecue and encourage guests to bring their friends. Volunteer for a committee to organize a block party or house concert.
- Drink coffee. Find a coffee shop with an atmosphere you like. Become a regular and visit at the same time each day.
- Play sports. Physical activity promotes bonding too. Research amateur sports leagues in your area or join a gym.
- Practice spirituality. Your church or other spiritual centers can help you find a community based on your values and beliefs. Check the calendar for discussion groups, social activities, and volunteer events.
Making friends outside of the office can be challenging, but the rewards are great. Build a secure social network that will survive job changes and contribute to your health and happiness.
Still feeling lost? Here are a few more resources to help you make friends and nurture existing friendships after narcissistic abuse and toxic relationships.
- Make New Friends, But Keep the Old After Narcissistic Abuse
- Finding Friends, Support and Community After Narcissistic Abuse
- How to Make Friends and Win at Life
- Revive Your Social Life (Life Makeover Academy)
- NEW! Overcome Social Anxiety (Life Makeover Academy)
- The People-Pleaser’s Guide to Personal Power (Life Makeover Academy)
Angela Atkinson is a Certified Life Coach and the author of more than 20 books on narcissism, narcissistic abuse recovery and related topics. A recognized expert on narcissism and narcissistic personality disorder who has studied and written extensively on narcissistic relationships since 2006, Atkinson was inspired to begin her work as a result of having survived toxic relationships of her own.
Atkinson offers trauma-informed coaching and has certifications in life coaching, level 2 therapeutic model, CBT coaching, integrative wellness coaching, and NLP. She is a certified trauma support coach and certified family trauma professional. She also has a professional PTSD counseling certification. Her mission is to help those who have experienced the emotional and mental devastation that comes with narcissistic abuse in these incredibly toxic relationships to (re)discover their true selves, stop the gaslighting and manipulation and move forward into their genuine desires – into a life that is exactly what they choose for themselves.
Along with her solution-focused life coaching experience, Atkinson’s previous career in journalism and research helps her to offer both accurate and understandable information for survivors of abuse in a simple-to-understand way that helps to increase awareness in the narcissistic abuse recovery community. Atkinson founded QueenBeeing.com Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Support, the SPANily Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Support Groups and the Life Makeover Academy. In her life coaching practice, Atkinson’s clients enjoy her personalized approach that allows and encourages them to become the best possible versions of themselves and to succeed in doing what they love most. She offers individual and group coaching for victims and survivors of narcissistic abuse at NarcissisticAbuseRecovery.Online and NarcissismSupportCoach.com.