13 Ways to Make New Friends After Divorce (Outside of Work)

13 Ways to Make New Friends After Divorce (Outside of Work)

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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. 
  4. 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.
  5. 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Drink coffee. Find a coffee shop with an atmosphere you like. Become a regular and visit at the same time each day.
  8. Play sports. Physical activity promotes bonding too. Research amateur sports leagues in your area or join a gym.
  9. 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.

 

 

Lonely After Narcissistic Abuse? How to Make New Friends AND Keep the Old

Lonely After Narcissistic Abuse? How to Make New Friends AND Keep the Old

Don’t Go Through Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Alone!  Make New Friends & Revive Old Friendships With These Tips

As you cleanse your life of the negativity of narcissistic abuse, you may find that your friendships have dwindled away.

Since narcissists are good at isolating us from other people in our lives, including our friends,we often find ourselves feeling lonely at some point in our recovery from narcissistic abuse.

The fact is that we’ve changed a lot due to our abusive, toxic relationships – and once we are ready to change our lives, we often 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 moves can really change a person’s life and priority list – and chances are, you’re already well-aware of it.

Just so you know, it’s totally normal to feel like this during this kind of transition in your life.

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?

Of course you do. So, that’s why I’m sharing these tips for you – all about staying in touch with old friends and making new ones.

Tips for Reconnecting with Your Old Friends After Narcissistic Abuse

  1. Get in touch! Make it a point to contact your old pals and let them know what’s been happening. Don’t be afraid to reveal your story to those you know you can trust – often explaining your reason for staying away – your isolation and abuse by the narcissist – can really give you a good start at repairing the friendship.
  1. Show up when you say you will!  Mark your schedule. Meeting up with friends is just as important as following up with business clients. Pull out your calendar to stay on track.
  1. Visit in person. Too far away? Road trip! Maybe you should take a vacation. Video calls and texting bridge long distances, but can’t match sitting around the table together after dinner. Use your personal and business travel to drop in on each other occasionally.
  1. Do something together. Collaborate on a project. Pursue the same activities even while you’re apart. You’ll have plenty to talk about if you’re both taking gourmet cooking classes or training for a charity run. Or even watching the same series on Netflix can do the trick.
  1. Realize times have changed and embrace the “new” friendship. Accept change. At the same time, distinguish between relationships worth sustaining and those that have run their course. You and your old college roommate may no longer have much to talk about even if you used to gab all night – and sometimes, it’s just time to move on to new friendships.
  1. Reopen old would’ve-been situations. If someone you used to know could’ve or might’ve been a closer connection under different circumstances, why not give it another shot? Revive former ties by shooting him or her a quick email or text – say something simple like “Hey, long time no talk! I was just thinking about that time we (did whatever) together! Those were the days, huh? So how ya been?”. Maybe you still wonder about a former coworker or neighbor you haven’t seen in years. Take the initiative to be the first to reach out.You never know what could happen!

How to Make New Friends After Narcissistic Abuse

Maybe all your friends are also friends with the narcissist, or maybe you just need a fresh start. Perhaps you’re already reconnecting with old friends, but you still want to increase your circle. In any case, here are some tips that will help you to find some new friends in natural ways, even as an adult.

  1. Explore common interests. Look for others like you. Visit the places where you’re likely to find other vegetarians or bluegrass music lovers. Sign up for a ceramics workshop or audition for a part in a community theater production. Meetup groups are great.
  1. And speaking of meetup groups, its 2016! We are more connected than ever before in known human history! So use this to your advantage – get more active in social media. Adults of all ages congregate on Meetup or LinkedIn – and let’s not forget Facebook, Instagram and Twitter (and of COURSE, my fav platform –  YouTube!). Get involved! Enjoy the online discussions and invite someone out for coffee if you want to get to know them better – local Facebook groups are great for this. And if you’re looking for a few good supportive friends, you can join an online support group – like SPAN, my free, confidential Facebook group for narcissistic abuse survivors.
  1. Volunteer in your community. Working for causes you believe in provides gratification while you extend your network. Call a natural history museum to see if they’re accepting new docents. Organize a fundraising dinner for an animal shelter. Got kids? Be a girl scout or boy scout leader, or get involved in the PTA at school.
  1. Branch out. There are advantages to socializing with men and women of different ages. Chat with someone older or younger when you’re eating lunch in the park, or join a neighborhood association or church committee. Take a continuing education class at the community college.
  1. Be patient. It takes time to forge a connection. Stay cheerful and busy so others can see your good qualities without feeling pressured. (Don’t forget: if someone is overly familiar too fast, you might be dealing with a narcissist – that’s one of the red flags!).

Other things to consider

  1. Don’t be TOO mysterious! Reveal yourself, but not all at once. No matter how old you are, friendships are most likely to develop when we allow others to know us. Don’t dump your life story on a new friend the first day you meet. Keep it light at first, but do share more personal information as you become comfortable with each other.
  1. Don’t take a “no” too personally, but DO prepare for rejection. There may be all kinds of reasons why a woman in your yoga class resists hanging out afterwards. Give yourself credit for trying and move on to another prospect – chances are, it’s REALLY not about you – it’s more likely that she has no space in her life at this moment for a new friendship – or maybe she’s toxic – so take it as a sign from the Universe that you need to move forward.
  1. You don’t have to have a gazillion friends to be happy. Focus on quality. Having a few close friends beats having hundreds of followers on Facebook. Focus on meaningful interactions instead of arbitrary definitions of popularity. In later life, you may find yourself happier enjoying more solitude while still treasuring those occasions when you gather with loved ones.
  1. A healthy friendship is a two-sided deal – both parties benefit. So be sure to both give and get support – and make sure you’re both enjoying your time together. Giving and taking may be the most important sign of a quality friendship. I’ll tell you what – life can feel pretty complete when you have a little circle of friends who serve as advisers, sounding boards, and cheerleaders.

Listen – the end of your relationship with a narcissist can feel like the END of your life – but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Truth is, it’s really more like a new beginning – and you still have plenty of fascinating years ahead.

It’s time for you to choose your own path and create your own reality. So get going, find some friends to share it with! You’re never too old or too broken to stand up and take back your life. Connecting with your friends and making new ones can really offer you a big advantage as you do it.

Now it’s your turn. What do you think? Have you felt lonely during or after narcissistic abuse? How’d you feel? What did you do to change all that? And how are things working for you right now? Are you struggling still? Share your thoughts and your experiences in the comments section below. Let’s discuss this!

 

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