5 Ways to Find and Hold On to Amazing Friends

I’ve had my fair share of rough patches in life. Almost all of them were caused by people — all of whom were blood relatives, in-laws, and a few rogue exes. When it comes to friends, however, I have lucked out immensely. I have rarely been in need of a good friend and been left wanting. Whether I need a place to crash, a reference for a loan, or even a bank account to use, my friends have always stepped up to the plate.

My best friend has often joked that she has no idea how I attract and keep so many friends, as anti-social as I am. That said, she is exaggerating just a tad. I wouldn’t say I’m anti-social, but you won’t find me complaining about social distancing and isolating, anytime soon.

Even so, recently, a few of my friends banded together to help me out of a difficult spot. I am so grateful and strongly believe that you should all have friends as wonderful as mine have been. So, I’m finally answering a question I get often: How do you meet these people?!

1. Be Sociable

There’s a good reason I don’t consider myself anti-social. I actually do get along with people just fine, once you manage to get me to agree to a social gathering. I will talk to just about anyone, anywhere — and so should you. You’d be amazed at the friendships you strike up this way. Here’s a good example:

In 2013, I was at a Western Union in Montego Bay, waiting in line for money my mom had wired. The girl beside me looked as frustrated and impatient as I was, so I started talking to her. We exchanged numbers before we left and became very close. So close, in fact, that when I left Jamaica in 2015, she took all my books and adopted my dog.

2. Be a Good Friend

I would love to tell you that nice people have the best friends, but you probably already learned this is not true. Nice people often get taken advantage of. Subsequently, the first person you need to be a good friend to is yourself. Be kind to yourself. That means knowing when to withdraw from situations that are bad for you and not blaming yourself for the ill-will of others.

Naturally, you should also be a good friend to your good friends. When people are good to you, return the favour whenever you can. I recently had the pleasure of helping two friends out of a difficult situation, who had previously helped me in a time of need. Being able to return that feels so rewarding.

3. Be Interesting

Boring is not a word anyone has ever associated with me. However, I learned from the best. I met some very interesting people along my journey through life and picked up many of the hobbies and interests we shared together, at the time: from learning to cook Thai food to snorkelling to kayaking to travelling solo.

Are you an interesting person to be around? Interesting people can enjoy their own company because they already have the passions, interests, and hobbies to keep themselves entertained. These same interests make conversations more fruitful. They also provide stronger bonding points, such as travelling or working out together versus just “hanging out”.

4. Keep Your Word

I’m not gonna lie, these days, I’ve been struggling with keeping my word when it comes to social gatherings. Even before the pandemic, I just find that I much prefer to be alone. I’d love to tell you it’s because I’m so wonderfully interesting, but I am an only child who spent too much time on her own and has no strong desire to change that.

When it really matters, however, I do keep my word, not just for others but for myself. People gravitate towards others who follow through, because they know that when it counts, we can follow through for them too. Note that, sometimes, following through is as simple as picking up the phone when you say you’re free to let someone vent.

5. Choose Your Friends

I attended Mount Alvernia High School in Montego Bay, Jamaica. On the first day of school, the teachers delivered a speech on the importance of choosing your friends and not letting them choose you. For the first week of school, I reflected on this advice and told myself time and time again that it was the most ridiculous thing I had ever heard. So, why am I giving you the same advice?

Well, it turns out they were right. Choose your friends; don’t let circumstances choose them for you. Be civil with the people in your life, but you don’t have to be friends with someone just because they are your housemate, sit next to you at work, or like the same band. Be more deliberate with your choices; set clear standards.

I am a strong believer in independence and self-reliance. But having good people in your life who volunteer to be your fail-safe for when things don’t go as planned is an A1 experience. If you have good friends, cherish them. Life is short, and in a pandemic, it can be even shorter.

As for your bad friends, don’t be afraid to show them the door. Someone has to, or they will never find a good enough incentive change.

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29 thoughts on “5 Ways to Find and Hold On to Amazing Friends

  1. Yes, those who are there for you when things look black & you’re at your lowest ebb are your true friends & they are precious.

    I am so grateful, Alexis – not only for the real, generous practical help you’ve given me recently, but also that you cared enough to take the time out of your busy life to check on me in the first place. Thank you. You are a true friend. ((hugs)) xx

    1. You helped me in an hour of real need and I will never forget your help. What I did was just a small token of thanks. I wish I could do more.

      I’m glad things are improving for you now and I hope they continue on that path. ☺️

  2. The truest friends I have are from 12 step fellowships, with the exception of someone I met thru a mental health site. They all seem to understand the truth behind what you have written

    1. Bonding over overcoming substance dependency is definitely a good idea. I find that we behave better when we have a community that holds us accountable, no matter what our vices are. Keep it up!

      By the way, I just realised, I haven’t seen you in Twitter in a while!

      1. I haven’t been on social media much since I started back at the produce stand. Or before that. The coronapocalypse has me working a lot, and tired from working a lot.☹

      2. That’s great! I hope you’re paying off some certain bills a certain someone mentioned she would pay off. 👀

  3. I recently learned of a relative from New Orleans who was flying to Atlanta to drive his brother home from a colonoscopy. Imagine being so short of friends that you have to resort to that! I love the old song “Make new friends but keep the old, Some are silver, But the other gold.”

    1. Wow…..that is what I often wonder about when people become homeless. What kind of connections have they built? I’ve been homeless 3 times and never spent a single night on the streets! We really do need to ensure we have good support systems in place. Never know what can happen.

  4. Great post! I like pick your friends, don’t let them pick you. I have a good friend here, though we haven’t seen each other since shut down, though we do zoom chat once a week and text almost every day. Having a friend is so important!! Thx again!! And yes, I have lots of friends on social media…. 😉

    1. Choosing my friends is the best advice I got in school and every time I forget it, I find myself in trouble 😂. Too often we let people choose us and go along with it, without really stopping to think if they will make good friends to us (or just as important, if we can be a good friend to them).

      I’ve made some of my closest friends on social media. People really underestimate the power of the online community!

      1. They sure do underestimate the power of the online community. When we moved to England, knowing my friends were just a text away, helped. But then I learned that they really were/are acquaintances. They all wanted me back and safe (they thought I was in danger?) But when I arrived, I posted, let’s get together. I later got a bday party invite, and one of the people came to my side of town to see me, but it was quite a while later. To be fair, Houston is very hard to get around, and because the UU church was so far away, and because we quit church while in England, we didn’t really have things in common. If I needed someone, I could call and they probably would have come, but actions speak louder than words! ya know?

      2. Actions speak louder than words, says it all. It is lovely to have someone to talk to, but the friends who step up when you need more tangible assistance or company are the real lifesavers!

  5. I happened to read before I saw who wrote this. Good to read what you have written. Few people are true friends. I’m glad you found them. I often think of those times you explained that you were meeting all those on the internet. I believe it. Have a good day.

    1. Thank you! I don’t meet many people who share my interests, in person, so it’s great to connect with people online. I always cherish the opportunity to meet them in real life, afterward. It’s always a good learning experience, especially after years of correspondence. ☺️

      1. It is interesting to visit other blogs. Everyone has their own blog designed, and ready for a conversation. I love to meet new people. I often go to other blogs . There are thousands by now.

      2. WordPress definitely has a good built in social media platform. It doesn’t seem to be as active as it was a few years ago though.

  6. I would say, i know lots of people, but i really can not call anyone one person “a friend.” i knew lots of people in high school mainly because i played sports and as a senior, was on student govt., and on the newspaper and yearbook staff as a photographer. i did have one friend and we did many things together, but i would call us “distant” friends. lol as an adult, i think i would call my girlfriends/wives the closest thing to a friend. i feel i meet most of your points, but i am not very social and mostly the things i am interested in most people are not. lol and those that have some of the same interests as me, i dont find interesting. lol i guess you might say i have “superficial friendships.”

    1. Interesting! I guess not being social has something to do with it. I don’t have many people around me who are into the same things I am, but being sociable when I’m out helps me connect with people I otherwise would never cross paths with. Otherwise, I’d be in a similar predicament. 😂

      Maybe we’ll be good friends after I get to meet your llamas! I hope they’re safe out there with Mother Nature burning her biggest ally to the ground. 😳

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