Along with the experiences you have on your travels, your friends are some of the greatest teachers you’ll encounter during your time on this planet. And just like learning, making new friends shouldn’t stop when you leave school.
It’s important to keep making new friends throughout your life if you want to keep growing and experiencing new adventures, thoughts and feelings. The people you choose to surround yourself with influence everything from your decisions and self-esteem to your happiness and even your weight. In fact, having the right people in your life can have a more uplifting effect than gaining new qualifications or getting a significant pay rise.
The same applies to travel buddies.
“Nurture a friendship with the right new travel buddy and the rewards can be immense.”
Here are just some of the benefits you can look forward to as you start to make new connections:
- A new friend is an opportunity to listen to new stories and ideas. There is no shared history between you – yet – so here’s a brand new teacher to learn from!
- As our interests change it’s important to find people to share them with.
- Spending quality time with a new friend can open your eyes to new viewpoints, challenging the status quo of your usual group’s thinking.
- The life and travel experiences of a new friend can encourage you to visit new places and experience different cultures.
- An outgoing new friend can embolden you to push your boundaries. They might even encourage you try new foods while you travel!
- A new friend from a different culture or generation can help you rethink your own subconscious prejudices (we all have them!) and prove stereotypes to be false.
- A pleasantly different new travel buddy can help you be more adventurous, show you a different way of seeing the world, and encourage you to feel curiosity instead of fear.
Here are 7 ways to bring new friends and travel buddies into your life:
- Update your Thelma & Louise profile to better reflect what you offer as a travel companion, and what you’re looking for.
- Reach out in person. Join a local group to meet a more diverse group of people with shared interests/hobbies. This is easier if you live in a diverse area. Social media can open doors to diverse views if there are few to be found locally. DM other women on the Thelma & Louise website, or join the Thelma & Louise Women’s Travel Buddy Community and get chatting to women from around the world who share a love of travel! If it’s face-to-face interaction you crave, you could start a meet-up in your local area too.
- Once there, be bold. Start a conversation that ends with an opportunity to follow up. A request for advice or a recommendation works well, because you can report back with your experience of the tip and take it from there.
- According to Paul Sanders, a communication expert who helps people improve their social skills and make friends anywhere, the easiest and most useful people to know are ‘connectors’. Gregarious, open people with a huge circle of friends, connectors are always looking for new and interesting people to add to their social circles. You probably won’t develop a deep friendship with them, but they are excellent at introducing you to more people.
- Read Sanders’ 6 helpful tips for expanding your social circles. Key among them is knowing what kind of friends you want to invite into your life. May I suggest ‘adventurous female traveller’ as good starting point?!
- Read this: How to make friends as an adult
- If you’re in or approaching retirement, read this: How to make friends and avoid loneliness in your 60s
- If you want friends to help you travel more, read this: How to find the perfect travel buddy on Thelma & Louise Club
What benefits have new friendships brought to your life and travels?