Do you sense lots of tension between yourself and your mate? Or, is there an uneasy feeling between you and an adult sibling or friend?

Part of the problem might be that you need a new friend or two.

Bringing in just one new friend can add life and joy to all of your existing relationships. Through new people, you will likely have new activities, fresh conversation, and often, a fresh perspective on life.

Boredom can escalate tension in your existing relationships. Stale plans and stale conversation leads to getting on each other’s nerves.

“My husband and I were getting into a lot of silly arguments,” says a friend of ours we’ll call Nora. “Looking back now, we were terribly bored. Boredom magnifies all problems.”

Nora and her husband joined a gym a couple of months ago. They met two other couples at the gym who are in a country music group.

“When we started attending some of the music group events, our lives changed quickly,” says Nora. “Twice a week, we attend their rehearsals and our adult son now plays bass for the band.”

All of us want to keep our old friends, but sometimes, it’s critical to reach out to new people. Our own lives cannot change and grow if we stay in our same old patterns.

Here are some ways to meet new people: volunteer to coach a children’s sports team, visit a new church or synagogue once a month, sign up for a leadership class, enroll in an arts and crafts program, or join a walking club or exercise group.

“Even if I see new faces only once a week, it energizes me,” says a young mother we’ll call Stacie. “My husband watches the kids on Wednesday nights so I can walk,” says Stacie. “Ten of us mothers from my children’s school walk every Wednesdays from 6:00 to 7:30 p.m. This doesn’t seem like much time together, but we all walk on our own on other days.”

She goes on to say, “When we meet to walk, we compare parenting notes, share our time management struggles, and we stay in touch by texting each other.”

Stacie has acquired two special friends in the group as soul mates. “The three of us have special needs children, so we’ve planned a group vacation for our families next spring. Having people around who understand your challenges is a big key to happiness.”

Finding new friends can also ease marriage stress in a major way. Most of us are familiar with the old TV series “I Love Lucy.” The antics of Lucy and Ricky were balanced by their friendship with Fred and Ethel. Without the four of them, the show would not have been as interesting.

“I’ve learned that my wife and I need extra friends as we grow older,” says a banker friend of ours we’ll call Jeff. “When we have a sickness or death in the family, we’re all there for each other. Getting new people into your life takes a little work and dedication, but it can be as simple as inviting someone over for dinner or a cookout.”

While many things in life give comfort or support, there’s nothing like having individuals we truly like and respect to add strength to whatever we’re doing.

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(Judi Light Hopson is author of the book Cooling Stress Tips. She is also the executive director of USA Wellness Café at www.usawellnesscafe.com. Emma Hopson is an author and a nurse educator. Ted Hagen is a family psychologist.)

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©2019 Person to Person

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