July 30th is International Friendship Day, and as an adult, particularly if you’ve moved to a new city like Austin, it can be hard to form grown-up friendships. Life Coach Amanda McPherson weighs in on how to meet — and become — a great friend.

How common is this issue? “It is more common than people think to have difficulty making and maintaining friendships. It’s a common topic with my coaching clients — so you aren’t alone if you have some struggles around friendship. Some of my clients report that it’s actually harder than dating, which has many platforms and sets of societal expectations already established.”

Why does it feel weird, trying to make new friends? “It can be very vulnerable to make new friends. It requires you to put yourself out there, possibly repeatedly, in a way that most people haven’t had to do in many years.”

What does timing have to do with it? “Timing is everything. Just like they say in romantic relationships, friendships often form (or don’t form) due to timing. If you are looking for new friendships, seek out groups like Meetup where the people gathering are also looking for new friends, and have the time and energy to devote to creating new friendships. All friends deserve support, so schooling your expectations on the availability of friends at a different stage of life is important.”

You say we need safe friendships. What do you mean by that?Safe friends create spaces where we feel good in our own skin, and free to be ourselves. We are allowed and encouraged to be flawed, brilliant, make mistakes, achieve our dreams, etc.”

What are the hallmarks of safe friends?

  1. “Safe friends are consistent and reliable. Sure, things come up. We’re all busy. But, if you have to question whether or not your friend is going to flake out on a regular basis, you probably don’t feel very safe.
  2. Safe friends apologize and forgive. No one is perfect. Even people with the biggest hearts and best intentions can say or do something insensitive. Safe people own their mistakes. They apologize. And, in return, safe people forgive. They give you the benefit of the doubt and can see the bigger picture of your friendship. They don’t punish or withhold to ‘teach you a lesson.’
  3. Safe friends don’t keep score. Friendship shouldn’t be some game that involves a score. It’s not a ‘what have you done for me lately?’ kind of arrangement. While it should be reciprocal, safe friends aren’t tallying up who has done what for whom and when.
  4. Safe friends want to see you shine! Safe friends reject a scarcity mentality that says there is a limited amount of love, happiness, and success to be had in this world. Safe friends want to see you meet your highest potential. In fact, they may even gently nudge you there along the way.”

Amanda is a confidence and life coach who specializes in helping people work on their relationships — including the one with themselves. She says, “I’m all about helping you get your roots done– as in, getting to the core of what your heart desires so that you can finally be fulfilled in love, work and every aspect of your life. If you’re feeling stuck in life, chances are your roots are unhealthy. Let’s fix that so that you can live a life that you are truly excited about. It’s time. No more waiting.”

To learn more about Amanda, visit her website, LifeCoachAmanda.com.