Interpersonal effectiveness skill, “finding potential (sober) friends.”

Now that we have considered the somewhat negative potential of having to remove unhealthy relationships from our lives, we can talk about the positive potential of replacing them with healthy relationships.  Not all of your relationships HAVE to be sober, but if you are going to maintain relationships with people who are not sober, it is extremely important that you make sure they know your commitment to your sobriety and that they respect it.  Here are some factors to consider when finding potential friends:

  • Proximity favors friendship- find opportunities to make casual but regular contact with people in your everyday environment.  Some ideas include:
    • Utilize the coffee machine while others are around it
    • Go to events when invited
    • Stay after events for a while to chat with people
    • Gravitate to where other people are
    • Use the internet
      • is a great place to meet people in your area with similar interests
      • Use the internet to find sober meetings you can attend
  • Similarity tends to increase likability- interact with people whose attitudes are similar to your own.  Some ideas include:
    • Lifestyles
    • Morals
    • Politics
    • Interests
  • Conversation skills are important
    • Ask and respond to questions
    • Make small talk
    • Self-disclose skillfully
    • Don’t interrupt people when they are speaking
    • Learn what to talk about
  • Joining conversation groups- if we wait for other people to approach us, we may never make friends.  Sometimes we must make the first move when finding potential friends.  Here are some things to consider when joining a conversation group:
    • Is the conversation group open or closed?
      • In open groups:
        • Everyone is standing somewhat apart
        • Members occasionally glance around the room
        • There are gaps in the conversation
        • Members are talking about a topic of general interest
      • In closed groups:
        • Everyone is standing close together
        • Members attend only to one another
        • The conversation has few gaps
        • Members seem to be pairing off
    • When trying to join an open conversation group, wait for a lull in the conversation, move close to or stand beside a friendly-looking member of the group, and say something like “mind if I join your conversation”? 

Having the right social support in our lives is extremely important when it comes to remaining sober.  It is important to find that social support if you do not currently have it in your life.  Today you can find social support by finding potential friends and inviting them into your life. 

(Photo by Chang Duong on Unsplash)