A How-To Guide For Making Friends As An Adult
Updated February 25, 2020
Medically Reviewed By: Dawn Brown
For many people, friendship is one of the greatest joys in life. Whether you have one or two close friends or a large circle of acquaintances, these people can add significant value to your life.
Unlike family, you can choose your friends. While making new friends as a child and teenager is easy thanks to school, camps, and other activities, it becomes much harder as we age.
Making new friends as an adult is a challenge for most people. During adulthood, we become busy with work, family, and other obligations. There is simply less time, and fewer opportunities, to meet people and get to know them well enough to start a real friendship. But, just because it is hard does not mean it is impossible to make friends as an adult.
How To Make Friends As An Adult
Much like when you are looking for love, makingfriends, you need to be open to the idea truly. Making friends as an adult can be nerve-wracking for many people. So much time had passed since the days of school when it was as easy as saying hello to a classmate to make a friend. If it has been a while since you made new friends, you may feel stressed or anxious about the prospect of putting yourself out there to new people.
If you are in this position, therapy or counseling can be extremely useful. A therapist can help relieve any anxieties you feel about making new friends and help boost your confidence,so you feel ready to get out there and meet new people. Plus, an online therapist or counselor will be available to you at all times, so you can talk to them if you start to feel overwhelmed at any point when making friends as an adult.
Connect With Coworkers
Most adults spend a significant amount of time at the office or otherwise doing job-related tasks. It makes sense, then, to hone in on the people who you spend the majority of your time around- your coworkers. You probably already have a feel for who in your office you could see yourself starting a friendship with, and may even already be friendly in the workplace. If you want to take your friendship from "work friends" to "real friends," simply ask the person if they would like to grab dinner or drinks after work. Happy hours were made to form closer bonds between colleagues, so do not be afraid to use them for that purpose.
If dinner or drinks seems like it may be too much, or you want to get to know the person better before committing to spending such a long amount of time together, ask if they would like to grab lunch together during the workday. That way, just in case things do not go so well, you both will have to get back to the office anyway. A quick workday lunch is a great way to test the waters to see if you would like to pursue the friendship further.
Of course, this scenario is a bit trickier if you work from home. If you are in that position but are feeling lonely or desire friendship, try switching up your location and checking out a coworking space. There you will find other people in similar situations as yourself and will have the option to keep to yourself or strike up a conversation over coffee with a fellow remote worker if you feel so inclined. A bonus of coworking spaces is that many of them hold afternoon and evening events for members, so you have the perfect opportunity to meet other people who work in the same location as you.
Experiment With New Activities
If you are seeking new people in your life, why not try some new activities as well? There are many activities that you can do that could lead you to other people that enjoy similar things as you.
One option is to join a gym with classes that interest you, like spin or yoga. Often there are a few minutes before the class begins when students are waiting around for the instructor to begin teaching. Use that opportunity to introduce yourself to your classmates. You most likely will not make friends with every person in attendance, but odds are at least some of the other attendees will be friendly and maybe even looking for some new friends as well.
If you are nervous, wait until you have been to a few classes and you can spot the other "regulars." You can also try small group training, where you will work out with just a few other people and a trainer. This way you will have a chance to get to know the other people in your group, and it will not be as intimidating as a large class setting.
Of course, working out is not the only option. There are tons of activities you can try, such as cooking, crafting, or even salsa dancing. Find something that you enjoy. Then, you already have something in common with the other attendees. Common ground like a shared hobby is a great way to start a friendship, and you will automatically have something to talk about!
A friend-of-a-friend, or even someone who is multiple degrees of separation away from you, is a wonderful person to try to form a bond with. You already have somewhat of a confirmation that the person is likable from whoever connected you, so you do not have to worry about spending time with someone who is mean or standoffish. Plus, you have your mutual connection as a conversation starter.
You should not feel embarrassed to ask friends and family to introduce you to people who they know in your city. Everyone goes through the struggle of making friends as an adult, and most people are happy to help out. Even if you only have one friend in your area, if youstart meeting their friends, and that person's friends, and so on, your circle can rapidly grow.
Use The Internet
Many people overlook a key aspect of social media- it is mean to be used for socializing. While most people simply scroll through their updates without actually interacting with others, social media really can be used to meet other people in your area. If you already follow someone, try sending them a message to ask if they want to meet up.
You may feel a little awkward doing this at first, but keep in mind that this is the purpose of social media. If you do not want to be this forward, use social media to look up events in your area that interest you. Meeting someone at an interesting event gives you some common ground to start forming a friendship. Plus, if you have similar interests, you may just find a buddy to accompany you to similar events in the future.
There are other ways to use the internet to meet people outside of traditional social media. Meetup websites are a perfect way to meet other people who have similar interests to you. Many meetups are geared towards socializing, as well as the activity you will be doing, so you never have to feel awkward or nervous about coming alone. Chances are, many people who attend the meetup are also looking to make friends. In most cities, there are meetups for almost every kind of activity or group of people, including book clubs, hiking expeditions, faith-based groups, and artistic endeavors. Peruse the meetup websites and find a group (or multiple groups!) that piques your interest.
You may also want to try a mobile app for meeting people. Though these apps are typically used to meet romantic partners, many of them now offer a "friendship" option for swiping. You can choose to connect with people based on their profile, so you can even select people who have similar interests to your own. People would not be on these apps if they were not trying to make friends, so you know you have plenty of potential future friends literally at your fingertips.
Join A Team
Friends are people who you can count on to always be on your team. So, why not join an actual team? Adult social leagues are gaining popularity in cities all over the world. There are teams for a variety of sports, including football, soccer, and more laid back games like kickball. Even if you do not consider yourself athletic, give one of these teams a shot. They are called social leagues for a reason- if people truly take the sport seriously, they will join a more professional league.
Adult social leagues are designed to connect people and focus on social activity much more than the sport itself. Most leagues meet once a week, so after the first couple of games you will have spent a good amount of time with your team and can easily form friendships. Plus, the consistent schedule gives you a social activity to look forward to each week if you do not have many friends in your city and are feeling lonely.
Many leagues even have designated bars where the teams go after the games, so the activities extend beyond just the game itself, and you can meet people in the league who are not even on your team.
It can be exhausting putting yourself out there to meet new people, but it is a necessary part of the process of making friends as an adult. Even if you start to feel worn out, be sure to say "yes" to invitations you receive for social activities. If someone asks you to grab a coffee or attend a party with them, it means they want to spend time with you. Even if you are unsure about pursuing a friendship with this person, give it a shot! You may be surprised at how much you enjoy their company after you spend some more time with them.
It can be tempting to cancel plans in favor of spending a night in with your favorite TV show, but over time this behavior can start to affect you negatively. Even if you are someone who enjoys your alone time, you need some social activity and friendship in your life.
Making friends as an adult can be intimidating, but it is something that everyone must go through. Put yourself out there and make an effort to connect with new people- you and your new friends will be grateful that you did.