8 Easy Tips for Making Friends As An Adult

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I recently moved to a new city where I don’t really know anyone. This is the second time in my life that I have done this very thing.

The first time was right after college, and the second was just a few months ago at 28 years old. And as exciting and fun and promising as each of these moves have been, there is one thing that remains the same – it can be really hard to make new friends.

And I’m not talking about acquaintances – I’m talking about close friends… the kind of friends you can call up whenever, make plans to do whatever, and feel completely comfortable being 100% yourself in the process.

I don’t think we talk enough about how hard it can be to make new friends as we get older, but it’s really a struggle that is experienced by so many.

 

This post is all about 8 easy tips for making friends as an adult.

You're not uncool. Making friends as an adult is just hard

 

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The benefits of friendship

Have you ever stopped to think about why you desire friendship? What it really is about friendship that makes it so appealing?

Maybe it’s because you’d like to have plans on the weekends. Or perhaps it’s a little bit more than that – maybe it’s because quality friendships provide an incredible amount of support and connection – something we humans desperately need.

[1] According to an interview with Brene Brown as documented by Psychology Today, “we are biologically, cognitively, physically, and spiritually wired to love, to be loved, and to belong. When those needs are not met, we don’t function as we were meant to. We break. We fall apart. We numb. We ache. We hurt others. We get sick.”

A lack of social connection can have serious, lasting impacts to our mental and physical health. I don’t know about you, but the times in my life where I’ve felt prolonged disconnection were some of the hardest times.

On the other hand, when we do feel socially connected, we thrive.

[2] According to BetterHealth.com, the mental health benefits of social connection include “lower rates of anxiety and depression, higher self-esteem, greater empathy, and more trusting and cooperative relationships.”

The physical health benefits of social connection are apparent as well. [3] According to the Mayo Clinic, “adults with strong social support have a reduced risk of many significant health problems, including high blood pressure and an unhealthy body mass index (BMI)”.

Given these findings, it’s no wonder that friendships, or a lack thereof, can have a major effect on our mental and physical health. But if friendship is such an essential ingredient for a healthy lifestyle, why is it so hard to cultivate?

 

how to make friends as an adult

 

Why it’s harder to make new friends as an adult

When you’re younger, you’re surrounded by people your age. Whether it’s in class, on a sports team, or in the dorms – the opportunity to find someone with similar interests or experiences presents itself day in and day out. When this is the case, you’re likely building friendships without even thinking about it!

The post-college years are usually a bit different. You might move somewhere new, start a new job, find your life partner, have children, etc. and you quickly realize that it’s more difficult to find people with the same interests as you, given the much smaller pool of people around you.

And this is completely normal. [4] Believe it or not, according to a 2019 study by OnePoll and Evite with over 2,000 U.S. adults, “the average American adult hasn’t made a new friend in five years.”

Have you made a new friend in the last five years? While we may find comfort knowing we aren’t the only ones who struggle to make new friends in adulthood, that still doesn’t solve our problem of wanting to make new friends in the first place.

So what can we do about this?

how to make friends in your 30s

 

Easy ways to make new friends in adulthood

If we know that creating new friendships becomes more difficult as we age, what can we do about it?

Here are 8 ways you can start making new friends (easily!) today:

 

1. Take action

There may be times in your life where your friendships develop effortlessly, but oftentimes, making new friends is going to take some effort.

And I know this can be nerve-wracking and even painful at times, but if you aren’t willing to put yourself out there and get out of your comfort zone, the chances of you making a meaningful social connections are even more slim.

So what if you tried asking your coworker to drinks after work one day? Or you asked your neighbor if she’d like to take her dog to the dog park with you?

If you see “friend potential” in someone, you should act on it! Opportunities to connect with someone come few and far between, so be sure to reach out before the opportunity is missed.

The first step to making a new friend is to take a little bit of action. This can feel really hard and uncomfortable, but it’ll be so worth it in the end, especially if you’re able to make good friendships out of it.

 

2. Try Bumble BFF

I cannot tell you how many success stories I have heard from people who have made great friends through Bumble BFF.

If you’re not familiar, it is an app that you can use to meet and connect with other people who also use the app and are looking to make new friends.

After chatting back and forth with someone you “match” with on the app (yes, it’s kind of like a dating app for friends!) you can plan to meet up with that person at a coffee shop or whatever you two decide. If you click, that’s great! And if not, there’s no harm done.

There are also circumstances where multiple users of Bumble BFF get together as a group. This is a great option if you think you’d have a hard time meeting someone 1 on 1 (or a slight increase in social anxiety!).

Downloading Bumble BFF to make new friends is definitely worth a shot!

 

3. Be patient – it takes time to build friendship

Making new friends takes time. [5] One researcher surveyed 112 college students in their first nine weeks of college and 355 adults who had just moved to new cities and found some seriously eye-opening results:

  • It takes students 43 hours and adults 94 hours to turn acquaintances into casual friends.
  • Students need 57 hours to transition from casual friends to friends. Adults need, on average, 164 hours.
  • For students, friends became good or best friends after about 119 hours. Adults need an additional 100 hours to make that happen.

Think about it this way: if you spend 1 hour getting to know an acquaintance, according to this research, you would have to hang out with them about 93 more times for 1 hour before becoming “casual friends”. Isn’t this wild? It really does take time, so don’t be worried if you’re not BFFs with someone after just a few times meeting them.

 

4. Don’t let the fear of rejection hold you back

You can’t let the fear of rejection stop you from pursuing the things you desire. As the late professional baseball player Babe Ruth once said, “don’t let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game.”

Don’t let the fear of rejection prevent you from trying to meet new people. You can build wonderful, lifelong, meaningful, beautiful friendships if you just try – don’t forfeit this opportunity because you are worried about a “negative” outcome.

If you do happen to get “rejected” or turned down by someone, take it as a sign that that person may not be a good fit for you, and that there is someone else out there that’s much better suited to be your friend. There’s nothing wrong with you, it’s just that a better fit for you is on the way.

 

how to make friends and keep them

 

5. Use your hobbies to your advantage

Is there something you love to do that could potentially help you form new relationships with other people? For example, if you love to read books, you could try joining a book club.

By joining a book club, you can meet other people who love to read just like you do.

Another example of using your hobbies to your advantage would be meeting friends through social media. If you like building a community on Instagram or connecting with other people in Facebook groups, let’s say, you can meet up with people that you follow or chat with often that live near you.

Or maybe you love soccer and you can join sports teams – this way you can play the sport you love with people who also love it. This will definitely increase your chances of making a new acquaintance that turns into a great friend.

Whatever the case may be, think about your hobbies and how you can leverage them to meet people with common interests.

 

6. Leverage your friends’ friends

If you make a friend or two, you can try making more new connections by meeting their social circle. Meeting your friends’ friends is a great way to increase your chances of making adult friendships.

You already like your new friends, so chances are good that you will also click with their friends!

Start by inviting your friends over or somewhere and letting them know that they can invite others if they’d like. This is one of the best ways and easiest ways to get everyone together and meet different people.

 

7. Don’t be afraid to open up

[6] Research shows that gradually sharing more personal information makes people bond significantly faster. If that’s true, then why not try sharing more about yourself in order to speed up the process of making a new friend?

You don’t need to spill your life story in the first few days of meeting someone new, but opening up about a hobby or something meaningful to you would be a great place to start, especially if you find that your potential friend can relate!

 

make friends as an adult

 

Common ground goes a long way when you are meeting people. It’ll help you feel more trusting of each other and even more likely to open up and connect going forward.

 

8. Take time to maintain the friendships you already have

While you’re pursuing new friendships, don’t forget to nurture your relationships that already exist. Even if you can’t see your friends as often as you’d like, a phone call to catch up can go a long way in helping you feel more connected and help maintain the foundation of your friendship.

 

In Conclusion

I think it’s funny that we use the phrase “making friends”. Like, you can’t just have friends, you actually have to go out there and make them.

I do really wish something so vital to our mental and physical health like making friends was easier to obtain, but I think this shows that we really shouldn’t give up on it.

If you know you can greatly benefit from being socially connected, you shouldn’t give up on our pursuit to make a true friend or two – no matter how awkward or frustrating it can be at times.

If you want to make new friends, put yourself out there, try something different than what you normally do, and don’t be discouraged if it takes a lot of time or feels really hard – that’s normal!

Everyone experiences the trials and tribulations of making new friends. It’s just about continuing to try. Good luck 🙂

 

Sources:

[1]: Connect To Thrive | Psychology Today

[2]: BetterHealth

[3]: Friendships: Enrich your life and improve your health – Mayo Clinic

[4]: New study claims the average American has this many friends (theladders.com)

[5]: Greater Good Magazine

[6]: Social Pro

 

This post is all about 8 easy tips for making friends as an adult.

 

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About Taylor

About Taylor

A few years after graduating college, Taylor made it her mission to become debt free. After paying off all $60k of debt, she began to blog about what she's really passionate about: personal development. Nowadays, Taylor blogs about the topics of Mindset, Money, Health, and Career for women.

"It's Per$onal" is a super popular and anonymous blog series about the personal lives and finances of women all over the world. Check it out!

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