If you’re one of the lucky few who still get to hang out with your high school and/or college friends every weekend, this article isn’t for you. But, if you recently moved into a new place and want to expand your social circle, here’s a close look at five simple ways to make friends as an adult.
Put Yourself Out There
It’s easy to make friends as a kid because you have so many opportunities — from school and the playground to after-school clubs and parent-organized playdates — to meet and spend time with people your own age. As you grow older, life gets in the way. Other priorities, obligations, and insecurities creep in, pushing friendships way down the list.
If you want to make new friends as an adult, you need to take the first step. Be open to the idea of friendship. While you may no longer have “playdates,” you probably still receive invitations to random parties or to the opening of a new store near your home. Get out of the house to give people a chance to meet you face-to-face. If you’ve never gone before because you think you’d feel awkward hanging out with strangers, try going this time. Don’t overthink it — just put yourself out there. Let people know you’re new to town and looking to make some friends. Chances are this will earn you an invitation to the next group event they organize.
Beyond helping you find your potential soulmate, the internet also can help you meet your new best buddy. The Hey! VINA app, for example, works like Tinder for friendships and offers women a convenient way to meet other like-minded women. Meetup, an online service that helps individuals connect with like-minded online groups and host in-person meetings, started way back in 2002 and continues to grow. No matter which activities interest you — from reading, knitting, and painting to writing or coding — you likely will find at least one relevant Meetup group near you. If not, you can create your own group to find people with similar interests by subscribing to an “organizer” account for $16.49 to $23.99 per month with a six-month and one-month billing cycle respectively.
Go Back to School
Remember bonding with your classmates over the shared pain of a boring lecture? Similarly, one of the best ways to make friends as an adult involves signing up for adult classes. Go earn the degree you’ve always wanted. Alternatively, sign up for a hobby class to help you learn how to paint, bake, or practice yoga. Either way, you’ll find an activity to occupy your spare time, learn some new skills, and, yes, make a friend or two in the bargain.
Volunteering for a worthy cause gives you a chance to do something good for the world as well as an opportunity to meet other people who care about the same issues and communities. Moreover, making new friends isn’t the primary focus of volunteering. That means you can interact with people without feeling the need to impress them or convince them to like you, which could help you establish stronger relationships. If you don’t know where to start, check out websites like VolunteerMatch to find rewarding volunteering opportunities in the nonprofit world.
Look for Commonalities
Shared interests and experiences can provide a foundation for some of the best friendships. From poetry night at a nearby cafe to the local hiking club, you can find endless opportunities to meet other like-minded people if you open your mind to doing so. For example:
- If you’re a parent with a school-age child, you already have a huge pool of potential friends among the parents of your kid’s friends. Use your child’s school as a common point of reference to strike up a conversation with the parent standing next to you in the school pickup line. Talk about the upcoming school concert, the soccer club, the class field trip, or any other child-related topic. If you feel courageous, you can even host a group playdate and invite a few of your kid’s friends and their parents over to hang out. A group playdate reduces the pressure because you’ll likely find at least one person in the group with whom you can have an actual conversation. If you hit it off, you can plan to meet up again.
- If you’re a new mom, look for mothers’ groups near you. You’ll find other women dealing with similar challenges who can support each other.
- Your office also provides a good location to start scouting for a new pal. Having a friend at work will boost your mood, morale, and productivity as well as make it easier for you to get through tough patches.
Making friends as an adult can often prove challenging — and many people find it equally difficult to maintain those friendships. The key here is consistency. You need to show up again and again. Commit to it like you would any other life goal. Give yourself and others a chance to make it work. You have to meet with people at least a few times before you can start considering them “friends.” Make a point of attending relevant Meetups, book clubs, or hobby classes regularly. Put them on your calendar so you have no excuses.
At the same time, remember you don’t need to form close friendships with everyone you meet. You will hit it off immediately with some people while you may never do so with others despite repeated meetings. That’s okay. You can’t force friendship — it will happen organically. You just need to keep the connection alive.