April 4, 2024 | Sarah Ng

How To Make New Friends As An Adult


Why Are Adult Friendships So Hard?

For most of us, making friends as children was somewhat easy. We moved through school with the same group of people and saw them every single day. But as an adult, life often gets in the way. It becomes difficult to make time for friends, and many of us forget that these social bonds are essential to longevity.

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Friendships Are Good For Your Health

As we get older, it's still important to prioritize our friendships. After all, they help maintain our health. 

Smiling Women and Men Sitting on Green GrassSharefaith, Pexels

We Need Social Relationships To Survive

Forming positive social bonds is linked to lower systolic blood pressure, reduced stress, and risk of depression. Coronary heart disease and strokes have been associated with the feeling of loneliness. 

Human survival is incredibly dependent on our social lives. But making friends isn't easy.

Sad woman looking through a windowJuan Pablo Serrano Arenas, Pexels

The Odds Are In Your Favor

Feel emboldened by the fact that most people are looking for human connection. If you're desiring new friendships, there's a good chance the person you're reaching out to is also in the same boat.

3 man are smiling outside.Helena Lopes, Pexels

Friends At Work

A huge part of maintaining a friendship is consistency. And what's more consistent then the work friend you see every day? 

People are having a conversation in hallwaycottonbro studio, Pexels

Try Being Vulnerable With Your Co-Workers

If you have a healthy connection at work, it might be worth spending time with this person outside of the office. Once you begin to share things that are not work-related, your openness and vulnerability might be able to springboard this friendship to the next level. But that's not the only benefit of having work friends.

Two Women Sitting in Front of Computerfauxels, Pexels

Good Friends Make Good Workers

Having a positive relationship with your co-workers—making real friendships on the job—will make people better workers. They will support one another and be more excited about their occupations.

Three People working at office.Ivan Samkov, Pexels

Look To Your Neighbors

Now, not all neighbors are created equal. But if you're lucky enough to have a pleasant neighbor, they could also be a potential friend. All it takes is a little effort.

female neighbor walks to say hello to a male neighborSupavadee butradee, Shutterstock

The Power Of A Kind Gesture

Befriending your neighbor will likely require some work. Take the initiative to introduce yourself, attend local events, or get involved in your community. You can also just a be a thoughtful neighbor, and make old-fashioned gestures like dropping off a bottle of wine or a batch of cookies. The goal is to start a conversation.

Women chatting while standing on their balconiesgpointstudio, Shutterstock

Offer Support

Compliments and small talk can be the first step toward befriending your neighbor. As well, being open with your contact information, offering support in case of emergencies can help form a bond of trust. The more you see them and the more positive encounters you have will increase your chances of building a friendship.

Two Men Talking and Sitting on StairsMental Health America (MHA), Pexels

Who Shares Your Hobbies?

A common piece advice for making friends is to join a class or a gym—or any kind of setting where there will be people who share your interests. There is also a consistency in these kind of activities which gives you regular exposure to the same familiar faces.

Trainer and athlete exercising with medicine ballsJulia Larson, Pexels

Go Deeper

However, in order to develop a stronger friendship with one of these hobby-sharing acquaintances, it's important to move the interaction to a different setting. Try inviting your book club buddies out for a drink in the evening, a mid-day coffee, or even a movie night.

Four Women Chatting While Sitting at pub.ELEVATE, Pexels

Does Your Partner Have Friends?

Becoming close with your partner's friends might be your way into your next great adult friendship. There are weddings, housewarming parties, and double date opportunities to lean into.

Men and Women Standing Infront of Dining TableLisa Fotios, Pexels

Try One-On-One Meetings

Make a warm first impression and show interest in your partner's friends. If there's someone you feel particularly comfortable around, you might be able to suggest a one-on-one hangout to better get to know them. 

However, if you're not comfortable with that quite yet, you can still bring your partner along.

Two Women Looking On SmartphoneAnastasiya Gepp, Pexels

Keeping Your Friendships Alive

Now, if you happen to have a good friendship going, you just can't throw your hands up and let it ride. The hard truth is that maintaining your friendships takes constant effort. 

Two girls with Silver Iphone 5sVinicius Wiesehofer, Pexels

Not All Friendships Last Forever

It's important to be critical of the friends we have. Sometimes, we're only meant to have a friend for a chapter of our lives, while others will stand the test of time. That's why there are some good questions to ask yourself about your friendships.

Sad woman sitting on sofa at home deep in thoughts, thinking about someoneLeszek Glasner, Shutterstock

Which Friends To Keep

Do I share the same values with my friends? Do our conversations enrich my life, or do they feel draining? Do I like the person I am when I'm around them? Are they stimulating and interesting?

Group of Friends Sitting Near Lifeguard PostKindel Media, Pexels

Make A Plan

As an adult, life happens. It's easy to get stuck in that constant loop of texting to make plans, only to have them fall through every time. Take charge of maintaining your friendship by creating routines to stick to. This could be a weekly game night, trivia night, movie night, etc.

Young man texting on his phone in living room.Monstera Production, Pexels

Use Your Time Wisely

Another obstacle to staying in touch with adult friends is time. When the weekend arrives, you might be bogged down by chores or errands. This is where multi-tasking comes in. Try having a conversation with your friend over the phone while your doing laundry or tidying the house. 

Make the most out of the free time you have if you're feeling up to it. This might even make your chores more enjoyable.

Woman with long hair is talking on the phone at home.Ron Lach, Pexels

Long-Distance Friendships

Just because your best friend moves far away, doesn't mean your friendship has to crumble. Luckily for us, we live in a digital age. For all its downfalls, social media does help us feel a part of our friends' lives—espeically the more distant ones.

Young woman is seating on the floor and texting.Racool_studio, Freepik

Virtual Hangouts

If you're used to having routines with your long-distant friend, repackage these rituals in a virtual way. Many people use Zoom to watch movies together, play games, and converse on a regular basis.

People on a Video CallAnna Shvets, Pexels

Send Letters

Having a friend living far away might also be an opportunity to try your hand at writing letters back and forth. If your love language is gift giving, try sending your bestie a thoughtful care package. All of this can work to strengthen a long-distance friendship.

Girl Writing Letter Home ConceptRawpixel.com, Shutterstock

Plan For Reunions

Still, physically being with your long-distant friend is important. Even if you can only meet once a year, it's important to set a date for this annual reunion.

Happy Young People Hugging at GatheringKampus Production, Pexels

Coping With Change

The only thing constant about life? Change. Over time, your friendship might see you through a number of life changes. Sometimes this might tear two friends apart or bring them closer together.

Friends Talking at a BarPressmaster, Pexels

New Life Chapters

Marriage or a new baby can often alienate one friend from another, especially if friends have different life goals. Many stop reaching out because they assume parents just want to hang out with other parents. 

You might fear that you won't be able to relate to your friend anymore. But that's not always the case.

People Sitting on the Floor and Watching Baby GirlPavel Danilyuk, Pexels

Articulate Your Intentions

If you have a very good friend that you don't want to lose, articulate that sentiment to them. Empathize with their new chapter in life, but stress that you still want to be a part of their lives: "I know your life will change as a new mother, but I still want to be a close friend to you. I'm always here for you."

Women Keeping Hand on Pregnant Belly of FriendMikhail Nilov, Pexels

Find Common Ground

Instead of focusing on how your friend's new life chapter will change them, focus on what still connects you to them. Find new ways of relating to them. You might not share the same experience, but there may be a common thread.

Friends Laughing While Holding Wine GlassesKampus Production, Pexels

Don't Condescend

If you're the friend that's "ahead" in life by society's standards do not condescend to your friends. Maybe you married first, bought a house, got a big promotion, or had a baby—but that doesn't make you any greater than anyone else. 

Men Doing High Five While DrinkingGustavo Fring, Pexels

Celebrate Everyone's Unique Life Paths

Refrain from putting up barriers between you and your friends. Saying things like, "Oh, you'll understand one day," or "You'll get here eventually," will only push your closest friends away. Not everyone is following the same life path, or should be expected to.

Group of Men and Women Doing Glass ToastPavel Danilyuk, Pexels

You Can Strengthen Weak Connections 

New experiences can also help forge connections with people you weren't that close to before. You might find that you now have shared experiences to revel in, thus forming a positive bond. The more life you live, the more circles of people you'll gain access to. 

Maintaining old friendships and building new ones as time passes will only enrich your social wellbeing.

Big group of friends taking selfie picture smiling at cameraDavideAngelini, Shutterstock


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