How to Make Friendships as Adults
As you get older, making friends can become a lot harder. It all seemed so easy as a child, but making friends as an adult can be a real struggle. Many of us feel lonely–about 40% of us in fact, including 61% of young adults and 51% of mothers with young children. Loneliness has been described as endemic and it’s a problem that needs to be addressed. But how can we make friends as adults when it can feel like so much effort?
The Difficulty of Making Adult Friendships
To make friends as an adult, it’s first helpful to understand why it can be so tricky. There are multiple reasons you might find it hard to make friends, including lack of trust, no time, and being introverted. It can be more difficult to trust people as you get older and gain more life experience. We might remember past hurts that make us wary of getting to know new people. Our previous friendships can start to drift apart too, especially as we start our own families and circumstances change. Plus, we can be short on time thanks to our busy lives. Fortunately, there are things you can do to make new friends.
Make Time for Socializing
If you want to make friends, you need to make time for it. On average, we spend only just over half an hour socializing, while we spend nearly 3 hours watching TV. You might feel that you don’t have time to make friends, but you can often find it by looking at where your time currently goes. It doesn’t have to take much to start making connections and growing friendships. Doing just one thing a day could help you to make friends, whether it’s messaging someone, finding a new activity to try, or joining a group on social media. If you get into the habit, it will start to come more easily.
Find Fun Activities
Making friends as a child can be easier due to the structured environments we’re placed in. Once you’re no longer at school or going to after-school clubs, you have fewer places to make friends. But even though you no longer have your parents to set up playdates for you, you can arrange your own activities. Think of something you enjoy or you have liked in the past and look for related activities that you can try. Doing something together with others gives you an instant way to connect. You have something you can talk about and that can get you started with building friendships. Some examples of activities you can do to open avenues for new friendships could be workout classes, art classes, dance classes (hip hop, salsa, pole-dancing, etc.), Facebook groups for hiking and/or workouts that you can join, yoga, meditation, or fun events like silent discos which are regularly held in big cities such as San Francisco or Los Angeles. For those who are more introverted you can maybe join a book club or utilize online platforms like Bumble BFF. Remember, there are people out there who are also wanting to build friendships.
Leverage Work Relationships
We spend much of our time at work, which means our coworkers are some of the people we see most. You might feel that your coworkers are acquaintances, or perhaps even see them as “work friends”, but how well do you really know them? Your workplace can be a great place to expand existing relationships or make new ones. There might be someone at work who you don’t know too well and you could take the opportunity to talk to them on your break or before or after work. There could even be someone you want to get to know better, who you’d like to have as a friend.
Expand Your Social Circle Through Existing Friends
Your existing friends can help you to create strong friendships too. You could start by spending more time with the people you already know. Ask if anyone wants to set up a standing coffee date, a regular lunch, or a night out with each other. You might be surprised by your friends wanting to strengthen your friendship too. You can also use your existing social circle to meet new people. Friends, family, or your partner could introduce you to new people. Maybe they would be willing to take you along to a social event or set up a group activity so you can meet new people.