How to Make Friends as an Adult. It’s an odd concept to dive into how friendship works. As a student you’re put in a room for most of your day with a bunch of people who are your age and friendships blossom. As a college student the formula is similar. However, once you are an adult, making friends seems to be a difficult concept to figure out. Making friends is harder because social stipulations are different and a person’s life is more complex. However, it’s all about being able to put yourself out there and work at finding friends, not just expecting friends to find you. When you’re 11, you bond over being 11 and being in the same place at the same time. When you’re older it’s about finding people who have similar hobbies and are at a similar place in life. In order to find friends, you need to be in a friendly mindset and put yourself in social situations.
Work is probably the most common place for adults to meet friends. Similar to a school setting that cultivated so many friendships when we were children and young adults, a work setting gives us a space to interact with people with something in common. A company with a positive culture will provide open means of communication with employees in order to socialize, brainstorm, and create respectful relationships among those that work together. Take those open means of communication and run with them. Get to know your coworkers, take advantage of company social situation, and mingle with the people you work with. For a lot of us, forced social situations are uncomfortable, but sometimes it’s great to use those to make friends — even if it’s just to talk about how you both hate forced social situations.
Some people do not have the appropriate work setting to make friends. Perhaps their coworkers aren’t the right fit or maybe they work from home. In those situations, it might be better to find companionship by other means. Volunteering is a great way to meet people you’re compatible with. For one, volunteerism is great for many reasons. Programs like the Peace Corps cultivate relationships with volunteers while completing life-changing projects that bring volunteers and communities together. Now, you don’t have to go join the Peace Corps to experience volunteerism. You can go walk dogs at your local animal shelter, bring food to a senior center, or take part in any cause you feel passionate about in your community. The people you’ll meet while volunteering will at least have a similar passion in helping others.
When we were in school we could play a sport, take an art class, or take part in a club of our choosing. The people you meet while taking part in those extracurriculars made great friends because you had similar interests in basketball, pottery, debate, etc. As adults we can still do those things. If you’re looking to make friends, consider taking a class in something and socializing with the people you meet. This can be a book club, a yoga class, trivia nights, or an adult sports league. Chances are that your town has a ton of options like this depending on what your hobbies are. You might be surprised how easy it can be to find like-minded platonic buddies at classes or activities like these designed to bring people together.
Sometimes moving to a new place can be the most difficult situation to make new friends. However, it’s also an opportunity for a fresh place and new people. Getting into your community might be as simple as assimilating to those close to you. Go to your local grocery store, walk around your neighborhood, take your dog to the local dog park and find the places your neighbors go. Meeting your neighbors can be as deliberate as making a baked good or picking up a bottle of wine and knocking on your neighbors door. Let them know you’re new to the area and that you’d be interested in going on a walk with your dogs or children if they were interested. Or offer a game night or a coffee date. Meeting friends in a new place, or even in the same place, can be tricky, but seeking out your neighbors is a great place to start.
The most important aspect in meeting new people is to be open to new people. Know that you can meet friends online and become close to them just like you can in person. Try following your town on social media and interacting with people on that page. Make friends with people across the web that don’t exist in your town and chat with them anyway — lasting friendships don’t have to be in person. If you do meet someone in person, be friendly. If you notice someone who is lost, offer them directions. If you see someone who needs help carrying something, offer to help. Small interactions can lead into actual friendships if your mind is in the right place. Being open to social situations is the best way to find a friend where you least expect it.
Generally, people tend to be sort of awkward in their quest to communicate with others and create a friendship out of thin air. Social situations are hard for many of us, so it’s not so easy to just join a book club and find your new best friend. But, it is a start. Finding friends as a grown up is weird, but it’s not impossible. It’s all about taking your social situations and turning them into an opportunity for friendship. It’s about creating your own social situations and taking a chance. Making friends seemed so effortless as a child, but it doesn’t have to be impossible as an adult. It might just require more awkward laughs and maybe a glass of wine to calm the nerves.
Guest Post by Chelsy Ranard