How to make friends as an adult

When was the last time you made a new friend?

Crickets.

I made three new good friends in the past 2 years. But that was easy for me. I uprooted the family, moved to a new place, and insert myself into new communities. Now that sounds easy, but it isn’t. One of my friends only lives down the road from us, but it took a pandemic for us to get to know each other.

Growing and shrinking friendship circles

Assuming you are using a social media site where your friends and followers are people you meet in real life you will see a number of distinct communities. Each community represents a stage in your life: High-school, university, work. Your network changes with your life. When you transition from one stage to another, you lose contact with some people. You are replacing these faces with new faces. That’s ok, your network grows and shrinks over time.

Read more About forgetting people

While your circle of friends will change throughout your life, what will remain more stable is the number of friends and its composition. If you have more male than female friends, chances are high that you will always have more male than female friends. Changing the composition demands a big effort on your part.

How to make friends as an adult

This is the weirdest headline I wrote for some time. Do you know how young kids make friends? They go over to someone and ask “Do you want to be my friend?” That’s it. No period of courting, getting to know each other, testing the waters. Let’s just get straight to the point: You look like a nice person, we could have fun together. Let’s be friends.

But over time that simplicity disappears. Making friends means spending time together. You become friends because you are sharing the same space. There might be something intentional about it. But how many of your friends are also your colleagues? Or the parents of your kids’ friends? Or a dog owner you met repeatedly at the park?

Making friends as an adult is about discovering commonality. Things you share that go beyond surface characteristics such as age, gender, race, fashion preferences. It’s about being able to talk with someone, understand who they are, help them. It’s about making the other person feel accepted for who they are and sharing your sorrows and joys.

When shit hits the fan and life isn’t perfect, the people who stand by you are your friends.

Step-by-step approach

  1. Values & Principles: Now what you find important. These are the aspects of your life you value and find very difficult to compromise.
  2. Activities & Interests: Make a list of things you enjoy doing
  3. Clubs & Groups: Go and find online or offline places and groups where people are doing what you enjoy doing.
  4. Don’t be afraid: Go a and spent time in these places or with these groups. Go more often than once. Unless your first experience is really shitty, don’t write them off after one interaction.
  5. Be active & interact: You need to talk with people, volunteer to help and be active if you want to make friends.

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Katerina

Katerina

Behind every problem is a web of connectors and links. I look for patterns and offer solution. — I’m also raising 4 humans: I know problems can be solved.