As we get older and life-changes such as big career shifts, relocations, or evolving personal interests come into play, our friend groups start to shrink. Research reveals that adults generally start losing friends around age 25. This statistic might make it sound like keeping friends as an adult is impossible, but it’s more that outgrowing your old social groups is a common and normal part of growing up.
Just because you’re no longer a kid doesn’t mean you should say goodbye to having close friends and a good social life. Quite the opposite! The adult world is teeming with fun social activities that offer opportunities to meet new people and form new adult friendships.
“Hey, where did all of my friends go?”– Every adult at some point
In this article, we will share some of our best tips and strategies for making new friends as an adult. These tips make it easy for introverts to break out of their shell and revolutionize your social life. Keep reading and discover how to turn any social situation into an opportunity for friendship.
Is it hard to make friends as an adult?
Adults often find it challenging to form new friendships due to a combination of factors. Finishing school decreases your exposure to large social groups and, coupled with geographical mobility like moving cities for work or family reasons, can disrupt established social networks.
As we get older, we also tend to become more selective about our time and relationships, in general, prioritizing other aspects of life, like family time or career growth, over socializing. Many of us have demanding careers with skewed work-life balance and major limits on our free time for months (or years) at a time.
After being out practice for too long, we may begin forget how to make friends, which ultimately grows into fear of rejection, and after letting our social skills lapse for too long.
Despite these hurdles, with the right strategies and a proactive approach, creating new social bonds in adulthood is very achievable and well worth the effort.
Here are just a few of the benefits of making friends as an adult
- Mental Well-being: Social connections can reduce feelings of loneliness and depression. Having someone to talk to and share experiences with can provide emotional support and boost mental health and overall happiness.
- Physical Health: Studies have shown that strong social connections can lead to a longer life, reduce the risk of heart disease, and even boost immunity.
- Personal Growth: New friends introduce us to different perspectives, hobbies, and experiences, which can lead to personal enrichment and growth.
How Do Adults Realistically Make New Friends?
Here are some practical steps to help you expand your social network and build meaningful relationships.
1. Be Positive
The first step in making new friends is to approach the process with a positive mindset. This means being outcome independent, open to new experiences, and optimistic about the possibility of meeting new people. Remember, every person you meet has the potential to become a new friend.
It’s also important to maintain a positive attitude during your interactions. People are generally drawn to positivity, so try to be upbeat and friendly. For example, when you meet someone new, focus on the positive aspects of the conversation rather than dwelling on any awkward moments.
Lastly, don’t be discouraged by rejection. Not everyone you meet will become a close friend, and that’s okay. Keep a positive outlook and continue to put yourself out there.
2. Find a Group That Interests You
Joining a group or club that aligns with your interests is a great way to embrace the serendipity of meeting like-minded people. Whether it’s a book club, a hiking group, or a local sports team, these settings provide a natural environment for friendships to form.
For example, if you love reading, joining a book club can provide an opportunity to meet other book lovers. Not only will you be able to discuss your favorite books, but you’ll also have a shared interest that can serve as a foundation for your friendship.
If you’re not sure where to start, consider using websites like Meetup, which can help you find local groups that match your interests. Remember, the goal is to find a group that you enjoy, so don’t be afraid to try out a few different ones until you find the right fit.
3. Leverage Your Current Network
Another effective way to make new friends is to leverage your existing social circle or professional network. This could involve reaching out to old friends, asking current friends to introduce you to their friends, or even forming connections with colleagues.
For example, you could organize a social event like a dinner party or a game night and ask each of your friends to bring someone that the rest of the group hasn’t met. This can be a fun and low-pressure way to meet new people.
Remember, friendships often form through repeated interactions, so try to find ways to regularly engage with your extended network. This could be through group activities, regular catch-ups, or social media interactions.
4. Use Technology to Your Advantage
Technology can be a powerful tool for making new friends. There are numerous apps and websites designed to help people connect with others in their local area.
For example, apps like Meetup and Jaunty’s Social Skills Training Gym are specifically designed to help adults make new friends. These platforms allow you to connect with people who share similar interests, are in the same age range, or live in the same area.
While online interactions shouldn’t replace face-to-face connections, they can be a great starting point. Once you’ve made a connection online, try to transition the relationship offline by arranging a meet-up in person.
5. Be Open-Minded and Curious
Being open-minded and curious can significantly improve your chances of making new friends. This means pushing aside any jadedness and being open to meeting different types of people and being curious about their experiences and perspectives.
For example, you might meet someone who has a completely different background or lifestyle from you. Instead of focusing on the differences, try to find common ground and be curious about their experiences. This can lead to interesting conversations and can help you form a deeper connection.
Additionally, being curious and open-minded can also involve trying new things. This could be a new hobby, a new type of cuisine, or a new place. Remember, new experiences often lead to new friendships, so don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone.
6. Volunteer Your Time
Volunteering is another excellent way to make new friends as an adult. Not only does it allow you to give back to your community, but it also provides an opportunity to meet people who share your values and interests.
For example, if you’re passionate about animal welfare, volunteering at a local animal shelter can help you connect with other animal lovers. Similarly, if you’re interested in art, you could volunteer at a local museum or art festival.
Remember, the goal of volunteering is not just to make friends, but also to contribute to a cause you care about. The friendships that form through volunteering are often based on shared values and can be particularly rewarding and meaningful.
7. Engage In Small Talk
Don’t underestimate the power of engaging in small talk and striking up conversations with more people. Whether you’re at a workout class, a community event, or even in line at the grocery store, there are potential friends all around you.
Starting a conversation can be as simple as making a comment about your surroundings or asking a question. For example, if you’re at a workout class, you could comment on the intensity of the workout or ask the person next to you how long they’ve been attending the class.
Remember, every conversation doesn’t have to lead to a friendship. The goal is to practice your social skills and increase your comfort level with meeting new people. Over time, some of these interactions will naturally develop into friendships.
8. Take a Class or Workshop
Taking a class or workshop can be a great way to meet new people and potentially make new friends. Choose a class in something you’re interested in or would like to learn more about. This could be anything from painting, cooking, yoga, or a foreign language. The shared experience of learning something new can provide a common ground and a topic of conversation, making it easier to connect with others.
Jaunty’s social skills workshops often involve group activities or projects, which can facilitate interaction and cooperation among participants. Working together towards a common goal can create a sense of camaraderie and mutual support, which are key elements of friendship.
Remember to be proactive and open in your interactions. Don’t wait for others to approach you, instead, take the initiative to start conversations, ask questions, and express interest in your classmates. This shows that you’re friendly and interested in forming connections.
9. Attend Social Events
Social events are excellent platforms for meeting new people. These could be community gatherings, charity events, concerts, festivals, or even casual parties organized by acquaintances. When attending these events, make an effort to mingle and engage in conversations with different people.
At these events, try to be open to conversations and approachable. A simple smile, a friendly greeting, or a casual comment about the event can be a great conversation starter. Also, be genuinely interested in what others have to say. This shows that you value their thoughts and are open to learning more about them.
Remember, the goal is not to make a certain number of friends at each event, but to enjoy the experience and make meaningful connections. Even if you don’t immediately hit it off with someone, don’t be discouraged. Friendships take time to develop, and each interaction is a step towards that.
10. Join a Sports League
Joining a sports league is another effective way to make new friends. Whether it’s soccer, bowling, running, or even chess, participating in a sport that you enjoy can provide numerous opportunities to meet like-minded individuals.
In a sports league, you’ll have regular interactions with your teammates, which can help you build rapport and familiarity. Over time, these interactions can evolve into deeper connections and friendships. Additionally, the shared experiences, challenges, and triumphs can foster a sense of team spirit and camaraderie.
Remember to be a good sport, both in victory and defeat. Show respect for your teammates and opponents, offer help and encouragement, and appreciate the efforts of others. These positive behaviors can make you more likable and attract potential friends.
11. Be Consistent and Patient
Making friends as an adult requires consistency and patience. It’s important to consistently put yourself in situations where you can meet new people and form connections. This could require confronting and overcoming social anxiety and regularly attending social events, joining clubs or groups, or participating in community activities.
However, while being proactive is important, it’s equally important to be patient. Friendships don’t form overnight. It takes time to get to know someone, build trust, and develop a deep connection. Don’t rush the process or force a friendship. Allow it to develop naturally at its own pace.
Remember that not every person you meet will become a close friend, and that’s perfectly fine. The goal is not to have a large number of friends, but to have meaningful and fulfilling friendships. So, focus on quality over quantity, and be patient in your journey of making new friends.
How can I make friends as an adult if I’m shy?
If you’re shy, making friends as an adult can seem daunting. However, there are strategies you can use to make the process easier. Start by putting yourself in situations where you can meet new people. This could be a class, a club, or a community event.
Remember, it’s okay to take things slow. You don’t have to become best friends with someone overnight. Start by making small talk and gradually work your way up to more in-depth conversations. With time and practice, you’ll become more comfortable and confident in social situations.
What are some tips for making friends as an adult?
As an adult, making friends can be a bit more challenging than it used to be. However, it’s not impossible. Remember that forming genuine bonds requires openness, patience, and authenticity.
Friendships cannot be rushed or forced, they require time and consistency. Maintain a positive attitude in your efforts, and you’ll likely find the meaningful connections you seek.
- Be Open and Approachable: First impressions matter. When you meet new people, be friendly and show genuine interest in getting to know them. Smile, maintain eye contact, and engage in conversation. This will make you appear more approachable and people will be more likely to want to become friends with you.
- Find Common Interests: Shared interests are often the foundation of lasting friendships. Whether it’s a hobby, a sport, or a favorite book genre, finding something you both enjoy can give you something to bond over and provide opportunities for spending time together.
- Be Patient: Building friendships takes time. It’s important to be patient and not rush the process. It may take a while to move from acquaintances to close friends, but the wait is often worth it.
- Be Consistent: Consistency is key in any relationship. Make an effort to regularly keep in touch and spend time together. This could be through weekly meet-ups, phone calls, or even just a simple text message.
- Be Yourself: Authenticity is crucial when making new friends. Be true to yourself and don’t try to change who you are to fit in. Genuine friendships are built on mutual respect and acceptance of each other’s individuality.
Making Friends As An Adult: Don’t Make It Harder Than It Has To Be
While making friends as an adult can seem daunting, remember that it’s a skill that can be learned and improved, just like any other. And that’s where Jaunty comes in.
At Jaunty, we believe that everyone has the potential to enhance their social life and communication skills. We’ve worked with a diverse range of individuals, from business professionals to singles, leaders, and even those who consider themselves shy. Our goal is to help you live a life beyond your current imagination and capabilities.
Our approach is rooted in a variety of disciplines, including philosophy, psychology, neuroscience, and behavioral sciences. We combine these insights with our own experimentation to make social skills learnable and accessible for everyone.
Working with a social skills coach from Jaunty can help you:
- Develop a positive and open mindset towards meeting new people
- Identify and join groups that align with your interests
- Leverage your existing social network to make new connections
- Utilize technology effectively to expand your social circle
- Embrace curiosity and open-mindedness in your social interactions
- Build the confidence to strike up conversations with potential friends
With Jaunty, you can learn the skills you need to form meaningful connections and thrive in any social situation. Start your journey with us today.