As we grow older, our friendships with others change. It’s easy to grow your friend circle in high school because you see each other every day. College can be similar – a much more social culture for many students. However, if you’re not in a classroom every day, how do you make friends as an adult?
Through my life, I’ve developed friendships in a variety of ways. I was on sports teams, active in high school clubs, participated in a teen church group, joined organizations in junior college, and found incredible friends through social media. After I moved to Southern California to finish my final few college semesters, I made probably 90% of my friends at my job. (Working at Disney is honestly like working for a giant high school.) Three years later, I landed a new job and left the familiar. This was when I realized that making friends as an adult was definitely very different.
Everyone has different work schedules, commuting distances, other social circles, and relationships. Planning time with an adult friend is challenging when everyone has a busy life, but there are definitely ways you can build and grow some of these friendships into something as special or even stronger than the friends you made back in school.
Connect with Coworkers
This might be the easiest way to make friends as an adult. If your coworkers are within your age range (or maybe not, that’s okay too!), take the time to go out to lunch or ask them to join you for dinner outside of your workplace. Coworkers understand you on many levels that some other friends might not when it comes to talking about your job. You might even discover you have more than work in common, and can expand your outings to involve your similar interests! However, try your best to keep office gossip either at a minimum, or at least out of the office with only very trusted coworkers. The last thing you want is drama spreading and altering how your colleagues see you on a professional level.
Attend Social Events
If you’re an introvert like myself, going to social events with a bunch of strangers sounds like a nightmare. What if I can’t connect with anyone? What happens if I’m the awkward outcast and no one wants to talk to me? In these situations, I highly recommend attending social outings with a solid blend of familiar friends and brand new people. Even if you only know one person, they can help introduce you to others and break the ice for you! This is a perfect chance to expand your friend circle as an adult. Brunches, sporting events, movie nights, parties…any of these are great opportunities to meet and build connections with new people!
Ask an Acquaintance to Coffee
Or dinner, a drink, bowling…anything! Have a friend that you casually text or chat with on social media? Why not take that extra step and spend some time together? Clearly you already have things to talk about if you’re chatting here and there, so go the extra mile and help that acquaintance finally become a full-fledged friend!
Attend Classes or Start a Hobby
Trying to learn a new skill? Whether it’s something academic like a new language, creative like photography, or a little more abstract like acrobatic yoga, if you attend a class regularly, you’re bound to find someone with the potential to become a friend! I know it’s easy to simply show up to class, work on your own skills, and then leave without any interaction with other people. This is completely fine! But if you want to find new friends and build relationships, I wouldn’t say this is the best approach. It’s incredible what a simple introduction can do to kick off a new friendship.
I know, I know. The internet is a scary and sometimes weird place. You’d honestly be surprised with how many of my closest friends I’ve made through the internet, specifically social media. Think about it, what easier way to find people with similar interests as you than through online communities? You don’t even need to leave your room! I started unintentionally making friends through Tumblr back in 2011, and I’ve stayed connected with many of these friendships ever since! Facebook groups are also easy ways to meet similar people, since the groups are usually focused on a specific hobby or interest. Honestly, want to know how I’ve made many of my internet friends? Blogging! You’d be amazed at how many people and relationships you can build through blogging about something you’re passionate about. Odds are, you’ll find people who share the same passion as you!
At the end of the day, the key element in common for each of these options to make friends as an adult is to take initiative. Building relationships as an adult isn’t simply about showing up to class every day. If you’re searching for some new friends, you’ll need to step a little outside of your comfort zone and make an effort to connect with others. It may feel a little awkward, but the result and friendship you build will be worth it.
How do you make friends as an adult? Have any of these methods worked for you? Let me know in the comments!