Making friends as an adult can feel impossible. But good friends are priceless and irreplaceable, so forging these connections is worth the effort. The good news is if you’re prepared to get out of your comfort zone, work on self-development, and open your mind, then you can definitely make friends as an adult. I know because I’ve done it! Read on to find out how!
- Develop confidence. The best tool to have when meeting new friends as an adult is confidence. It takes a lot of courage to put yourself out there with someone, even if it is in a purely platonic way. And it’s tricky to summon that courage without confidence. So the best thing to do is work on feeling good about yourself. There are plenty of strategies to slowly build confidence, ranging from repeating positive affirmations to pushing yourself out of our comfort zone. Before you even think about trying to make new friends, make sure you’ve at least started to work on your confidence levels.
- Know what type of friends you want. Before you actively start making new friends, it can help to know what type of friends you want. Do you want friends to go out with on the weekends? Travel with? Honest people who will tell you the truth? Get clear on what you’re actually looking for in a friend. That way, you’ll know when you meet someone who embodies what you want. And you’ll know when someone isn’t right for the kind of friendship you’re looking for.
- Be more social. As a kid, you might’ve met most of your friends at school, but you don’t have that opportunity as an adult. So it’s a good idea to go to as many different events as you can. When there’s an opportunity to get social, take it. Go to parties. Tag along with people you already know as they catch up with other friends. Go to networking events. Remember, you might not meet someone you could be friends with at every event. But you might someone who could introduce you to someone you’ll mesh with. The more people you meet, the higher your chances of making new friends.
- Open your mind. It’s important to keep an open mind when making new friends. When you do go to a social event, try talking to people you wouldn’t normally talk to. Rather than sticking with the same old people at a party, branch out and start up conversations with new people. If someone unexpected starts talking to you, don’t immediately brush them off. Give people a chance. You never know who might make a great friend, or who might introduce you to a great friend.
- Be willing to approach people and hold conversation. If you exclusively wait for new people to come up and start talking to you first, you could be waiting a long time. Instead, it’s more effective to take the power in your own hands and approach other people first. This is where the confidence comes in. Making new friends will require you to make and hold conversation, which can be hard for those who are shy. That’s okay! The more you practice at this, the more natural it will feel and the easier it will get.
- Find your passions and follow them. It helps to be more social and attend more parties when trying to meet new friends. But if you’re not the type who enjoys parties, then you might have to look for other ways to be social. You could try getting involved in events and activities that reflect your passions. For example, if you love walking, join a walking group. Take a class and learn a skill you’ve always wanted to know. This is the best way to meet like-minded people. Meetup.com is a great resource for joining groups that reflect your interests.
- Make effort. The number one thing that you have to do while making friends as an adult is make effort. After you’ve first met someone, you will turn them from an acquaintance to a friend (and keep them there) by making effort. Again, as an adult, you don’t have the opportunity that school brings, where you don’t need to make effort with your friends because you see them five days a week. If you don’t work with someone, then you need to carve time out in your schedule to see them, even when it’s convenient.
- Don’t waste time on old friendships that have become toxic. To make space for new friendships in your life, it can help to clear away the old ones. If you have old friendships that have become toxic or don’t enhance your life in any way, don’t be scared to remove them from your life. The less time you spend with the wrong people, the more time you have to spend with the right ones!