Making friends as an adult is extremely hard. Which is kind of funny to think about considering we technically started learning how to build relationships as children. Being in grade school, hanging around other kids, you eventually learn how to make a friend or two. Or maybe we just fell into them due to the circumstances. Regardless, some find and keep friends from earlier years well into adulthood. Some find their BFFs in high school and/or college and keep them for a lifetime. Others of us aren’t that lucky. Though luck has nothing to do with it, I guess.
No one says we have to hold onto those relationships for life. People change and grow apart. Maybe you wanted to escape the drama, or you never truly felt close to those you used to call your friends. Or maybe you didn’t know how to be a friend and let a good friendship dissolve into nothing. It happens to the best of us.
After all these years, I’m finally starting to realize the importance of friendship. This might sound ridiculous to some, but it’s my truth and I know I’m not the only one.
Why is it hard to make friends as an adult?
So, why is it hard to make friends as an adult?
You can’t have a solid relationship without trust, and as an adult, it’s harder to trust others. You have to be able to be vulnerable, which is scary to do sometimes. We don’t have a way of knowing someone’s true intentions. We don’t know if they’re secretly judging us for something we said or if they’ll disappear after a short time. These insecurities and trust issues keep us from building bonds with people who could potentially become some of our closest friends.
Another reason is we may not have the time to nurture a new friendship. One text every few days and never meeting up in person is not a good strategy for building a lasting friendship. However, we work, have responsibilities at home and other relationships to maintain. It can be hard finding time to put into someone new.
You’re an introvert
Introverts tend to be quiet, reserved, and enjoy their solitude. This doesn’t mean they don’t want to make friends or be social, it just means they most likely won’t be the one starting a conversation. Social interactions and settings are draining for us introverts. Which can make building relationships a bit tricky.
You don’t let people in
This goes hand in hand with trust issues. If you don’t give people the opportunity to get to know you, then you won’t build meaningful friendships.
How do you make friends as an adult?
As an adult, it’s less likely that a friendship will bloom out of nowhere. If you want to find new friends, you have to be intentional and go find them. There are a few ways to do this:
Join an app
Bumble BFF is a popular “friend finder” app and is the one I use. I’ve met some really interesting women since I’ve been on it. It’s nice because you’re able to find friend matches with similar interests. And, when you’re using Bumble BFF, you can only see people of the same sex, which means you don’t have to worry about running into anyone who may be looking for a date.
As an introvert, this is my preferred way of meeting new friends since I’m not one to strike up a conversation with someone in public. You get the opportunity to get to know someone without much pressure.
Join a group
Joining an interest group is another way to meet new people and make friends. You can join groups on Facebook, at a church, or apps like Meetup, or you can volunteer for a cause you care about. A group will get you interacting with people who share your interests.
Take a class
If there’s something you’re interested in learning, or if you have an at home hobby, see if you can find a class for it and meet a new person or two while doing something fun. Some ideas are dance, painting, crafting, cooking, or fitness classes.
Meet your friend’s friends
If you have some friends with smaller circle groups, try to tag along on their next outing and see if you get along with them. Sometimes it’s easier building friendships or meeting new people when a mutual friend can introduce you. And there’s nothing wrong with that!
Other things to note
It’s important to understand, as previously stated, friendships aren’t going to blossom out of nowhere. Some are lucky enough to meet someone once or twice and have a bond. The rest of us have to work at building relationships. This means, instead of thinking you don’t have time to nurture a new friendship, tell yourself to make the time. If you really can’t make time for new friends, then you shouldn’t be looking for any. Though trust is earned, don’t assume the worst of someone due to past experiences.
Know your boundaries. Boundaries are so important with any relationship. Knowing yours will help keep you true to yourself, help build trust and respect, and will help keep you from getting overwhelmed.
Know what kind of friends you’re looking for because everyone is different. Are you looking for someone with similar interests or different ones? Do you want someone who’s willing to go on a last-minute road trip or someone who likes to plan outings around your schedules? Or does it even matter? These may not be things you know now, but you will as you start talking and interacting with others.
So many adults struggle with feeling lonely. Having close friends and casual acquaintances is good for our mental health. Maybe you don’t need to find a BFF, but at least give yourself a chance to meet some cool new people.
Until next time,
April at Choosing to Bloom