How To Make Friends as An Adult
Updated: Dec 2, 2021
I'm not entirely confident that I can call myself an "adult" when I still call my mom at the slightest inconvenience, but because I'm out of school and living on my own I think I'm no longer considered a child. As I've previously written about, this last year I moved away from a town I've known all my life to the *big* city of Austin, TX. To say the least, I was nervous and wondered if I'd be able to make friends in my new home.
Luckily, I was fortunate to have a close childhood friend and a college friend here to make the move easier. I was also fortunate to inherit a few of my boyfriend's classmates as friends. Unfortunately, they all have lives of their own and can't spend all their free time with me (just kidding, good for them).
Leaving the comfort of small-town Wisconsin made me learn a lot about myself and moving to a new place brought on unique challenges. One of my biggest concerns was how hard it can be to meet people and make new friends in adulthood. I'm happy to report that for the most part this has been going well, and I've been able to make quality friendships in the months I've been here.
I wanted to put together a guide on how to make friends as an adult based on my experiences. Here are some tried and true guidelines whether you're moving somewhere new or just looking to expand (or strengthen) your circle.
1. Let go of Fear
Right off the bat I'm coming in with one of the toughest things to do. It's hard to put yourself out there. When reaching out to someone new, we always run the risk of rejection. However, if we never reach out, we run the risk of missing out on a valuable friendship. It's times like these when you have to "pick your hard." Isn't it better to be vulnerable knowing it could work out than to never try? Set aside your fears of rejection and judgement, knowing that the people you want in your life will accept you as you are.
2. Say Yes to New Experiences
This is especially true when moving somewhere new but holds true in every situation. For example, say someone invites you to a yoga class and you've never vinyasa-ed a day in your life. Instead of saying no right off the bat because you're worried you won't be good at it, say a simple okay and give it a try. It can be uncomfortable trying new things, but it can also be incredibly freeing and used to create bonds with the people you experience it with.
3. Join a Facebook Group
These days there are groups for literally everything! (For me, this meant mostly Bachelor-related groups). In Austin there are tons of groups specifically for new people in town. If you're new to an area look for a group for new locals. You can also search groups relating to your interests, whether you're new or born & raised! One of the best ways to build relationships is through common interests, and with Facebook right at our fingertips, it only makes sense that we use it to find new friends who enjoy the same things we do.
And on that note...
4. Use Social Media to Your Advantage
If there's one thing social media is good for, it's keeping us connected. My personal favorite platform is Instagram, and this happens to be how I've met a few of my new friends in Austin. Social media posts can be a great way to start a conversation with someone new. If you see them sharing something that interests you, reach out and let them know! From there you can start further conversations, and if you find you have a lot in common, there's a great foundation for a friendship.
Even if you don't meet people directly through social media platforms, they can be a great tool for finding events in your area to attend. Follow or subscribe to accounts that interest you and look out for events they post that you can attend and meet people with similar interests. Austin has several Instagram accounts specifically for highlighting events taking place in the area, such as restaurant openings, sporting event viewing parties, and my personal favorite, Bachelor watch parties. Do a search for something similar in your area!
I would also highly recommend using an app specifically for meeting new people, like Bumble BFF! When using the app, you create a personal profile with information about yourself (age, location, interests, etc.) and it will “match” you with people in your area. You can also put in preference of what you’re looking for in a friend, similar to the information you provided. It’s like using a dating app, but for finding friends!
5. Join the Club,
any club, fitness studio, or hobby hub! One of the best ways to meet people is to put yourself in a position to be around others. I've found that fitness classes have been a great way for me to socialize over the years. If fitness isn't really your thing, find your niche and do some researching! In Austin I've seen groups for everything from wine enthusiasts to "nature nerds," and I imagine the same range of interests can be found in other areas. Getting social can be as simple as posting a Facebook status asking if anyone wants to start a weekly book club and friendships can develop from there.
6. Start a Second Job
Work is a great way to meet people and form connections because you spend a significant amount of time with your coworkers. If you have the time, adding a second job in an area that interests you might be a fun way to spend your time, meet new people, and add a little extra change in your pocket. Of course, not everyone has the time or ability to do so, but if you can, it might be worth considering!
7. Lastly, Be Your Own Friend First
When it comes to making friends, and I mean real friendships, it's important to seek out the people who are going to make you a priority in their lives. It's easy to find superficial friends, and potentially easier to find toxic friends. There are too many people who will see you simply as something they can benefit from, take advantage of, or control. Trust your gut, love yourself first, and real friendships will follow. Real friends are those you don't have to compete with, the people who share in your successes with you, the ones that are always rooting for you.
With a little motivation and accepting attitude, it's possible to make meaningful friendships. Push aside the fear of judgement and rejection knowing that there could be a great relationship waiting for you on the other side. Don't get caught up in the number of friends you have, and instead focus on the quality of the relationships.
Even though we may not be in school with our friends everyday anymore, it's still possible to make valuable friendships in adulthood. I hope you found a few ideas and inspiration in these words to make new, meaningful friendships no matter what your situation is.
All the love,