3 Easy Ways to Make Friends as an Adult
I recently met one of my blogger friends in person for the first time. Ashley Urke from Domestic Fashionista met me at the cutest little tea shop in Davis, California. I’ve got a great interview with her coming up later this week, so stay tuned!
This meeting was extra special for me because it was the first time I met one of my blogger friends in real life. Ever. And I’ve been blogging for almost 3 years.
It reminded me how difficult it can be to create lasting friendships as an adult.
We all had it so easy when we were in school or college. The school structure creates a world of its own, and you can’t help but connect to the people you see day in and day out. There’s something about sharing a bathroom that brings people together.
I made loads of friends in college, including my husband Chris, but things kind of fell apart when I entered the real world. My college friends and I quickly grew apart, and I felt a lot of competition with my coworkers.
My days were filled with commuting, working in a corporate office, cleaning the house, and dealing with the mundane tasks of married life like grocery shopping and running to the post office.
I didn’t have my built-in community anymore, so how was I supposed to make friends?
But it IS possible to make new friendships as an adult. It just involves a bit of planning and creativity.
Here are my top 3 ways to make friends as an adult.
Piggyback on Current Friendships
This is a no brainer. Think about your current friendships (you do have at least one friend, right?). Chances are, you’ll get along with your friends’ other friends. At the very least, you have one thing in common (your shared friend).
A fun way to broaden your circle of friends is to have a “Plus 1” party. Invite your friends over to your place or meet at a restaurant, but each person has to bring along someone else (a plus 1) that isn’t currently part of the group.
And don’t forget about your partner’s friends. Set up a group outing with several couples, and you’ll double your potential friends quickly.
Join an Online or In-Person Group
My friendship with Ashley started when we commented on each other’s blogs. It’s sounds strange, but I have dozens of friends that I’ve never seen in person.
I meet people when I join online groups or programs, or when I randomly find their blogs through a search. You can find online forums, Facebook groups, or blogs for nearly any topic you can think of.
My friend Ally lives in New York, and she recently wrote about how female friends (mostly teenagers) like to swap clothes with each other. I commented that I never had friends to swap clothes with growing up.
So Ally set me a card in the mail with $50 to buy a pretty new outfit! I’m wearing the clothes I bought with her gift in this picture. Thanks, Ally! I often get little presents and cards in the mail from my online friends.
Bird’s the word, yo.
If you’d rather make friends in your own neighborhood, check out activity sites like Meetup.com. You can search by interest (such as movies, books, sports) and find hundreds of groups in your town.
Sign up for programs, lectures, and local events where you can meet people who like the same things you do. Some of my closest friendships have started at conferences. Want to end the year with a bang? Join Molly Mahar’s Holiday Council with me, and we can cheer each other on!
Get Out of Your Comfort Zone
Sometimes it can be uncomfortable to try to make new friendships. OK, it can be really uncomfortable!
You’re not in kindergarten anymore, and you can’t just walk up to someone on the playground and ask, “Will you be my friend?”
But you’ll be happier if you have a few good friends to laugh with, get support from, and talk about what’s going on in your life. Even introverts can benefit from close friendships.
If you want to take baby steps on this friendship path, challenge yourself to talk to one new person every day. Strike up a conversation at the coffee shop, give a compliment to someone at your office, or leave a comment on a blog you haven’t visited before.
How do you make friends as an adult?
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I’ve only had one really close friend that I met over 15 years ago through my husband. The rest of the women I meet are family members, so I don’t think that really counts. I would love to add more friends to my circle, but it’s hard when you are a busy mom. You offered some great suggestions though!
Family members count as friends IF you think you’d be friends with them if you weren’t related. Sometimes it’s easy to feel stuck with family members, but you don’t have to force a friendship with them. Have you joined any mommy meetup groups?
It’s definitely not easy. I have made friends through zumba classes (we are all regulars) and at the gym, but being a busy mom doesn’t always make it easy to nurture a new friendship, either.
The gym is a fabulous place to meet new friends! It’s where you take care of yourself and you already have something in common. The Zumba classes I’ve been to have encouraged chatting and laughing, more so than say a yoga class.
Hi Sage! I love the idea of having a plus one party! I love my friends, and think this is a fun way of meeting more potential friends!
Hey Sue! Thanks for commenting. 🙂 Nine times out of ten, I get along with my friends’ friends. It’s a great way to broaden your circle.
I love this post Sage!! Once again I feel like you are speaking directly to me 🙂 It is really difficult to meet new people as an adult. I’ve made a few friends through work but otherwise I’ve only experienced the opposite (drifting away from childhood friends). How amazing that you met up with Ashley and how incredibly sweet of Ally to send you a gift card. It’s amazing how many wonderful people you can connect to in the blogosphere… I consider myself very lucky to have made some great friends through blogs and very lucky to call you a friend! Being a self conscious introvert makes things really difficult for me but I will definitely take this advice to heart and put it to good use 🙂
I so wish you lived closer to me, Sarah. Or at least on the same side of the country! One day we’ll get together. 🙂
I love blogging because of the wonderful friendships I’ve made. It can be lonely being an adult, but blogging makes it easy to find a connection.
You two look like you could be related! I’m glad you were able to meet and have a good time.
I adore that bird chair! So fun!
I didn’t realize it before, but we DO kind of look alike! Ashley said she normally can’t put her hand on people’s shoulders when she takes pictures but she could with me because we’re both so short.
That bird chair would look perfect in my living room. 😉
I love this post, because I find it hard to find new friends. So glad that online friends are allowed and actually count! And I’ll take that “one new person a day” challenge, too.
Thanks, Frauke! Online friends absolutely count, and I depend on my online friends (like you!) a lot, especially when I need quick support.
Oh yes, I think it is SO hard to make friends as an adult! I think these are all great suggestions though – especially meeting online friends in person. I’ve done it a couple of times now and the results have been great!
My goal is to meet more of my blogging friends in person next year, even if I have to hop on a plane!
That is a cool chair! You look like you had fun, meet-ups are great! I can see how it can be hard to make friends as an adult. I only made friends with three people in college, but, I became friends with their friends and it is fun hanging out with them 🙂 great advice !
Thanks, Sara. It wasn’t easy staying connected to my friends after college because we all moved back to our respective home towns. There’s something nice about having friends that live close by.
This is great advice! It can be very difficult to make new and lasting friendships as an adult. I think it does help to just talk to someone new everyday like you said. One of my recent friendships with someone came simply because we stopped to say “Hello” and “How are you?” in the kitchen at my job. Every time we talked in the kitchen, we realized more and more that we had a lot in common. Not every person you say “hi” to will be an instant friend, but every now and then, you come across someone you just click with, and before you know it, a friendship is born!
When you think about it, most of us probably see the same people every day at work, on the bus, or in the coffee shop. That’s fantastic that you made a friend just by putting yourself out there and saying hello. You never know who you might click with.
Yay! You look lovely. And I’m glad you did a blogger meetup. After more than a dozen of them, I’m a big advocate of meeting your online friends in person. It’s the best way to deepen your friendships. Meeting in person makes them feel real.
Thanks again for the shopping spree, Ally! It was fun to pick out something beautiful just for me. You’re awesome!