10 Tips for Finding and Nurturing Adult Friendships
When we were kids, we had built-in friend groups of 20+ kids by virtue of the classroom. When we move on into higher education, we have even more access because of academics, panhellenic clubs, and weekend clubbing and parties. But making friends as adults can be challenging, especially when busy schedules, work and family demands, and changes in workplace environments (remote work) limit our opportunities to connect in person. However, by taking small steps and being willing to put yourself out there, you can find, cultivate, and nurture adult friendships. Here are ten tips to help you get started:
1. Start with Shared Interests
One of the easiest ways to connect with people is through shared interests. Take a look at your hobbies and passions and see if there's a group or club for them. Join classes or join events related to those interests. That way, you'll have something to discuss and enjoy right away.
2. Attend Social Events
Attending social events, such as community meetups, can put you in a position to meet new people. From book clubs to trivia nights to happy hours, social events provide a relaxed environment to initiate a conversation or a bond. A great place to start is sites like meetup.com where you can join or start any number of special interest groups.
3. Volunteer for a Good Cause
Volunteering for a good cause not only has positive effects on your mental and emotional wellbeing but also gives you the opportunity to meet like-minded individuals. Find non-profits that align with your values and offer your time to a cause you care about.
4. Take a Class
Taking a class that meets regularly (not just one-off) can provide excellent opportunities to meet and get to know new people while also learning something new. Whether it's a cooking class, language course, photography course, pickleball or dance lessons, being part of a class gives you a chance to interact with people with similar interests.
5. Foster your Current Relationships
It's essential to nurture the relationships you already have. Reach out to old friends and acquaintances you've lost touch with. Plan catch-ups over lunch or dinner to enjoy each other's company. Oh, and existing relationships are a great place to start branching out as well; ask your friends to start including their other friends so you can expand your social reach.
6. Be Approachable
Be approachable and open to new experiences. If you have a negative attitude or expectancy about making new friends, you can bet it will be difficult for you. But, an open mind, a willing heart, a friendly smile, eye contact, and a simple greeting can go a long way in initiating conversations.
7. Take it Slow
Building a lasting friendship takes time. Be patient and don't pressure yourself or the other person. Start with small interactions and gradually build from there. A good friendship can take a while to blossom, just like a good wine. Also remember that not every friendship needs to be a deep friendship; some friendships have are setting or experience specific and that's ok!
8. Use Social Media
Social media isn't just for keeping up with friends and family; it's also an excellent tool for meeting new people. Join social media groups related to your hobbies, interests, or career goals. Engage in conversations and share your perspective and interests in relevant conversations. Then, if possible, make time to try and connect in-person or over FaceTime.
9. Take the Initiative
Initiate friendly interaction. Don't be afraid to be the one to break the ice and start a conversation or plan an outing. You'll appreciate the feedback from the other person for taking the initiative.
10. Don't Be Afraid to Get Silly
Laughter is an excellent way to bond. Don't be afraid to let loose and get silly with people you're interested in building a friendship with. Whether it's telling jokes or sharing funny stories, laughing together is a great way to feel connected.
By trying out these ten tips, you can successfully find, cultivate, and nurture adult friendships. Remember, building friendships takes time and effort, but the rewards of establishing those bonds are incredibly worth it. Get out there, be open, be yourself, and you'll find your tribe!