Updated: Nov 29, 2021
Have you ever wondered why it’s so hard to make friends as an adult? Growing up, it’s easier to meet people; you go to school with classmates or peers in the same life stage as you.
As we enter adulthood, that gets harder. People move. Our priorities change. Our lives start to revolve around work and our families. Everyone becomes engulfed in their own routines. They are in different phases of life, whether it be raising children, getting married, or focusing on their career.
But research has shown that friendships can lower risk of heart disease, reduce stress levels, and improve quality of life. One study even found that the difference between most unhappy and most happy people was based on how socially connected they were.
What is the key to making friendships in adulthood? Making an effort.
While we could find social circles at school growing up, making friends as an adult is different. If you want to make friends, try creating habits that will help you make those friendships as an adult.
Consider these habits you can build to make friendships in adulthood:
Be proactive. Be proactive when it comes to meeting and getting to know others. Make that effort to smile and start a conversation!
Build self-confidence. Research has found that people tend to underestimate how much they are liked. Building your self-confidence will make it easier for you to start or keep a conversation going.
Ask questions. Be curious about the people you meet. Ask them questions about their hobbies, why they think a certain way, or what gets them excited about life.
Keep showing up. As you make an effort to build friendships, you’ll find some obstacles: you might get rejected, people you meet might be shy, or you might prefer the comfort of staying at home. When this happens, think about why you want to make friends - and motivate yourself to keep showing up.
Be engaged. Avoid taking on the role of the fly on the wall. Introduce yourself to others, ask them about themselves, and if they want to hang out in the near future.
Here are some ideas of places you can show up to make friends:
Pick a new hobby and sign up for a class. Sign up to a class (like an educational, art, cooking, or fitness class) to meet others who are interested in learning the same skill as you!
Invest in experiences. Friendships are built through new experiences. Go on a tour in your city or spend a few days on a group camping trip. Invest in experiences where you can connect with others and build memories.
Go to meetups. Attending meetups and events in your local area is a great way to meet people who have interests similar to yours.
Create a friendship habit. If you want to make friends, make a habit out of building friendships. For example, aim to go to coffee with a new friend once per week.
Volunteer. Volunteer for a cause that you believe in! You can support a cause you believe in, as well as meet people who believe in the cause’s mission.
Create your own meetup. Think about what you enjoy doing - going hiking, having brunch or playing board games. If you can’t find a meetup around that, create one!
Start a conversation with a stranger. Waiting in line? At an event? Don’t be afraid to start a conversation with a stranger! Even if you don’t see them again in the future, you can use that conversation as practice to build new friendships.
Although friendships may come effortlessly growing up, they take more effort as an adult. Put yourself out there, be engaged, and keep showing up. Ask people questions and invite them to hang out again.
Enjoy the experience!