I’ve been wanting to write a post about making friends as an adult for a while.
Because this is something I struggle with myself.
Especially now that I live the majority of the year abroad and am constantly on the move. I’m never in a place long enough to make long-lasting connections with people.
But now more than ever, I’ve realised just how vital having friends in your life is.
Healthy friendships help us to feel less lonely and isolated and give us a sense of belonging.
In short, they make life easier.
So whether you’ve moved to a new city, become a new mum, are looking to expand your social circle or are currently a digital nomad too, here are 8 fun ways to meet and connect with new people, and potentially make friends.
Table of Contents
- Ooh, friend!
- The benefits of meaningful adult friendships
- 8 ways to make new friends as an adult
- Final thoughts
I’m someone who is still best friends with the 3 people I was closest to at school.
We developed our friendship between the ages of 13 and 18, bonding over our awkward teen years and growing pains. And even though we all went to separate Universities, we would often Skype (yes, I’m that old, Zoom didn’t exist back then) and would share stories of each others’ “boy” drama.
And now that we are all 32, living in different cities and at completely different stages of life, we still have a special bond.
A bond that is hard to come by when you’re an adult.
We’ve known one another for more than half our lives. We’ve seen each other grow up. When we’re together, we reminisce over old times. But we also talk about the future and support each other in the present.
And I find it harder to develop that sort of deep meaningful connection with people now that I’m an adult.
I feel like people are always in a rush, and you have to summarise your entire life into a 5-minute bio otherwise you run the risk of being that self-obsessed person who only talks about yourself.
Sure, I met people and made friends in my twenties. But they were all party friends.
The friends you make because you need people to go out with. And when you leave your partying days behind you, you realise that the only thing you had in common with them was drinking and liking the same dance tunes.
And so you go your separate ways.
But now that I’m entering a new stage of life, one that is different to my OG friends, I’m more dedicated to finding new friendships.
To meet people who are also building their own businesses or living and working remotely. People that I can bounce ideas off of and can support during their own entrepreneurial journey.
I’ve been putting myself out there more and striking up conversations with people who look like they are in a similar position.
Yes, it’s hard. Yes, it’s terrifyingly uncomfortable at times but I do it in the hopes that it will soon pay off and I will meet a new BFF.
So whether you’ve moved to a new city, become a new mum, are looking to expand your social circle or are currently a digital nomad too, let’s do this thing together!
I challenge you in the next month to make one new friend or at least initiate a conversation with a stranger who could be a potential friend. Let’s hold each other accountable.
Need help with where to start? Keep reading for some tips and tricks on how to make friends.
The benefits of meaningful adult friendships
Having meaningful friendships aren’t just fun, they’re completely necessary to live.
Humans are inherently social and forming social connections is part of who we are. These social interactions are essential in developing and improving our communication skills as well as helping us feel less alone.
But that’s not all.
When you build and maintain healthy friendships, you are opening yourself up to many other benefits.
- Better immune function
- Decreased risk of disease, illness, and injury
- Faster recovery from illness
- Improved levels of confidence and self-worth
- Increased longevity
- Reduced stress and anxiety levels
- Boosts a sense of belonging and purpose
- Make us feel less alone and isolated
8 ways to make new friends as an adult
Making new friends as an adult can seem daunting and overwhelming. Especially if you suffer from social anxiety or feel socially awkward, like me.
The most important thing to remember here is, to just be yourself.
It’s a lot easier facing an alien situation if you are actually being the real you.
Besides if you fake it and pretend to be someone you’re not just to get others to like you, then this will lead to fake friendships which won’t last. Remember, we want honest and healthy connections!
Get comfortable with knowing that not everyone is going to like you.
I know it’s a hard pill to swallow but it’s completely ok. Plus it makes room for you to attract people who do like you.
So when looking for new people to connect with, focus on quality, not quantity. Look for someone with similar interests or hobbies so at least you have something to bond over.
I feel as though adult friendships, at least when you’re in your thirties anyway, should be built on deep and meaningful conversations. Not surface-level ones where you chat about other people or designer clothes.
A few other things to consider are:
- Initiate the first conversation. The other person might just be as nervous as you.
- Practice starting conversations in the mirror to build confidence
- Roll play meeting someone new with an old friend you feel comfortable around
- Keep a bunch of conversation starters up your sleeve just in case you need a little push
- If all else fails, just ask, “what’s your favourite type of cheese then?” It’s my go-to and has not failed me once
Ready to make friends? Read through these practical ideas of where to go to meet new people.
1 | Attend a meet-up or networking event
One of the best ways to meet new people and potential friends is to attend a meet-up or networking event.
Meet-ups are a great place to meet people with similar interests and networking events give you the opportunity to meet potential biz besties or collaborators.
Plus, you can attend these social get-togethers in your local area so you can strike up a friendly conversation with someone who lives in the same area as you.
Attending and socialising at one of these events is probably the most daunting on this list.
So start small. Go to a couple of these events with a friend first so you have someone to lean on if you feel awkward. Warm yourself up a bit by making small talk and not staying for too long. Repeat this until you’re ready to take the plunge, go by yourself and start making real connections.
I promise, the more you practice, the easier it will be to make friends.
2 | Work from a co-working space
If like me, you’re a remote worker, then you’ll know how lonely it can be working from home.
There’s no one to bounce ideas off or chat with when the silence gets a bit suffocating. And let’s face it, although bustling coffee shops are a great escape when you want to switch up your scenery, it can be hard to approach or even find people who are also open to making friends there.
So the next best thing?
Head to a co-working space.
Working from a co-working space can help to reduce the feeling of isolation that can often come with working from home. Plus by working side-by-side with other people, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to chat and get to know each other. And because everyone there is likely to be a remote worker too, you’ll have lots to bond over!
So grab a weekly or monthly pass and co-work!
3 | Join a community-driven online wellness membership
A lot of mainstream self-care practices require us to spend time on our own. To set boundaries, protect our energy and do a lot of inner healing work. To close the doors on the world, switch off the outside noise, and just be.
But self-care doesn’t always have to look like limiting time spent with people.
Your self-care routine can be just as social as your daily routine at the co-working space.
Joining an online wellness membership won’t just make your self-care routine less lonely but they will also help you to cultivate new connections and potential friendships.
You’ll be a part of a community of like-minded individuals who value their health and well-being just as much as you, which gives you plenty to bond over.
And having a supportive group of people behind you can help you easily maintain a wellness routine and keep you accountable.
So it’s basically a win-win either way.
4 | Use a friendship app
Whether you’re new to a city or looking to expand your social circle, using a friendship app is a simple way to create meaningful and authentic friendships with people in the same boat as you.
“Just as dating apps have helped to solve the dilemma of finding love in the digital age, apps to make friends are working to fill another void.” (Oprah Daily)
A friendship app works in the same way as a typical dating app. You create a profile, add images and a bio, and then you start swiping through your “friend” suggestions. If both people swipe right, then it’s a match! You can then choose to strike up a conversation, meet for coffee and see how you get on in RL.
But don’t worry, it’s all still purely platonic.
A friendship app is also a great tool to use if you do suffer from social anxiety. What better way to warm up to new people than by messaging them first and building a level of trust?
So what are you waiting for?
Download a friendship app like Bumble BFF and get swiping for your new best friend.
5 | Join a local club
One of my best friends is a member of her local hockey club. And just from this, she has made a tight group of close friends who she goes out with and even on holiday with.
So take it from her and join a local club or group focused on an activity or interest that you enjoy. Whether it’s painting, pottery, hiking, team sports, or something else entirely, there are likely to be others in your area who share your passion.
Not only will you have the opportunity to expand your social circle, but you’ll also get to enjoy your favourite activity in a fun and supportive environment.
6 | Go to in-person exercise classes
Another practical place to meet potential new friends is to attend in-person exercise classes.
Because not only will you get your workout in, but you’ll also have a chance to socialise and chat with people. You can bond over your love (or hate) of exercise, and you may even find that you have other things in common as well.
So head down to your gym or local leisure centre and sign up for the exercise classes.
And go that extra step, and invite your new gym buddy for an after-workout brunch or smoothie date!
7 | Travel solo or with a small group travel tour
One of the main ways I’ve made new friends as an adult is through travel.
I spent the majority of my late twenties and (now) early thirties travelling to different continents and meeting people I would never meet if I stayed at home in the UK.
And some of these travel buddies have turned into long-distance friendships.
The best way to meet new people while travelling is to go solo and stay in hostels. Hostels are always social places and the staff usually put on dinners or fun events so you can meet each other.
If you’re past the age of wanting to stay in a hostel then I recommend booking on to a small group travel tour. Typically, small group travel tours include between 10 to 20 people, which makes it easy to get to know your fellow travellers and hopefully make friends.
I did a few of these with G Adventures when I was in South East Asia. They are super fun as everything is already planned and arranged and you get to travel and spend time with like-minded individuals.
8 | Email me! I’ll be your friend
When I was around 9 or 10 years old, I had a pen pal.
We wrote letters to each other monthly and shared moments from our childhood. And recently I’ve been feeling an urge to find a new pen pal. Someone, I can send letters or postcards to and bring back that nostalgia of putting pen to paper.
So if you’re also looking for a global pen pal, drop me an email.
I would love to hear from you! We can chat about books, movies, Taylor Swift, travel and my personal favourite, cheese!
And you never know, this could turn into a beautiful friendship.
Save these tips on Pinterest for later!
I hope you enjoyed this post about how to make friends as an adult!
I encourage you to bookmark this page and refer back to it when you need it next.
And good luck!
Making friends as an adult is hard.
Bear in mind that it can be awkward to initiate a conversation with a stranger and because of nerves you might stumble on your words or worry about saying the wrong thing.
But these things are completely normal.
Don’t take it too seriously and have fun with it. And most importantly, BE YOURSELF!
If you need any further guidance, please feel free to contact me.
My inbox is always open.
Until next week,