Tips for making friends as an adult.
I’ll say it – making friends as an adult sucks. Growing up, I was a military brat, so I lived in a new place every 3-4 years. Even though I don’t remember exactly how it happened, I ended up making friends everywhere I went. I always seemed to get plugged in with a group of friends, usually girls, who I made incredible memories with. When I was 15-years-old, I moved to Louisiana and stayed there for twelve years, but I also left for college for four years and then went back to the town I went to high school in. Because of that, there always seemed to be someone I knew around. Even though I made lots of new friends in my mid-twenties, they were usually people I met through mutual friends. I had so many wonderful friends in Louisiana.
And then I moved to Ohio…
Making friends was one of the things I was most worried about. I was a little stressed about finding a job, but I was confident that I’d fall into something. I was nervous about living with Kyle, but I somehow knew our relationship would continue to grow, and that continues to ring true. What I wasn’t sure about was making friends, and even though I’ve been living in Dayton for over a year now, making friends still stresses me out.
I was struck with a reality check of how blessed I was living in Louisiana. My friend game was clutch. I had new friends, high school friends, college friends, work friends. It was wonderful. Then I came to Ohio, and I literally had no one except for Kyle. I had no idea what to do to make friends, and even when I was putting myself out there, I still found some duds in the mix. I quickly learned that not every girl you meet is going to be a lifelong friend, and thanks to my wonderful therapist, I’m finally learning that that’s okay. Sometimes you have to cut your losses and move on.
It’s so hard to put yourself out there and try to actively make friends. When you’re in school, it’s so much easier because proximity helps you create friendships. There are clubs you can join or people you can sit next to on the bus. When you strike up a conversation with your lab partner, a mutual love of the same author can strike up a long-lasting friendship. With school or riding the bus, you have built-in time that you’re going to see that person, so friendships seem to come easy. When you’re an adult, it doesn’t always work that way.
Making friends as an adult can seriously suuuuck, and even though it’s hard, it’s so worth it to make yourself vulnerable and put yourself out there to create those friendships. As humans, we thrive when we find our people, and even though it may seem comforting to sit on your behind at home and curl up with a good binge of Gilmore Girls, that’s not going to make you any friends. So here are 15 ideas for making friends as an adult.
1. MEET FRIENDS USING APPS
This is how I made the majority of the friends that I have in Ohio. On day two of moving to Dayton, before we even found a place to live and before I got a job, I was on BumbleBFF just swiping away. BumbleBFF is part of the Bumble app, but you use it to make friends instead of trying to find a date. The people you’re swiping will be the same gender as you. I made plenty of connections on the app, but the majority of the conversations died out. I made plans with some girls that fell through. I also met up with some potential friends that didn’t work out. The friends that I did manage to make, I still hang out with every couple weeks or so. We’ve met up in other cities, gone on mini road trips to concerts, and hung out at each other places. I’ve helped a friend move and supported another friend when her band was doing a live show. Real friendships can spark from a swipe. Even though I had to dig through some bad seeds, it was worth it to make some friends here.
MeetUp is another option. On MeetUp, you can find groups in your area that have the same interests as you. In the Dayton area, there are hiking groups, wine groups, book clubs, and even a group for girls in their 20s and 30s just looking to find their tribe. You can send a request to join as many groups as you want, and once you’re in, you can check out what meet-ups the group is putting on. If you don’t see something you’re interested in, you can also ask the admin if you can plan an event yourself. During the first week I was in Dayton, Kyle and I went on a hiking MeetUp. We didn’t make any friends, but we did discover a beautiful local hiking trail and MetroPark. I also went to MeetUp with a group of girls. It ended up being kind of awkward, but I’m still glad that I put myself out there to hang out.
There’s also an app called GirlCrew that allows you to meet local ladies in your area so you can find your tribe. I’ve never actually used the app because it’s not available where I live, but if it is available in your area, it’s another option for an app that can help you make some friends.
2. MAKE FRIENDS AT WORK
You spend the majority of your life at work anyway, so why not make some friends at the office? When I was living in Louisiana, some of my work friends were my best friends. They knew more about me than people that I saw outside of work. If there’s someone you work with that you’re interested in being friends with, strike up a conversation. Suggest that you go get coffee or some drinks for happy hour after work. Having friends at work can make going to work much more fun.
3. RECONNECT WITH OLD FRIENDS
I’m not talking about the people who you have bad blood with, but I’m sure there are some people in your past that you were friends with and the friendships fizzled out for whatever reason. As long as having that old friend in your life again won’t spark any unnecessary and petty drama, why not revisit that friendship again? With social media, it’s so easy to keep up with the lives of people from our past. Sparking up a conversation will likely be welcome, and who knows? It may feel just like old times.
Whether that’s volunteering at an animal shelter and meeting a friend with a mutual love of dogs or serving meals at a homeless shelter and meeting friends who have a mutual passion for feeding the hungry, volunteering is an excellent way to make new friends who have the same heart about causes that you do.
5. BECOME A REGULAR
Get out of the house by going to the same place everyday around the same time. If you work from home, take your laptop to a coffee shop. If you have a favorite restaurant, eat there for dinner on the same night every week. If you need a night cap, hit the same bar for happy hour. Become a regular at a local place you love, and people will look forward to seeing you. Whether it’s the people who work there or other people who frequent the same business, you could start up a conversation that could turn into a budding friendship.
6. GET TO KNOW YOUR NEIGHBORS
Sometimes you may not even need to leave your neighborhood to make new friends. Take regular walks around the neighborhood and get to know your neighbors by both face and name. If you have a dog, take him with you. You could both use the exercise. You can also take it a step further by “Boo”-ing your neighbors around Halloween or giving sweet treats around the holidays. Attend block parties, neighborhood meetings, food truck rallies, and other events in the neighborhood, or organize a neighborhood event yourself. Say hello and start some genuine conversations.
7. GO TO THE DOG PARK
If you have a dog, take your pooch to the local dog park. Dog people always seem to have some things in common. A trip to the dog park could even lead to future doggy play dates.
8. MEET NEW PEOPLE AT THE GYM
The gym is another great place to meet potential new friends. People are always looking for spotting partners or workout buddies. I personally don’t love going to the gym, but I do enjoy going to workout classes. Sign up for a fitness place and go early and start a conversation with someone new. If you’re both class regulars, you’ll end up seeing a lot of each other anyway. Let that short conversation turn into a friendship. If workout classes aren’t you’re thing, you can also consider joining a rec league and participating in a sport that you enjoy. There’s also local hiking groups, climbing gyms, and even bowling alleys. Consider becoming a member and making friends that enjoy the same physical activities and sports that you do.
9. USE THE INTERNET
Ever since I’ve started blogging, I’ve become a believer in meeting people on the internet. I’ve met some incredible people online, and I’ve posted several times on my blog and on Instagram about meeting blog friends in person. I’ve ever stayed the night at my friend, Christina’s, house multiple times, and I met up with her and our friend, Erica from Coming Up Roses for a vaca in Nashville. I’ve also met up with blog friends at conventions or for a meal when I happened to be in the city they live in. You can make some genuine friendships with people online, especially when it comes to blogging. I’ve been fans of blogs that sparked true friendships and regular conversations that all came from accidentally stumbling upon each other online.
If you’re not a blogger, Facebook groups are also a great way to meet people online. You can find people with similar interests in your area and turn that into a friendship offline as well. You can also browse Facebook events to see what networking events are in your area. I know in Dayton there are lots of different meet-ups for after work happy hour, young entrepreneurs, and things like that.
10. GO TO A BAR OR BREWERY
Going to a local bar or brewery is a great opportunity to find people around your age and make some new friends. If you see a group of people who look like they’re having fun, gather up the courage to go talk to them and introduce yourself. Let them know you’re new in town and you’re looking for some fun things to do in the area. Offer to buy the next round and invite yourself to sit and chat with them. If they go for it, cool. If not, move on. You can also take advantage of the bar games available at many breweries, such a shuffleboard, cornhole, or foosball. Call dibs on the next game, and ask someone new to join as your partner. Bar games are great ice breakers.
11. ATTEND A CLASS OR JOIN A CLUB
Find a local class or club to join, such as a baking class, a creative writing class, a book club, or a local blogging group. You already have mutual interests, so it’ll be easy to find something to talk about at the beginning. Let that initial conversation flow into something else, and let the friendship bloom from there.
12. GO TO A FESTIVAL
Just like meeting friends at the bar or at a brewery, a local festival is an awesome way to find people to hang out with in your area. You can meet people waiting in line or when grabbing a drink at the bar. Show off your moves on the dance floor, enter the hotdog eating contest, or bring your dog to help you meet other people who love dogs. There are so many opportunities to make new friends at local events, especially festivals.
13. GO TO A PARTY
If someone invites you to a party, take the opportunity to not only get to know the person who you invited you a little more, but also branch out and talk to other people at the party. If your friend knows other people at the party, allow them to introduce you to their friends too. If you find yourself wandering the party alone, you can compliment someone on their outfit or ask someone what they’re drinking. Anything to get a conversation going. If you overhear people talking about something you’re interested in, hop in! Getting the conversation started is the easy part. Keeping the conversation going is the tough part. Going to a party offers many opportunities to meet lots of different people, and hey, if it doesn’t work out, you still have the friend who invited you, so you can also take the opportunity to get to know them better too.
14. ACCEPT INVITATIONS
When you think about it, there may already be invitations coming your way, but there’s always an excuse to get out of it. I know I’m so bad about getting home, changing into my cozy clothes, and refusing to leave the house again because cozy > everything. If someone invites you to something, go! Especially if that event gives you the opportunity to meet people outside of the person inviting you.
15. ASK FOR AN INTRODUCTION
If you have a friend or coworkers who has another friend that you think looks like someone you’d get along with, don’t hesitate to ask for an introduction. See if all three of you can get together for drinks or dinner. You may end up becoming the three best friends that anyone could have.
How have you made friends as an adult?