How to Make Friends As an Adult: 5 Tips to Make Real Connections

It seemed easy enough when we were kids, in school and classes and on sports teams or academic groups: Making friends. But that ease of making true connections with people all too often disappears as we get older, leave high school or college behind and embrace adulthood, where we might work with only a small team of co-workers and possibly only interact with a handful of people in a given day. So, it’s no surprise that many of us are left wondering how to make friends as an adult.Luckily, there are some tips that can help get you out of your rut and meet or connect with more people. Is it necessary? The answer, overwhelmingly, seems to be yes. Study after study has pointed to the importance of social relationships in our lives. Take, for example, a 2010 meta-analysis that suggested our social relationships influence our mortality risk as much as other obvious risk factors – even smoking. If you’re feeling like you lack real connection in your life, here are five things you can do about it.

Try Something New

It’s an obvious place to start for anyone wondering how to make friends as an adult: Try something new. Join a social club, take a class, and put yourself out there. Maybe you’re an outdoorsy type. In that case, meet up with others for a hike, a beach clean-up, or a day of birdwatching. More of a reader than a hiker? Join a book club. Interested in embracing your inner Julia Child? Sign up for cooking classes, and learn some new kitchen tricks while meeting others like you.One of the primary ways we bond with others is shared interests and life experiences, and that’s why this way of socializing can be an instant spark for your attempts at friendship. By focusing on the things you already like, you’ll be sure to meet other people who have the same goals or hobbies – and that can translate to friendship sooner than you might imagine.

Help Out to Get Some Help with Your Friend Goals

This one is closely related to the first tip: Volunteer. Embrace your passions and goals for your community, and you’ll instantly be surrounded by people like you who just might become your next best friend. There are a seemingly endless amount of ways to volunteer. Sign up to help out at a local animal shelter, take part in charity drives for food banks, or assist with events being organized by your favorite social groups.Volunteering is a double win because not only will you meet new people who have a lot in common with you – you’ll be helping out. Whether it’s a big project or small task, you’ll get the instant satisfaction of knowing you’re doing something good. And you’ll be surrounded by others who are similar to you, so your chances of making a close new friend are better the more you give back.

Travel to Possible New Friendships

Traveling is good for the soul, giving us a chance to get out of your routine and see new sights and try new foods, cultural experiences, and surroundings. But it might also be a way to kickstart your search for friends as an adult. Consider signing up for a cruise, a retreat, or a group vacation, and get ready to meet new people who just might be as open as you are to making some new social connections.There are options all around the world, including camping weekends closer to home and international voyages that will take you far away. The only downside is that traveling requires some time and money, but if you can make it fit your schedule and budget, this could be a great way to have fun while also meeting new fun people who might be a fit for your life long after you’re back home and the bags are unpacked.

Stay Close to Home

While it’s tempting to get out and leave your familiar surroundings behind on a fun trip, your next friend could be just around the corner – literally. Just about every neighborhood has a coffee shop, bar, or restaurant. By frequenting your establishment of choice, you’ll likely start to see some familiar faces, and that could be a good chance to make friends as an adult. It doesn’t have to be limited to eating or drinking, either. If you’re an avid reader, spending some time in the local bookstore could give you the acquaintance to another fellow reader that you’re looking for. If you collect records, head down to the local record store and browse for tunes while also getting a chance to meet a new friend.Don’t feel like shopping or dining? Consider taking advantage of the amenities at your residence. If you live in an apartment or condo complex with a pool, for example, going for a swim can help you meet your neighbors. If your residence doesn’t have those perks, walk down to the local park, get some exercise, and see if you can strike up a friendly conversation with a neighbor. This tip is low-risk, low-cost, and high-reward, so give it a try!

Be Open and Ready to Make New Friends

No matter what you do or try, if you’re wondering how to make friends as an adult, the most important advice might initially seem counterintuitive: Work on being OK with yourself. It’s natural to have some anxiety about putting yourself out there, but obsessing over trying to hide your flaws can have the unintended consequence of also overshadowing who you truly are. Friendships are built on true connection, and that’s impossible to achieve if you’re not open to connecting with another person.Be yourself, as much as possible. Chances are that the things you think of as flaws or weird traits in yourself are the very things that make you, well, you. People are drawn to genuine, self-aware people, so trust in yourself and your many attractive characteristics and you’ll soon have more connections than you thought possible.Related to this, don’t push things. Connection takes time, and being pushy or coming on strong can seem desperate or unattractive to someone who doesn’t know you well. Instead, let things come naturally. Be friendly and open, and let it take time. If you get an invitation to an upcoming party or event, make it a point to attend, even if it’s just a brief appearance. And make sure you invite new acquaintances, too. Let things happen on their own timeline, but don’t turn down the chance to spark a friendship if it comes your way.

How to Make Friends As an Adult: Trust in Yourself

You already know how to make friends as an adult – be yourself, put yourself out there, and embrace the genuine connection that comes your way. Trusting in yourself, and being OK with who you are, is a crucial piece of the puzzle. But what if you don’t feel so good about yourself? Then it’s time to get help.Whoever you are, whatever your concerns or problems, help is available from trusted, open-minded professionals like the team at Inclusive Therapy Group. Our counselors are well-versed in helping people with mental health disorders, problems with self-image, chronic anxiety, relationship troubles, and so much more. Whatever you’re going through, we can help. Reach out to us online or call us at 954-281-2565 today. We’re here to help, and once you’re getting the help you need, it’ll be no problem starting to make the acquaintances and friendships that you deserve.