By Eleanor Beeslaar, HRI Graduate Assistant
Making friends as an adult can be challenging, especially with the many responsibilities that often come with adulthood. It can be difficult to find time to reach out to people you’d like to be friends with or to explore new places or activities to meet new people. Once you are able to set aside the time to initiate contact with new people, it can feel really scary to be vulnerable and put yourself out there. If any of these things ring true to you, know that you are not alone. It is completely normal to feel uncertain about making and maintaining friends as an adult.
Though making friends as an adult can be hard, it is important to try your best to build connections and develop a support system of friends. We encourage you to step outside of your comfort zone and embrace the process of making connections and meeting new people! HRI has created a series of tips to help you navigate the process of making friends as an adult:
- Be open! The first step in forming friendships as an adult is making the decision to put yourself out there and being open to building connections with new people. Try your best to keep an open mind and be willing to try new things!
- Focus on a positive mindset. A key component in making friends as an adult is to maintain a positive mindset. If you go into the process of making friends with a negative mindset and think that things won’t work out, it will be much more difficult to make meaningful connections. Instead, try your best to stay positive, and keep in mind that there may be some ups and downs throughout this process. If something doesn’t work out, try not to get too discouraged and try again!
- Reconnect with old friends! With the many roles and responsibilities of adult life, it is common for friendships you have already established to fall on the back burner. A great way to build connections and grow your support system of friends as an adult is to reconnect with old friends who you haven’t spoken with or seen in a while. Reach out to an old friend to get lunch or coffee and rekindle your friendship!
- If you have kids, connect with other parents. A great way for parents to meet new people and build friendships is to connect with the parents of their kids’ friends. Try reaching out to other parents in your child’s life. This may look like inviting their family over for dinner or connecting with them while your kids have a playdate.
- Attend community events. Going to events in your community can create lots of opportunities to meet new people. Try setting an intention to go to one or two events within your community in the next couple of months. Once you take the first step of attending the events, be sure to keep an open mind and be willing to reach out to and connect with new people.
- Join a club or group based on your hobbies and/or interests. Another way to meet new people is to find a club or organization based on something you enjoy doing or are interested in. This allows you to surround yourself with people who have similar interests, creating a great foundation for growing new friendships. Some examples of clubs or groups you may join include: faith groups (i.e. bible studies), sports leagues (i.e. kickball, softball, etc.), or book clubs.
- Connect with your co-workers. A great way to find new friendships in a familiar place is to reach out to your co-workers. By inviting a co-worker to spend time with you outside of work, you can take the time to get to know more about one another and develop a meaningful bond!
- Know that it will take time to build friendships. Making friends won’t happen overnight. It will take some time to be able to form truly meaningful connections and build relationships with people. Be patient with yourself, others, and the process of establishing new relationships. Know that, with time, you will find yourself feeling more connected and notice your friendships beginning to flourish.
We encourage you to keep some of these tips in mind as you work towards building adult friendships in your life!