Why is making friends as an adult so damn hard? (And a few tips that might just help)

Why is making friends as an adult so damn hard? (And a few tips that might just help)

As adults, most of us are pretty set in our ways. We have our routines, schedules, families, and it’s hard to deviate from them. Plus, we don’t have the same ‘built-in’ opportunities we may have had as kids when everyone was in similar stages of their lives.

As we grow older, some of our friends may be married with kids, while others are single and having fun. Regardless, it’s scary to be vulnerable by putting yourself out there as an adult.

But we all know that friendship is essential— even studies have associated friendship with life happiness. Research has found that frequent socialization is also positively correlated with overall life satisfaction.

Tips for making friends as an adult

While making friends as an adult can be challenging, the best part about making new friends is creating healthier friendship patterns. New friendships give you a clean slate or an opportunity to learn from your past mistakes in prior friendships and form new ones with even more powerful ties.

Although it will take some time and effort to make new friends, you’ll likely find it to be worth it.

Here are a few tips for making friends as an adult:

Take classes.

While it doesn’t have to be as formal as going back to school full time if you’re interested in learning a new language or expanding your writing skills, sign up for a class. Check out what the community colleges in your area have to offer, or consider convening a study group outside of the classroom to practice these skills and expand your friendships beyond the classroom.

Volunteer for a cause you care about.

Discover a cause that you believe in, and consider volunteering your time. Not only is it a great way to meet new people, but volunteering comes with a few health benefits, as well. Plus,  if you already have a friend that values the exact causes you do, you’ll be able to share your experience.

Find meetups for your interests.

Take whatever fascinations and interests you have, and there are probably a few meetups for it. Live in a suburban area and are a dog parent? There’s most likely a meetup for that. You know you’ll automatically have a lot to talk about, and it’s probably something you don’t get to discuss with others in your life.

Look into support groups.

Going through a divorce? Struggle with your mental health? Consider looking into a support group. If you’re already working with a therapist or counselor, they can help you find a more clinical group, but some are more informal.

Use your pets or kids to your advantage.

Whether you have an actual child or a “fur-child,” you already have another way to grow your social circle. Find new activities for your child, and you’re obliged to meet some like-minded parents. If you’re a pet parent, you may want to try a meetup for your specific dog breed or go to your local dog park.

Organize something yourself.

Can’t find what you’re looking for? Put something together yourself. If you like writing, get a group of novelists together, whether you’re working on your first novel or your fourth. If you’re looking for friends to go on runs with, create your running group. Know that your group will likely be pretty small initially, but it’ll allow a way to get to know other people in an even more intimate setting.

Use social media to your advantage.

While social media can be a double-edged sword —  It also has the power to connect us with others. Use yours to tap into people you haven’t seen in a while or as a way to find new ones. Or find an online community you can then take offline. For example, if you’re a runner, you can make new friends by posting about running and participating in the online running community.

The bottom line

If you’re apprehensive or anxious about making new friends as an adult, remember that nobody is judging you as much as you may think they are. Everyone’s been in similar situations at some point.

Are you a Charlottean who’s looking for more specific opportunities to make friends in the Charlotte community? Check out our post on how to meet new people in Charlotte.

Feel like you could use some extra support when it comes to making friends as an adult? You’re not alone. At Modern Era Counseling, many of the people we see are adults who are having a difficult time establishing or maintaining close friendships. In therapy, we’ll help you explore the interpersonal themes that prevent you from forming deep, meaningful friendships with your peers. Contact us today to get started.

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