Ways to meet people and make friends in the process when you’re a busy adult
We live in a society where romantic relationships are the end-all-be-all. At least that is what it feels like. Between shows like married at first sight and the Bachelor, everyone seems to be in a rush to find their special someone to spend the rest of their life with.
Don’t get me wrong. I am guilty of watching way too many of these types of shows. Those two being some of my favorite guilty pleasures…
But what about friendships?
Society puts an enormous amount of pressure on our significant other to be everything for us. Our best friends, our partner, the person that completes us, and this is just wrong.
It is SO much pressure for one person. Why not spread out this responsibility?
There are so many benefits to having friends. Couple friends, girlfriends, guy friends, workplace friends..
I love my fiance but he can’t replace the relationships that I have with my girlfriends. He just doesn’t have the perspective of being a girl or the history I have with some of my childhood friends.
He also doesn’t enjoy everything I like to do like go shopping or sit around and gossip while drinking wine.
And that’s okay. The same goes with his friends. They like to go golfing and I have no interest.
But let’s face it. Making friends as an adult is hard. I feel like ever since college, making friends has gotten harder and harder. People’s already busy lives somehow got busier.
I’m getting to that stage of life where my friends are starting to have kids or one is too busy traveling the world, or like me, we’re getting married, and planning a wedding is a lot.
I think there comes a point in all our lives where you think you could use more friends. The more the merrier right? I know there are some Friday nights that my fiance is busy and I texted all my friends and they’re all busy too.
Spontaneity doesn’t seem to be a thing anymore. It seems like I always have to schedule plans weeks out with some of my friends.
I think something that is important to keep in mind is that wanting more friends is more common than you think. It’s not something that is talked about a lot but most people aren’t going to say no to more friends.
Granted, it does depend on how much time you are willing to put into this friendship. That’ll determine if you two are actually a good fit for what you are looking for.
So how do you do it? How do you meet friends as an adult?
Let’s dive in.
1. You’re going to have to make an effort and initiate plans and conversations
Contrary to popular belief, it takes work to keep a friendship going. It’s like any relationship. I actually think it can be harder in a friendship because the expectation isn’t there.
In a romantic relationship, you’re expected to spend a decent amount of time together.
Otherwise, you’re going to break up, right?
But it isn’t like that in a friendship. I know I have some friends that I won’t talk to for weeks on end, meeting up every few months. If that.
It is going to be even harder to keep a friendship going when you’re trying to form a friendship.
You’re going to have to initiate meet-ups.
I know, easier said than done. My suggestion is that you actually put these meet-ups on your calendar. Kinda like working out, that if it’s on the calendar, you are more likely to stick to it.
Also, if you and another person make a plan to meet at 6 pm on Wednesday at a local restaurant, it’s way harder to ditch.
We all know the classic “let’s hang out soon” never works. You have to plan something concrete.
2. Attend a local meet-up or local event
Now, this is more than just showing up. That is only part of the battle but if you’re going to stand in the corner on your phone, you might as well not go. Sorry if that sounds harsh but it’s true.
I’m shy so I get not being the center of attention but at least try to say hi to someone. You can start small and work your way up to being more talkative. But if you go week after week and don’t say anything to anyone, it is going to be really hard to form a connection.
One easy thing you can do is to listen and put your phone away. If you find someone that seems like you could click with, listen to what they are saying and try to find some similarities. This will make it easier to connect with them.
It could be as easy as overhearing that they got promoted or their birthday is coming up.
Remember, people like talking about themselves.
We all know that small talk is going to make it hard to form a connection. You have to find some common ground.
This is a little easier if you attend an event or sign up for a class for something that interests you. Then the common ground is already there versus just finding a random stranger.
Studies show that it takes up to 90 hours to form a friendship so remember it is going to take time.
It’s not going to happen overnight so keep showing up to different events and getting yourself out there.
You have to open up and be vulnerable. I know, this part kinda sucks.
Putting yourself out there is scary and not just on a romantic level. You don’t know what the other person is thinking and it is human nature to have a fear of rejection.
This fear of rejection deters many potential relationships because you would rather just not make new friends than be rejected.
I get that. It’s easier to complain that you want more friends than to try and fail.
But that’s also the funny thing. Since it is more common than you think that people want more friends, that rejection is partly in your head. We all go through rejection and heartache to find a partner, it’s only natural that forming a friendship is going to be the same.
Just hopefully less heartbreak.
I mean there’s less to risk in a friendship versus a romantic relationship but there will be people who you thought you’d connect with on a friend level that you just don’t.
It’s not a bad thing. They just aren’t part of your tribe.
So don’t let negative self-doubt stop you.
The best thing to do is to change your mindset if you feel that self-doubt creeping up. You can’t change what others are thinking about but you can change your mindset to a positive one. Just tell yourself that most people are going to like you.
Tap into that confidence muscle that we all need to work on.
3. Meet friends through other relationships
Another way to meet friends is through relationships you already have! I know I’ve met some of my good friends through my other friends.
The best way to do this is to be brave and tell your friend you’re looking for more friends. I know that is hard so you could also ask your friends if you can join them when they are going to social events such as parties and other meet-ups.
There may be someone in your outer circle that you can easily connect with. After all, you at least have your friend in common and they like both of you!
4. Create stronger connections with acquaintances
You might already have people in your life that are more acquaintances than friends. Why not try to build that into a friendship? This could be a co-worker or someone in your networking group that you are friendly with but you aren’t friends. Yet.
You could invite them out for coffee or drinks and learn more about each other. The good thing about meeting up with an acquaintance is that you already have common ground to work with!
Many people meet friends through work. You have already broken the ice with small talk around the water cooler (or ping).
5. Meet people online — through apps
Bumble BFF anyone? We use dating apps for romantic relationships, why not for friendships?
It’s a great way to break the ice before meeting up in person.
If you’re on the shyer side, it’s helpful to be able to chat with someone that isn’t sitting right there. If they are on an app like Bumble BFF, you also already know they are looking for more friends so that can help you feel more comfortable chasing that potential friendship.
There are also apps/websites like meet-up that has organized clubs that people have success with. You could also google local clubs, like a book club at the library or a running club at the local running store.
Even social media! I know we’ve all seen Facebook events that one of your friends said they were interested in. Why not check it out?
6. Reconnect with old friends
Study shows we lose half our close friends every 7 years so why not connect with an old friend? You obviously already had the connection at some point in your life so why not spark that fire again?
Especially if the only reason you aren’t friends anymore is that life got in the way.
I’m sure your friend would be happy to hear from you. Schedule some time to meet up for a cup of coffee/tea and walk down memory lane. It is also easy to start a conversation since you can catch each other up on everything that you missed over the past few years!
Even if the friendship doesn’t rekindle, it gives you plans for an afternoon to see a familiar face.
Making friends is hard especially when you feel like you are putting in all the effort and it just isn’t being reciprocated.
Maybe your current friends aren’t adding value to your life anymore. You know, that one friend that is always such a downer? You maybe you have a friend that makes you feel guilty all the time.
Maybe you have people-pleasing tendencies and your current friends use that to their advantage.
Honestly, that isn’t a friendship. Some friends are only meant to be in our lives for a particular season. Sometimes it’s good to form friendships with people that are in the same stage of life as you.
Other times, it’s good to build friendships with people that have different experiences than us. It gives us a different perspective.
Overall, friends enrich our lives and actually help us live longer so you might as well try to make some new ones if that’s what you’re looking for.
I promise if you keep at it, you will meet a new friend.
What are some ways you meet new people as an adult? Let me know in the comments below!
Until next time,
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