15 Ways Adults Can Make Friends
Friends Are Great for Mental Health
Recently I spent 3 hours with a close friend from high school. I feared reaching out to him because it had been over 5 years since we last connected. Thoughts like “he doesn’t want to see me”, “he’s too busy with his family”, and even “he doesn’t like me any more” stuck in my mind. The time together was encouraging, and none of my anxious thoughts were true. I need my buddies to stay mentally and emotionally healthy.
Friends are SO important because they can ……
- Help you see your current situation accurately
- Remind you of your potential when lacking confidence
- Inspire perseverance when you want to give up
- Help you lighten up and enjoy life
- Give you practical solutions to problems
- Give you hope in situations that seem hopeless
- Relieve your anxiety and free you from depression
Sometimes clients seek advice on how to meet good people. It’s no secret that when we leave school (e.g. high school, college, etc.), it becomes harder to meet new people.
15 Ways Adults Can Make Friends
1. Engage in your hobbies
People connect over common interests. If you love reading, join a book club. If you enjoy working out, go to the gym. If you like golf, work it into your schedule.
2. Get to know your neighbors
Who says your neighbors can’t become close friends? You have opportunities to connect each day. Invite them over, bring them cookies, and talk to them when you see them.
3. Attend children’s events
A great byproduct of supporting a child (a friend’s child, your nephew, niece, your kids, neighbor’s children, etc) is that you might meet some good people.
When you volunteer, you meet people who have similar interests (e.g. volunteer at the Humane Society and you meet pet lovers, volunteer mentoring a child and you meet others with the same heart).
5. Accept invitations
Go to parties and other social events when invited. See them as opportunities to meet good people.
6. Connect with friends from the past
Ask a high school friend to lunch. Attend high school reunions. Connect with someone you worked with years ago.
7. Talk to strangers
Challenge yourself to meet somebody new each day. Friendly people make friends. Unfriendly people don’t.
8. Ask someone for help
Don’t just ask people you know well for help. People get joy out of helping others. When you have a legitimate need and you give someone the chance to meet that need, you’ll make new friends in the process.
9. Join a civic group or association
Groups like Rotary International, Toastmasters, or your local chamber of commerce come to mind. You learn, help the community, and can meet interesting and positive people.
10. Turn family into friends
Who says your siblings or cousins cannot become close friends? Sometimes we miss the most obvious opportunities for friendships. Our relationships with siblings, cousins, aunts, and uncles can transform into deep friendships.
11. If you have kids, meet the parents of your children’s friends
Many strong friendships form through this natural connection. My parents have friends today they made this way over 30 years ago.
12. Improve your social skills
Read books like The Charisma Myth: How Anyone Can Master the Art and Science of Personal Magnetism by Olivia Fox Cabane or How to Make People Like You in 90 Seconds or Less by Nicholas Boothman.
13. Connect with a colleague
Working at the same company or in the same industry has sparked many friendships. You share common interests and a shared purpose.
14. Attend a support group
When you’re struggling in an area of life, get support. Your chances of recovery increase, and positive connections form in these environments. Al-Anon, Weight Watchers, Divorce Care, GriefShare, and Alcoholics Anonymous are a few that come to mind.
15. Take a class
Enroll in a course to learn a new skill (i.e. woodworking, photography, personal finance, painting). You’ll meet like-minded people in the process.
Most people have fears around meeting new people. Remember that those you meet probably feel the same way you do. All these suggestions involve getting yourself around people and being vulnerable. You could be rejected, but you could also make a new friend. Is it worth it? If it is, try one of these methods each week for 2 months and see what happens.
Question: Over the past three years, how have you made a new friend?