The quality of a person’s life depends on the friendships one has because a healthy friendship is adding to feelings of happiness and is also providing health benefits as well. However, once you grow up it’s harder and harder to make new friends, especially when you’re an adult.
Adult lives are full of obligations, from work to children to take care of, and elderly parents. Considering all these responsibilities, it’s almost impossible to take some time to meet new friends, it’s never easy to put yourself on the back burner, letting go of the desire to have fun and enjoy life, or get involved in anything, except your favorite TV drama.
While this is totally understandable, it isn’t in your best interest to do so. There are many studies that show the virtues of friendship on health and even on life expectancy, according to the Mayo Clinic. Additionally, it is important to motivate yourself to get out there and enjoy life, without feeling guilty about the time you’re spending away from your responsibilities.
Learning how to make friends as an adult can be a hard task, but it’s definitely necessary.
Chat with other parents
If you’re a parent who cares for your small children, you probably go to a lot of parks, stand on a lot of movie lines and eat way too much pizza.
“After school and college, adults have to be more intentional about making friends. If you’re a parent or grandparent, you can often quickly connect around various children’s activities,” suggests Helen Odessky, PsyD, a psychologist, and author of Stop Anxiety From Stopping You.
Don’t be intimidated by the moms or dads you see in the park and try to talk to them while your children are playing. Your common frame of reference is your kid, so use that as a conversation starter, because it’s important to make friends even if you’re an adult.
You can ask other parents for opinions about the school/kindergarten, homework assignment, school dress code (or lack of it), or any other child-related topics that come through your mind. The worst that will happen in this situation is having a one-time conversation with someone and never talk to them again. The best-case scenario is that you’ll have many things in common and you’ll enjoy each other’s company, and keep in touch with each other until eventually friendship blossoms. You can use the same strategy almost everywhere you go with your children, such as museums, waiting for the bus, or in child-friendly cafés.
A good way to find people with the same mindset as you, and a lot of things in common, is by getting involved in a cause that matters to you. Of course, that doesn’t mean you’ll be friends with everyone who cares about climate change or want to save the whales, but putting yourself in the company of people with the same mindset as you, gives you the opportunity to talk to people who care about the same things as you do.
That common interest can make the conversation easy, and lead to a long-term, meaningful friendship. Life coach, Alexandra Jamieson, recommends volunteering for a charity, or movement, that speaks to you.
“Women thrive when we connect more and have a secret superpower, called ‘tend and befriend’. We befriend, by seeking out friends for support, in times of stress. Women also ‘tend,’ or take care, of the vulnerable or hurt person, to help them heal, and recover. Volunteering provides an opportunity to do both things,” she explains.
“Researchers suspect that endorphins (hormones that help alleviate pain) and oxytocin (the ‘bonding and love hormone) may play an important role in establishing this pattern. Women release both when we emote: laughing, crying, and excited talking, all contribute to these bonding and relaxing hormones. Endorphin’s main function is to cause lasting happiness and satisfaction,” she adds.
Ask your current friends to set you up
If you’ve recently moved or your current friends have gotten too busy to hang out with you, ask them to set you up with new people, who knows, maybe you’ll find common interests. Let them know about your desire to become more social and ask them to recommend people with whom you’ll get along, and make them introduce you. It’s just like asking your friends to set you up for a date, the only difference is that you’re actually looking for a friend instead.
Join a book club or visit the library
An easy way to connect with someone new and have an interesting conversation is to discuss your favorite book or author. Visit your local library or search for some online book clubs, and find people who love books as much as you do.
This way, you’ll meet new people and you can get the opportunity of learning new things about books and reading, so it’s a win-win.
Get a dog
An easy solution when you want to socialize more and make new friends as an adult, it to get a dog. It’s incredible how many new people you can meet by simply walking a dog to the park.
However, it’s important to know that dogs create, and require routine. So, you’ll be outside, at the same time, every day, and so will the other dog owners. While your little furry friend is making a new buddy, you can do the exact same thing.
In addition, search for dog parks and runs in your area, so you have more chances of meeting new people that live in the same areas as you, and establishing relationships with them.
Use the web to join new groups
Thousand of virtual Facebook friends do not equal the quality of one, a face-to-face friend you make time for can count on, and can trust.
However, social networking sites do present opportunities for reinvigorating old friendships, or give you the opportunity for making friends as an adult, and meeting them offline if you live in the same areas.
Also, don’t overlook Meetup, a website where there are many groups and clubs of every possible description, which are always looking for new members. With a free Meetup account, you can join any group you find interesting, from bird watching to wine tasting to scuba diving, in your local area.
If you want, you have the possibility of joining as many, or as few as you want, but the thing is to actually attend outings. The more outings you’re going to attend, the more you will get to know the other members.
Find people with similar hobbies
Many people out there share your hobbies, so it’s not so hard to find new friends with the same interests as you, because anything you love to do, others love too. There are many activities you might enjoy but you prefer to do them alone, like sewing, hiking, or reading.
In this day and age, thanks to the technology, you can find many online courses you can join, book clubs or a local library, sleuthing online, or outdoor enthusiasts you can join. You can also consider taking a class at a local craft or cooking store.
Join the gym
Joining a gym, yoga class, or any other type of sport you might like, has many benefits, besides the more obvious ones that boost health. For instance, practicing a group sport is a way to connect with new people on a regular basis, and those people can become good friends, in time.
“Being active is good, but it’s not enough. You also have to make an active effort to invite people into your world. Taking the next step after your social connection can feel hard or awkward, but inviting someone for a quick coffee is one example of an easy way of getting to know each other a bit better,” explains, Julie Gurner, Ph.D. and clinical psychologist.
“If you hit it off, often the relationship just continues to evolve from there.”
Get a post-retirement job
When you’re retired, extra income isn’t always your only motivator for seeking out a new job. Despite what you may have heard, the job market is not closed for retired Americans. You may have to get a little creative in your job search, but one of the greatest things about a post-retirement job is that it doesn’t have to be your dream job like you needed back in the day.
As an adult, workplaces are a good way of making friends. Make the time spent at work very social and active, and forget about eating your lunch alone, or sitting solitary on a park bench.
If you liked this article, you should also check out: 15 Signs You’re In A One-Sided Friendship.