How to Make Friends as an Adult

How to Make Friends as an Adult

How to Make Friends as an Adult

It was easy to make friends at school, but when you’re in your 20s, 30s, and 40s, it can be challenging. So how do we make new friends and find connection at this point in our lives?


Being Single When All Your Friends Are Having Kids

As more and more people are working remotely, it can be even more difficult. Or if you work at a place where there aren’t any options to befriend people. If you’re single, it can be even harder when your friends are coupled up, getting married, and having kids. When you are in a different phase of life than your friends, they might not have time for their single friends. It’s a difficult transition and often leads to isolation and feelings of loneliness and rejection.


Getting Out There Can Be Scary

The more time you spend alone at home, the scarier it is to get out there. Going out and trying to meet new people, just to end up back where you started can be exhausting. So you stay home to avoid rejection, leading to more isolation. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Being afraid of rejection is common, but it feeds into the fear of making new friends. That fear turns into isolation, which convinces you that you’ll face abandonment and rejection. But even people who are introverted need social connection. It may not seem like it now, but it is possible to safely put yourself out there and meet new people.


How to Meet People… in a Non-Scary Way!

Here are 5 ways to build self-confidence, meet new people, and feel good about it:

  1. Do things outside of your home by yourself. Society has this idea that alone time is only meant to be spent at home. But you can go out on your own! Become comfortable with being alone outside of your home and doing things. They don’t have to be new experiences, but can be things you’re already comfortable doing, like going to a restaurant, going to the movies, going for a walk or bike ride, attending a yoga class, etc. The more time you spend outside of your home alone, the more comfortable you become with yourself. Gradually it becomes easier to talk to people with less anxiety, because you are more sure of yourself and have higher self-esteem.
  2. Start with solo activities and hobbies. Before jumping into group activities, start with trying out some solo activities outside of the home. Hiking, running, dining out, reading at a library, joining a painting class, attending yoga or fitness classes, going to a museum, etc. If you regularly do a solo activity at the same place, it’s likely that you’ll see the same people over and over again. Engage in small talk with someone you see regularly, and over time that can develop into deeper conversations and perhaps even a friendship. You don’t have to start with heavy topics about your feelings or get deep into your personal life. Don’t force the friendship, let it develop naturally.
  3. Try new and varied experiences. Doing different and varied experiences makes you more well-rounded. Some people have anxiety around feeling like they have nothing to talk about. The more you do, the more you have to talk about. If you stay home all the time, there’s not much new and interesting for you to share with others. But if you start a new hobby, there’s an automatic subject to talk about. Doing new things also gives you the opportunity to learn more about yourself. You may find an activity that you really love, but never thought you would until you tried it! Trying new things gives you the opportunity to connect with yourself and others, and grow a passion that you never knew existed.
  4. Travel by yourself. You don’t have to wait to be coupled up or seek out other single friends to travel. When you travel solo, you’ll probably run into other solo travelers on the way. Traveling automatically gives you things to talk about – where you live, where you’re going, what you plan to do, and give and get recommendations on things to do and see. You may even meet someone who lives near you so you can continue the relationship after the trip is over.
  5. Move into group activities. Now that your self-confidence has grown, join group activities, such as a running club, a group knitting club, a sports league, or anything else that you’re interested in. MeetUp is a great place to start to find people who are interested in the same things you are while looking for connection. What is something you are passionate about but haven’t explored? Volunteering can be a rewarding way to explore your passions and meet new people as well.

You don’t have to force yourself to make friends immediately. Start with baby steps, build your self-confidence, and start feeling more comfortable with yourself. Over time it will become easier to meet new people and make lasting friendships.


How Therapy Can Help You Make New Friends

Therapy isn’t just for people who are struggling with instability or people who have a diagnosable mental illness. Going to therapy is about wanting to become the best version of yourself, accomplishing goals, and improving relationships (even making new ones). Check out this article on “Everyday Reasons to Go to Therapy.”

A good therapist will listen to your concerns and help you figure out a plan to help you achieve your goals. If your goal is to make new friends, your therapist can help you understand why you’re having a difficult time in the first place, build self-confidence, and reduce social anxiety and isolation. You don’t have to have mental illness to go to therapy, you just have to have a desire to start taking control of and improving your life! Dr. Heather Violante offers teletherapy to those living in Florida and New York. Contact her today and start living the life you want.