Adulthood can be lonely! With busy schedules, new opportunities and life moments, housework, and simply trying to catch a breath, it can be difficult to make and maintain friends. As kids, teenagers, and even young adults, we were often surrounded by people the same age in school, college, and extracurriculars. By proximity and familiarity, we were able to bond and maintain friendships.
But as we leave college or home and enter the big world, we tend to see one another less and less. With limited time on our hands and a limited emotional bank, it can be overwhelming to find and commit time to others. So, how can we build and maintain meaningful connections as adults?
Table of Contents
- First, let’s talk about why friendship is so crucial.
- The Importance of Adult Friendships
- How to Make Friends as an Adult 👩🏼🤝👩🏻
- How Can You Maintain Friendships?
- Sisterhood is Beautiful
First, let’s talk about why friendship is so crucial.
People with no friends or poor-quality friendships are twice as likely to die prematurely… a risk factor even greater than the effects of smoking a pack of cigarettes per day.PLOS Medicine, Vol. 7, No. 7, 2010
The Importance of Adult Friendships
In the wake of COVID-19, and the rise of addictive media and apps, loneliness and isolation is more common. Prioritizing connection with others is one of many tools in your toolkit for is mental health and engagement with life.
When we connect and build deep friendships, we foster our support network and improve our mental wellbeing long-term. Having people who you can turn to, talk to, and ones who truly listen and care help us reduce stress and improve our quality of life. Laughter and spending time with others is a great way to release serotonin and dopamine and elevate our moods.
Friends can inspire us, challenge us, and offer a listening ear. They should help support us whether we are feeling up or down. Having reliable friendships leads to better stress recovery, longer lifespans, and less incidence of depression. (APA)
These bonds can only further enrich our lives with the wild and nurturing powers of sisterhood.
So, how can you make friends as an adult in this age of reels and micro-moments?
How to Make Friends as an Adult 👩🏼🤝👩🏻
1. Make Sure You Are a Friend to Yourself
Friends aren’t here to solve our problems for us, so it’s important that you are able to be comfortable with yourself as you look to develop friendships. We all want friends who are taking care of themselves rather than expecting to be taken care of. If you have a secure foundation in yourself, you will be confident rather than needy and insecure, and new friends won’t feel the need to “tiptoe” around you.
2. Meet Your Friends’ Friends
Look into your current network of friends. How could they help you meet new people? Could your friend introduce you to their friend? Be brave and ask your current friends who they know. You don’t have to be the most extraverted, outgoing person. But finding the courage to put yourself out there and use your network to your advantage can help you meet new people.
3. Be Positive
People are attracted to those who exude positive and warm energy. If you hold a negative outlook to friendship and to life, people will notice this shadow around you and will be less likely to approach you or welcome your approach. If you gossip and complain a lot about others, potential friends may be turned off, wondering whether you also talk about them behind their back.
4. Sign Up for a Workshop or Class
Consider your interests. Do you like writing? Or painting? Or cooking? Whatever your interest, joining a local workshop, class or Meetup ground is a great way to see people regularly and form connections with like-minded ladies. Workout and yoga classes are also great places to meet people.
5. Be Brave and Put Yourself Out There
Say yes to new opportunities. If you receive an invite to an event, allow yourself to put your feelers out there and engage with new opportunities and people. You could also take the lead and offer a potential new friend a compliment or some kind words. Ask them about themselves. Be curious and listen. Taking the risk, even when you feel afraid, might be the step towards an amazing connection with someone.
6. Reconnect with Old Friends
Do you have a friend from school or college whom you drifted apart from? Maybe you simply entered different stages of life and your friendship grew apart. Leverage that original friendship foundation and reach out to them. Ask if they’d like to catch up. There’s nothing like a walk down memory lane with someone from the past to rekindle and rebuild a connection with someone.
How Can You Maintain Friendships?
- Make the time for them. Yes, life can be busy. But it’s important to set time for them, even occasionally, so you can continue to nurture the connection. You can even use an app called Garden (iOS) to help nudge you to make sure you keep up with friends on a frequent basis and on their birthdays.
- Practice mindfulness and being present. When you are with them, put your phone down. Allow yourself to push away the stressors in your life for the time that you are with them so that you can engage and be in the moment fully them.
- Be there for them and be dependable. Friendship is a two-way street. Make sure you listen to them. Support them. Cheer for their successes and show up especially when they are going through a tough time.
- Communication. Be honest and transparent when you cannot make an event or when things are getting busy. People understand when you use your words!
- Be vulnerable. Friendships are special because we can share ourselves with others. When it’s the right time and you feel comfortable, share your passions, dreams, challenges and struggles.
Sisterhood is Beautiful
Adult friendships are different to what we had as kids or teenagers. They can certainly be challenging. But they don’t have to be overwhelming or draining. Being brave and putting yourself out there is crucial to meeting new people and building connections. There is nothing more beautiful than laughing with your girls until your tummy aches or holding one another as you navigate challenges. Friends add so much life and color to our worlds!
Study Up on Friendship
- How to Be a Good Friend, MandySteinhardt.com
- The science of why friendships keep us healthy, apa.org
- 3:6 Rule for Making Adult Friendships, PureWow
- I react to Mindy Kaling’s Rules of Friendship, MandySteinhardt.com
- Friendships: Enrich Your Life and Improve Your Health, Mayoclinic.com
Career and Intuitive Coach