For a large portion of most people’s lives, making friends comes easily. As a child, your parents can set up play dates with your peers; when you get to be a bit older, you can explore friendships and social circles on your own in school to see where you fit in; and in college, you probably have a roommate or two that act as automatic friends, at least until you meet others. After this point, though, forming new friendships doesn’t always come easily. Unfortunately, many people already feel secure in their social circles and don’t necessarily go out of their way to meet new friends, making it difficult for the ones that do. However, there are also a ton of adults out there who are in the same boat and are eager to form new friendships; you just have to find them!
As we get older, people tend to start moving to different areas for various reasons such as jobs, cost of living, or marriage. If you find yourself in a new place, it can seem intimidating to go out and meet people. One thing you should do right away is introduce yourself to your immediate neighbors. Not only is it great to have a friendly relationship with the people that you live nearby, but it can also spark new friendships. Your neighbors could very well be in a similar situation to yours and would love to make a new local friend. If this doesn’t work out, see if you have any old friends with connections in your new hometown, and ask them to “set you up” by passing on your name or number to these acquaintances. Most would be more than happy to introduce you to their social circles if you reached out to them.
Another big change that occurs as we age is having our friendships dwindle due to the distraction of new jobs. It’s natural for people to get caught up in their career paths, but this can also cause stress on preexisting relationships. If you’re finding this to be true, go out of your way to make friends at your own workplace. In just about all work environments, there is a good bit of human interaction that takes place. Next time you pass that coworker that you’ve always thought seemed approachable, ask if she would like to grab lunch or maybe take advantage of happy hour after the workday ends. You could very well have more in common than just your careers.
Haven’t relocated or made a career switch anytime recently? That’s ok, too. There are plenty of other ways to meet local people that you may have never considered before. One great method is to take up a new class or club. This way, you’re automatically surrounded by others with similar interests as you, whether it be kickboxing or figure drawing. Another option is volunteering. If you take the time to look into it, most communities offer ample of opportunities to do so. Try volunteering for your nearby hospital, animal shelter or a town event. This will help expose you to tons of different types of people.
Forming friendships as an adult can seem like a difficult feat, but there are many ways to go about it if you are willing to put in some effort. Go out of your way to put yourself out there, take up new hobbies, and look for opportunities to make friends in any situation that you can. You’ll be meeting new people in no time!
Originally published on August 12, 2104.