Making friends as an adult can be complicated. It’s like navigating a maze without a map, complete with unexpected twists and turns. Sometimes, dead ends and detours can make the path to meaningful connections feel especially difficult. But despite these hurdles, remaining persistent can lead to rewarding friendships that enrich our lives and make the journey worthwhile.
Why is it so hard to make friends as an adult?
In a globalized world, geographical distance can separate us from those we care about. Even if we stay in touch with our long-distance friends, the lack of face-to-face connection and shared experiences can make it hard to maintain our closeness.
Time is another challenge: according to research, we need lots of it to form close bonds. It takes approximately 40-60 hours to build a casual friendship, 80-100 hours to develop a genuine one, and 200+ hours to nurture a close friendship. This time investment can be unrealistic in a fast-paced world where free time is a luxury.
Adding another layer of complexity is the absence of opportunities to form friendships naturally. Unlike our school and college years, we don’t get to interact with other adults daily. So, if we want to expand our social circles, we have to put ourselves out there.
Strategies for making friends
While making friends as an adult is difficult, if you’re willing to make the effort, you can build the meaningful connections you desire. The following strategies can help you increase your chances of meeting like-minded people:
Join a group
Joining a group related to your interests or hobbies is a great way to meet people you connect with. It offers the chance to bond over shared experiences, creating an environment where friendships can form organically.
Take action: Make a list of your hobbies and interests and rank them. Then, do a Google search or check out meetup.com to look for groups in your local area.
Examine your existing network
It’s easier to form friendships with people you already know on some level than to start from scratch. There could be many potential friends in your network that you have overlooked.
Take action: Write down a list of acquaintances, former colleagues, classmates, neighbors, or people you’ve met through mutual connections. Once you’ve made this list, take the initiative to reach out and reconnect. Send a friendly message and invite them for coffee or a casual meet-up.
Take advantage of technology
Technology can be a convenient and valuable tool for making friends. Social media platforms and apps provide opportunities to connect with people online and offline.
Take action: Try using Facebook to search for local groups that align with your interests and hobbies. Consider downloading apps like Bumble BFF, specifically designed to help you find friends in your local area. Just remember to stay safe when meeting new people offline. Meet in public areas and always inform a trusted person of your plans.
Not every attempt to make friends will lead to an immediate connection, and that’s okay. Remember that, like dating, forming friendships involves compatibility, mutual interests, and chemistry. Just as not every date leads to a romantic relationship, not every interaction will lead to a close friendship. What’s important is that you stay open-minded and persistent.