5 Ways to Make Friends as an Adult

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Published Date|
February 29, 2024

5 Ways to Make Friends as an Adult

Do you ever ask yourself how anyone ever makes new friends as an adult?

Gone are the days when you could run up to someone on the playground and have a new best friend over the course of five minutes.

Making new friends as an adult can often feel like an impossible task, despite how important friendships are to your wellbeing.

Here at KMA Therapy, we know how hard it can be to feel alone. For over 15 years, we’ve helped our clients and community learn how to build better relationships, from platonic pals to romantic partners.

After reading this article, you’ll know why it’s so hard to make friends as an adult, the importance of friendship to your mental health, and five ways you can make friends as an adult.

Why is it So Hard to Make Friends as an Adult?

Research has shown that there are two main factors needed when making friends: shared vulnerability and unplanned interactions. When you’re younger, things like random group projects, extracurriculars, and part-time jobs offer plenty of opportunities to meet new people and have fun together.

As you get older, work becomes more serious, your personal responsibilities grow, and you have less time to spend doing things that allow you to have fun. It can feel like you’re on autopilot - you get up, go to work, go home, sleep, and repeat.

Making friends as an adult can be hard because:

  • You have less time available to make friends
  • You often have more stress and responsibilities to manage
  • It can feel awkward to try and make new friendships with strangers
  • You’re put into less situations and environments that are conducive to making friends

If you aren’t lucky enough to make friends at work (or you work remotely), it can seem impossible to even meet anyone new, let alone build a meaningful relationship with them.

Why is Friendship so Important?

Friendship is important because it helps you feel connected to the world around you and provides a sense of support and understanding. 

Friendship can make it easier to navigate life’s challenges, and having good friends can help you feel more capable when faced with difficult situations.

Friendship supports your mental health by:

  • Boosting your confidence
  • Offering emotional support
  • Providing a sense of connection
  • Reducing loneliness and isolation
  • Contributing to your personal development

Friendships can be incredibly important to your overall well being, so even though it can be hard to make friends as an adult, it’s worth it to push yourself out of your comfort zone and build connections.

5 Ways You Can Make Friends as an Adult

There are definitely obstacles to making new friends as an adult, but with a bit of effort, you can overcome them.

how to make friends as an adult

From starting a new hobby to finding a community online, keep these five tips in mind when searching for your new best friend.

(Remember, just like in elementary school, other people often want to make friends just as much as you do!)

1. Start an unexpected hobby

How many things did you used to do for fun when you were a child? Do you still keep up with any of them today?

The older we get, the less time it seems like we have for hobbies. Be intentional and carve out time to do things simply to have fun.

“Start a new hobby!” is one of the most common pieces of advice you’ll hear when it comes to making friends, but challenge yourself to take it a step further and do something outside of your comfort zone.

If you need inspiration, think about something you loved to do as a kid - there’s likely a club or group for adults who are doing the same thing.

2. Keep an open mind

When deciding on new hobbies or activities to look into, keep an open mind and don’t judge an activity before trying it out yourself.

If something seems fun to you, give it a shot!

One fun thing about being an adult is that you can start building friendships based on common interests, and you’re not only limited to people who are the same age and life stage as you. You might find you have a lot in common with someone much older or much younger than you are.

3. Do things alone

This can sound counterintuitive, but doing things alone can be a great way to make friends. If you’re by yourself, you’ll likely seem more open and available to other people around you. Whether you meet up with other people who are on their own or become an addition to a friend group, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to meet new people.

An activity like going to a general admission concert can help you connect with other people who like the same music you do.

If the thought of going out alone makes you nervous, try starting out by going to a movie on your own. Even if you feel nervous when you arrive, all you need to do is buy some popcorn and then sit in a dark theatre - nobody will pay any attention to you once the previews start rolling.

4. Find an online community

You might be sick of doing things online, and only having online friends can feel isolating. Still, online relationships can be fulfilling and fun - and they let you cast a much wider net when searching for people who share interests with you.

Online communities allow you to connect with people all around the world who have the same super-niche interests as you - like a book club for fans of a band you love that discusses books related to their music.

From Discord groups to Zoom calls, don’t be afraid to look for your people in the virtual world.

5. Rekindle an old flame

Have you ever lost touch with someone who you think could have been a great friend to you?

Whether you miss your old study buddy from school or never got to the next level with the friend-of-a-friend, try reaching out to people you haven’t connected with in awhile.

You never know - they might be looking for new friends, too!

Next Steps for Strengthening Your Relationships

After reading this article, you’re equipped with five new strategies to help you build meaningful friendships as an adult.

Here at KMA Therapy, we’re relationship experts. We’re here to help you navigate your questions about all types of relationships and empower you to find the connections you deserve.

Visit our Relationship Therapy page to learn more or Register Online to connect with our team today.

If you’d prefer to keep reading, explore these articles we’ve chosen for you:

Author |
Emily Weatherhead (Guest Author)
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