As a kid, making friends is as simple as not hating the person who was assigned to sit next to you. Between school, clubs, parties, and parents – it’s pretty easy for children to make friends.
Unfortunately, this is something that doesn’t get easier as you get older. As you leave school and begin work life, you lose those “mandatory” events that forced you to meet new people and interact with their peers.
As an adult, the only mandatory activities you’ll be facing are work and potentially college. It can be rather difficult connecting to your peers in this kind of environment where you are rarely allowed to socialize.
Just because you’re in the “real world” doesn’t mean you can’t make friends. It just means you are going to need to put in a little more effort into your search.
Where can I meet people as an adult?
The first thing you are going to want to do is find some potential friends. To do this, you are going to need to leave your comfort zone.
While there are times where you can meet people at the grocery store or doctor’s office – you will have your best luck going places where people are looking to socialize.
Try to think about the desired qualities and interests you want your future friends to have when deciding on y place to meet people.
- The beach
- Bars / Clubs
- Local recreation center
If you are feeling a little nervous about reciprocity when it comes to desire to connect with new people, consider signing up for a group event. There are lots of local organizations and clubs which set-up special group events designed to help introduce interested people to their like-minded peers.
How to approach people about making plans?
Of course, even in these situations, you can’t expect others to come to you. Putting yourself out there can be uncomfortable at first, but it is the first step to breaking out of your shell and making friends.
If you think you are going to get along with someone, you need to “break the ice.”
To do this successfully, you are going to need to pay attention to context clues. First – try to recognize why you want to approach someone and turn it in to strike up a conversation. You can try to ask them a question or find a way to politely compliment them. If all goes well, you can turn this into an introduction.
Let’s take this hypothetical scenario:
You are walking in the park and see someone wearing a t-shirt of your favorite TV show.
Step 1: Converse – Wow! I love your shirt. I am a huge fan of that too, have you heard of…
Step 2: Introduce – Oh, my name is XXX by the way! Nice to meet a fellow fan!
Step 3: Invite – You know, I think you’d enjoy the arcade downtown. Have you been there? I’d love to hang out sometime if you’d want to exchange information!
Easy, right? Of course, the outside world is a little different than hypotheticals. There is no perfect script, but these three simple steps can be applied to a lot of situations.
Unfortunately, sometimes people won’t share your enthusiasm for potential friendship – and that is ok. Don’t let this deter you on your quest to expand your social circle! Also, make sure you don’t push it and make someone else uncomfortable as it won’t earn you a new friend and will just make the situation more awkward.
Not everyone who is uninterested will be so direct about it though. There will be times where you need to read between the lines a little bit. There is a nice “three no” rule.
If you invite someone (or text someone) three times on separate days and they don’t respond – they aren’t going to. Give people those first two chances as things do happen. However, if they reject three times in a row and make no effort to set something up, take this as a hint to not push the matter further.
Being a friend
For those that do answer the call to friendship – congratulations! You now have a new friend!
The next step is to ensure that you will continue to be a good friend! Here are some tips for cultivating a friendship once you guys start talking!
- Keep in touch – never forget that communication works both ways and you should make an effort to interact with your new friends. Even if you are busy, just sending a text or calling them up every once in a while to check-in is a great way to stay connected. Even if you’re busy, you can spare a few minutes to send a meme.
- Be a support system – friendships aren’t just happiness and fun. Life is full of ups and downs, and a true friend is there for the whole journey. Even if it isn’t fun…
- Never stop searching – just because you made a friend doesn’t mean your journey (or theirs) is over. Expanding social circles is normal. Just as you should never expect to be your friend’s only friend, you should stay open to the possibility of meeting other awesome people!