7 Tips for Making Friends as an Adult

by Heather Rogers, Experience Life

It can be intimidating to start a friendship — especially as an adult. Here are seven tips to make it easier.

Although we are digitally connected to more and more people, our social lives are suffering. Researchers at Harvard Kennedy School found that Americans were much less likely to invite friends for a visit in 2000 than they were in 1975: The number of these visits dropped by 45 percent. Participation in clubs and civic organizations plunged by more than half during that same period.

As rewarding and comforting as face-to-face conversation can be, reaching out can be intimidating for some of us. Interacting in real time involves risks that can feel daunting.

“Really seeing someone else and who they are requires being willing to be seen yourself,” says Dallas Hartwig, the New York Times best-selling coauthor of The Whole30 and the creator of the More Social Less Media program. “And when we show ourselves, we catalyze someone else to do it. It becomes a virtuous cycle.”

7 Tips for Making Friends as an Adult

Creating opportunities for positive interactions takes practice — with people we know, as well as with strangers, Hartwig notes. He and other experts suggest trying the following strategies.

1. Don’t wait.

Invite someone you know well or want to know better for coffee, a drink, or a walk — don’t wait for a special occasion or the “right” time.

2. Make new connections.

Say hello to a stranger. A 2014 study of mass-transit commuters, published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, found that participants who interacted with their seatmates en route had a more positive experience.

3. Be a joiner.

Sign up for a class, book group, hiking club, or volunteer position. According to a research group at Harvard, joining a club improves your life expectancy on par with quitting smoking.

4. Stow your phone.

Be mindful of how the presence of a phone can influence interactions. A visible device signals that a conversation may well be interrupted and can keep topics superficial.

5. Flip the script.

Instead of the generic “How are you?” ask more-specific questions of your friends and acquaintances. Try “What’s making you happy these days?” or even “How are your kids?” People generally open up more when they’re talking about what they love.

6. Listen.

Let go of any preconceptions and be present in conversation. You know you’re listening if you can identify the other person’s feelings. This practice hones curiosity and is critical for cultivating empathy.

7. See what happens.

Go into conversations without an agenda. Just start talking and see where it leads.

This originally appeared in “Real-Life Connections” in the June 2016 issue of Experience Life.

Related at Care2

Image via Thinkstock.

75 comments

Past Member
Past Member 4 days ago

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Gino C
Gino C11 days ago

thanks for sharing

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Val P
Val P15 days ago

It's so hard to make new friends as an adult

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Sharon H
Sharon Hunt19 days ago

Useful article

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Rose P.
Past Member 21 days ago

What a great and inspiring story! I was married for seven years without any child, because of this my husband start acting strange, coming home lately and not spending time with me any more and he divorced me. So i became very sad and lost in life because my doctor told me there is no way for me to get pregnant this really make life miserable for me. until i came across a friend who told me about DR ODION from the Internet, how he has helped a lot of women with this similar problems that i am going through so i contacted him on: (drodion60@yandex.com) and explained to him. he told me all what to provide before he could cast a reunite spell to bring back my husband which i did and he sent a powerful prayer which i had to say at mid night while he cast the love spell. It was a miracle, 24 hours later my one and only husband came back to me and apologize for all he has done and told me he is fully ready to support me in any thing i want,i quickly call DR ODION and told him what was going on at that moment and he also prepared and sent me a herbal medicine which he said it will cure every unwanted diseases or infections that has been stopping me from conceiving then instructed me on how to use it before meeting with my husband. Behold after using this native herbs and root, few weeks later i started feeling pregnancy signs all over me, truly i was pregnant i just gave birth to a baby boy on the 1st of this month. I Vow to let the whole world know about DR ODION

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Martin H
Martin Habout a month ago

"Be a joiner." Like me joining The Radio City Hall Rockettes?!

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Paula A
Paula Aabout a month ago

Thanks for sharing

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Paulo Reeson
Paulo Rabout a month ago

ty

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Paula A
Paula Aabout a month ago

tyfs

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Chad A
Chad Anderson1 months ago

Thank you.

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