Tips for Making and Sustaining Adult Friendships

There’s a joke spreading across the Internet that’s popped up on my Facebook feed more than a few times lately. It says “No one talks about Jesus’ biggest miracle: Having 12 close friends in his 30s.” It’s humorous, but totally true: After your early 20s, making good friends just doesn’t seem to come as naturally as it used to.

Some of this is simply the result of peoples’ priorities changing. Rather than seeking emotionally close friends, people look to their partners and children for support. But having a close circle of friends can make a big difference in your quality of life, especially if you don’t live in the same region as the rest of your family. Here are some of experts’ top tips for making and keeping adult friends.

Don’t Take It Personally

First off, it’s important not to get down on yourself if you feel like you’re starting from scratch. Many adults feel like they are the only ones without friends, but actually, feeling this way is an extremely common part of modern adulthood.

“… it is common (and natural) to have friendships wither away when life transitions shift the relationship—from a geographical move to a change in job to marriage, kids, retirement, health issues, or divorce,” writes Andrea Bonior, PhD, for Psychology Today. “Many of us are bereft after a life transition—feeling ashamed of the fact that we seemingly don’t have many friends anymore—and yet it is quite a normal problem to have.”

So, if you feel like you could use some new friends, don’t allow your loneliness to deplete your self-confidence. There are plenty of people in the same boat you are in.

Stop Worrying About Age

One big difference between youth and real adulthood is that age differences become less of an issue. While the difference between 18 and 20 was very pronounced, there’s little difference at all between 43 and 50 — and that means that your potential pool of friends gets vastly wider. Even people with decades between them can be good friends.

Get Involved in Your Community

One of the best ways to connect with people of all ages is to get involved in your community. From religious functions to local politics to town government and volunteer work, the opportunities to meet others who are passionate and interesting is infinite.

Use Your Pets and Kids

Parents (of human and furry children alike!) have a leg up on others when it comes to making friends because they have immediate connections with other parents and pet owners. Take your dog to the dog park, go to a local play group or start a meet-up for cat lovers in your area.

Host Get-Togethers

After you’ve started meeting new people, it’s time to take your potential friendships to the next level — and that means actually spending time together. It can be nerve-wracking to invite a new friend out for coffee one on one, but it’s much less difficult to simply host a party or get-together. This will keep the pressure on the situation low, as there will be plenty of guests to diffuse any tension, and lots of people to talk to.

Be Vulnerable

Finally, once you’ve met new people, the only way to move from small talk to real connections is to be vulnerable. It’s important to make an effort to tell people your story. Talk about your past, your ideas, your point of view… Avoid unloading on people, but open up to those who have started to become friends. Being vulnerable in this way is the only way to take an acquaintance and turn them into a lifelong friend.

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81 comments

Olga Nycz-Shirley
Olga Nabout a month ago

TY

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Thomas M
Thomas M1 months ago

thank you

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Paulo R
Paulo R1 months ago

ty

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Latoya B
Latoya Brookins2 months ago

Tip 1: remind myself I'm an adult

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Bill E
Bill E2 months ago

All good suggestions.

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Graham P
Graham P2 months ago

Good post, Thanks can relate to it.

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Toni W
Toni W2 months ago

TYFS

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Toni W
Toni W2 months ago

TYFS

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Leo C
Leo C2 months ago

Thank you for posting!

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Jessica K
Jessica K2 months ago

Yes, to make new friends it's good to get out of your comfort zone. Thanks.

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