May 27, 2021
Wanting to make friends as an adult is such a common desire that most of us have, yet no one really talks about it. I think that we place undue pressure on ourselves thinking we should have as many friends and connections as we did in high school or college. But gone are the days when all of your close friends lived nearby, and the responsibilities of adulthood were too far off to be concerned about. Adulting begins, and slowly, either due to work schedules, moving, family or even personal growth, we start to lose touch with most of those people. Yes, we still have those few close friendships that neither time nor distance can diminish, but we find ourselves looking for those day-to-day friends that we can reach out to for support and connection.
Friendship is a unique type of connection. Friends bring excitement, fun, and interest into our lives. They broaden our perspectives, teach us new things, and share our interests. Most importantly, genuine friends show up for each other. Studies have shown that having a sense of connectedness to a group can help you to feel happier – and it also acts as a deterrent for both mental and physical health problems (Bolger, Zuckerman & Kessler, 2000.) Especially after COVID, one thing we hear often from the community is that people are looking to meet new people, and forming new friendships.
Making friends as an adult is hard, most of us don’t even know where to get started. We have a few suggestions…
- Think about when you felt most connected to a group. Was it a sports team back in school, was it a drama club or a science group, maybe it was a political science club or a church group? These insights might help point you in the right direction.
- Think about where you would like to make new connections. Where is your life headed now? What interests do you hold that you would like to share with others? Start small. Start by reaching out to one acquaintance that you would like to get to know more. I know it can seem like you are asking them out on a date, but they might just be looking to make a new friend too.
- Think about signing up for a class, joining a club, volunteering for a non-profit, or going to an event.
- Join a book club. Reading for fun can be fulfilling, but reading and discussing with a group can be more impactful. Why? Because while the words of the book are the same, the way that people relate to it are different. Book clubs bring together people with individual experiences, this creates a rich discussion with unique perspectives. Points brought up by different members of the group will further a deeper understanding of what you have read, allowing for the lessons within the book to stick with you. Those in the book club grow and learn from their shared journey in reading the book. Book clubs can be made fun by making it a potluck, sharing wine or a spritzer, or planning to go out to dinner after.
- Sign up for a class. Think about what you are interested in, maybe it’s learning a new language before a trip, maybe it is pottery or calligraphy, maybe you want to learn a new skill. By investing in yourself this way, you are not only putting yourself into a position to meet other people with similar interests as you, but you are giving yourself permission to pursue a passion you might have set aside. No more needing to make a certain grade to pass, you can be present with only the pure pleasure of learning.
- Attend an event or a workshop. Similar to signing up for a class, a workshop or an event can be less of a commitment but still give you the opportunity to meet others with similar interests. The events that we are hosting at The Happy Hour can be a chance to meet someone who is also interested in investing in their mental wellness. Maybe you can see if they want to be a buddy that goes to weekly classes with you.
Like with anything, the hardest step is the first one: starting the conversation. We suggest being kind to yourself and switching up your inner narrative. Chances are, others want to reach out too, but just aren’t sure how. Remember, a lot more people are looking for connections than you think!
Looking to connect with like-minded people? Check out our Events page!