4 Tips for Making Friends as an Adult
By Sorcha Dunne | @sorchateresadunne
No matter what age you are, making friends can be an unnerving experience and the older we get, the more difficult it can become. This is usually because of the build-up of responsibilities that come with adulthood, such as jobs, looking after elderly family members, childcare, and even regular tasks like keeping up with the housework! But, don’t fret, it is definitely possible to make new friends and here are four pieces of advice to get you started.
1. Deepen your casual connections
If we think about it, we all have acquaintances in our lives that we feel have the potential to be closer friends. Whether this is a work colleague or a friend of a friend, taking the leap to nurture these relationships could be your path to finding a new BFF. One way of deepening that sense of connection is by opening up about different parts of your life. For example, you could talk about what you like to do in your free time, some of your current life goals etc. and see if you have similar hobbies you could share. When speaking with others, remember to not only talk about yourself, but to ask them questions too. In the words of Dale Carnegie, “to be interesting, be interested”.
2. Let go of friendships that no longer serve you
One barrier to cultivating meaningful friendships can be your current circle. Often as we get older we outgrow our circles, and that is ok too! We aren’t meant to hold on to every connection we make in our life. By allowing yourself to drift away from these kinds of friendships, you create more space to welcome in friendships which you really need and value. Who you surround yourself with influences your thoughts, behaviours, and actions. In fact, scientific studies have shown that you are the grand sum of the five people you spend the most time with! So, if you surround yourself with people who aren’t helping you grow and flourish into the person you want to be – this is your sign to make some changes!
3. Find online and offline communities
Whether you’ve just moved to a new city, are a new mum seeking support or are looking to connect with people who share a similar hobby, there’s a whole community waiting for you! Some great online communities to meet new people include Meetup.com, Bumble BFF, and BFFinder. Make sure to join a group you are passionate about since the others who attend will most likely share that interest. There are also wonderful outdoor groups which might be less intimidating than meeting in a cafe such as Galz Gone Wild or Salty Sea Sisters. If joining a specific club is too nerve-wracking for you, volunteering might be a better choice since you’re attending for another purpose besides meeting people. There are lots of local charities you can volunteer with and you’ll start to see familiar faces there who you can connect with further.
4. Realise that you are not alone
And last but not least, realise that you are not the only one. It is very common to have trouble making friends particularly as an adult and it’s something that we are all either currently dealing with or have dealt with in the past. If you have tried the above tips and are still struggling (or the thought of trying them makes you feel anxious), it might be a good idea to reach out to a therapist or local service such as Lets Get Talking Galway. They can help pinpoint any obstacles that may be worsening your struggles and help you develop techniques so that you can start making new friends in a supportive environment.