The art of making new friends as an adult is quite different from that when you were a youngster and connected to family, hometown, school, college, or sorority. We need friends to combat the negative effects of loneliness. Let’s talk about 4 ways to make friends as an adult.
Making Adult Friends is Hard
It is way more difficult to meet new people in a new adult situation than when we “belonged.” Our priorities may have changed. You may feel intent on making a reputation in your new role as a grown-up in an adult world. You surely do not want to bring more problems into your life; therefore, you have been reticent to make new friends. Keep reading 4 ways to make friends as an adult.
We are afraid of identifying with someone who may be difficult to separate from – someone who wants our full attention and that all too frequently. We may be on guard – and that correctly. What if the new person engages in a shady side of life? What if I am stuck with that person? Or, conversely, what if I am rejected? So many concerns accompany our desire of wanting closeness yet fearing the connection.
There are some folks who say they “never have seen a stranger.” I question that. There is at least a bit of anxiety and hesitancy in baring even a small part of our inner self to a stranger. Yet, there are many of us who think that “Strangers are just friends you haven’t met yet.”
We All Need Friends
Take a breath. It is a lonely world out there without family and friends. We all need friends. Take note as to just what you haveto bring into a relationship – romantic or not. Are you prepared to be a good friend? We are drawn to others who have similar beliefs and backgrounds to be our closest friends. Do we know ourselves well enough to choose friends? Do you need these 4 ways to make friends as an adult?
Making a new friend, sharing precious time with someone, and even accepting some responsibility for that person’s well-being in the long haul – are all components of a friendship. None of us want to abandon someone or even cause hurt feelings. Therefore, we tread lightly. But looking for perfection in a friend is a dead end. Life has some risks. Yet, a good friend is a found pearl.
How do I Make New Friends as an Adult?
You now have experience in behaving like an adult. You have made it through the awkwardness of high school, and perhaps college and grad school. Your friends were your classmates, teammates, and family friends. You learned early on how to manage to be with the group you chose – or at least tried to choose. Your acquaintances knew your friends or something about them. But now you are looking for ways to make friends as an adult.
As an adult, your choice of friends, especially in a new city, may have no connection to anyone you know, any school, or even any professional group to which you belong. Granted, it is quite daunting to extend one’s personal information in this situation.
However, we find ourselves in the position of needing to make new friends at various times in our life.
Perhaps when we first leave home and school. Perhaps when transferred to a new city. Or when we receive a promotion. When we lose a spouse or love for whatever reason. When health and income change. When we retire. These 4 ways to make friends as an adult can help in every season of life.
Learning to evaluate the new acquaintance in a respectful and accepting manner setsthe environment for a deeper relationship in the future. If you sense anything questionable that makes you uncomfortable, avoid making a connection.
Covid has complicated the ‘meet and greet’ for many around the world. Isolation, masking, and zooming have made personal interchange even more difficult for everyone. It has complicated meeting new acquaintances immensely.
Therefore, now is the time to use your ingenuity and spontaneity to make meeting new people a scintillating experience, albeit a bit frightening.
4 Ways to Make Friends as an Adult
1. Show up in places that attract the type of people with whom you wishtoidentify if you want to make new friends as an adult.
Attend concerts, ballgames, activities related to a local church, or take a lunch to the park. Just get out and mix. Try not to appear isolated or withdrawn from the world. Smile. Be courteous. Be kind. You will be noticed.
Someone with manners, who is courteous to the checkout clerk, who opens the door for others, and who appears comfortable in his own skin piques our interest. Be that someone.
Improve your posture. Walk with purpose. Breathe deeply as you visually inhale the sights and smells.
Though alone, you will soon feel the relaxation and buoyancy of spirit that comes with belonging where you are.
2. Present yourself as a positive person
Whether you are reserved or demonstrative, be positive. Speak in positive terms. There is always something good within the mix of bad reports. Be the one that sees the sun’s rays and hears the birds’ songs. Let your voice offer hope and joy amidst the cacophony of fear and hate.
People are struggling and longing for a positive leader in their lives. And that element of positivity is contagious. It spreads quickly. Be the instigator. No one needs to hear a litany of fears repeated daily. Everyone needs to hear an optimistic word and the sound of laughter.
3. Illuminating your own mind
Fortunately, in choosing new people to hang out with, we are not all drawn to the same type of person. However, most of us do choose to be with someone who is interesting and informed regarding various disciplines and can converse to some degree on several subjects.
OK – I can at least watch enough summaries of the daily news to be properly informed. In conversing, we must try not to hog the entire gabfest by continually expounding on our favorite subject matter. Save a bit for next time. Even the most informed and brilliant person must be careful not to dominate every conversation lest others run.
Show an interest in what the new acquaintance is saying.
Ask questions. Let the other person know that you find them interesting – or, if not, move graciously on.
Learn how not to overwhelm an individual or an entire group at a first meeting. Espousing all of your achievements, awards, and connections causes eyeballs to roll. Save something for the next get-together. Most people are looking for a friend who has wisdom, manners, empathy, and is kind. We may need to practice mentally coating our insecurity with these graces before we ruin our first impression. Often we are our own worst enemy.
A well-informed mind, a listening ear, and a friendly (be it outgoing or reticent) manner are noted and impressive. Be yourself. Let us each prepare to be the best self that we have to offer.
If you are radically political, i.e., single-minded, or not open to civil discussion, please refrain from boisterously presenting your views at every opportunity. You will be quickly labeled and, consequently, will miss the opportunity to make your points in a pondering-of-truths-type atmosphere at a later date.
Difficult? No, not really. For whatever reason you are seeking new friends, so make the most of it. Use these 4 ways to make friends as an adult as a starting point to move forward in forming new friendships.
Friends influence us tremendously. Choose friends of good character and those who relate kindly to others. In turn, we all need to strive to become that type of person.
4. Become Involved
We make our new adult friends by becoming involved in things that interest us. Perhaps it is by participating in sports. A great camaraderie develops when enjoying a sport. This proves to be an effective way to get our workout – while having fun with others.
Involvement in a non-profit service organization of your choice gives the opportunity to benefit those with basic needs while at the same time becoming acquainted with other volunteers who have a similar charitable heart as do you.
Working on common goals – whether it be painting an old building or developing a free medical clinic – allows friendships to grow while accomplishing the intended benefits of helping those in need.
A person who volunteers is usually upbeat, joyous, and decent. Hence, volunteering is a wonderful place to make new friends.
Your best first choice is to find a church or small group with whom to meet in order to recharge, renew, or make new your relationship with God.
Finding a group of sincere individuals with whom to share life, study the Bible, pray, encourage, and socialize – to do life with – is an important step in making trustworthy friends.
Through this relationship with God and other believers, we are strengthened and prepared for entering the world with a discerning spirit and the joy of the Lord in our hearts.
Each individual makes his/her own right relationship with God. God seals our relationship with him when we accept Jesus as our Lord through his grace and mercy.
When we trust Jesus, He becomes our constant companion and enhances every other relationship that is ours.
I would encourage you to start with a relationship with Jesus as your Lord and Savior. Build your life on that foundation of love and forgiveness, grace and mercy, hope and love. See how this priceless relationship is available to you freely by watching the video below.
May your new friends bring you much joy as your healthy relationship continues to develop. We, as adults, need friends just as we did when we were children “A friend loveth at all times.” Proverbs 17:17. I hope you make a new friend this month.