It can be difficult to make friends as an adult. But it's not impossible. While it was once easier to build friendships, as you spent your days in school and playing sports with different people all the time, it just requires a little more effort to put yourself out there and meet new people as an adult.
Here's why and how to make friends at this stage in your life.
Making friends is important as an adult because you need a support network of people to help you through anything that life might throw at you. As an adult, you have a number of potential stresses: work, family, money, etc.
With a support network on which you can depend and lean, you'll have a sounding board to help you cope with all of the stresses that come with adulthood — and you'll have a lot more fun doing it!
The first place you can look to find friends is obvious: your workplace. After all, you already spend a good chunk of your time at the office with these people. So take advantage of company events, especially if you’ve been feeling like your social life is lacking. Make it a point to network around the office and get to know your coworkers while you're at work, so you won't feel as uncomfortable showing up to company outings outside of the office.
Coworkers will quickly become, at the very least, peers and contacts with whom you can talk about work-life and, oftentimes, life outside of work. And sometimes, you’ll even meet more even more people through your work friends. This is because they may end up bringing other outside friends to tag along to company outings and coworker happy hours, too.
If you don't know where to look for likeminded people, Meetup is a good place to start. Meetup is a website with a corresponding app that, in short, brings people with common interests together. It’s tagline: “What do you love? Do more of it with Meetup.” Basically, it exists in order to bring people together in thousands of cities all across the globe because, “when we get together and do the things that matter to us, we’re at our best.”
Therefore, Meetup gathers groups to do, explore, teach and learn different things — people's passions and hobbies. You can check out out all types of get-togethers across an expansive array of categories: outdoors and adventures, technology, sports and fitness, photography, food and drink, language and culture, music, film, dance, book clubs and more. Then discover local meetups or, if you’ve got an idea for something you don’t already see on the platform, you can go ahead and create your own meetup.
Join a social program in your neighborhood. This can be anything from a monthly PTA meeting at the school to a weekly yoga class.
In fact, sports, in particular, can really help bond you with others make sports require teamwork. Most major cities and surrounding areas have access to club teams, which range from super-competitive teams to those that are totally just for leisure. Think: football, soccer, kickball, corn hole, skee-ball, drinking games in sports bars and more.
Zog Sports, for one example, operates in Atlanta, Los Angeles, New Jersey, New York, San Francisco and Washington DC, and boasts 100,000 participants. Sports with this company range from bowling to bubbleball, but be sure to check out all of the options in your neighborhood.
There are tons of apps to help you connect with new people, and that doesn't mean that you have to go on some dating app and hope for the best. There are apps that are explicitly for making new, platonic friends. Here are just a handful of apps to help you make new friends:
Use your social circle to connect with friends of friends on social media platforms, such as Facebook and Instagram. Reach out to people to keep in touch with them — you never know who may actually live in your area these days, too. After all, social networks are designed for social networking.
Plus, through Facebook, you can use the “Explore” tab to find “Nearby Places” and events in your area that will indubitably help you meet people with common interests.
Consider donating your time and, in the process, hopefully meeting some new people with shared passions. Check out websites like VolunteerMatch.com or search local nonprofits in your new city and reach out to them to inquire about potential volunteering opportunities.
You can get involved with anything from farming to administrative work to helping the homeless to assisting seniors in retirement homes. Whatever you choose, you’re likely to meet people with similar beliefs as you, since they’re spending their free time doing something charitable just like you.
When in doubt, hit the gym. It'll not only be good for you to get active and keep your endorphins up (which should ease up some of the stresses of loneliness), but you may also meet some people there. Of course, it's not so easy (or necessarily ideal) to waltz up to just anyone in the gym and start talking to them while they're working out. But you can certainly take classes and get there early enough to chat up the others.
Making lasting friendships as an adult isn't necessarily as easy as it once was. But there are certainly ways to put yourself out there and get to know more people around you!
AnnaMarie Houlis is a feminist, a freelance journalist and an adventure aficionado with an affinity for impulsive solo travel. She spends her days writing about women’s empowerment from around the world. You can follow her work on her blog, HerReport.org, and follow her journeys on Instagram @her_report, Twitter @herreportand Facebook.
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