I’ll say it. Making friends can be incredibly daunting, no matter what age you are. But the older we get, the more difficult it becomes. And now we have the added barrier of social distancing, while relaxed now there is still that mentality that if you don't know the person then you are keeping your distance. I have scoured the internet for what I think are the top 5 tips to make and keep friends as an adult. I have taken from multiple articles so I will try and tag each of the articles at the end of this post.
My Personal Journey
I had the toughest time making friends as a kid because I was bullied quite a bit as a kid. Now as an adult I still have that mentality of that bullied little girl who just wanted to make friends and that makes it really hard for me to make friends. Along with that having social anxiety also makes it really hard for me to talk to new people which makes it hard for me to make friends. My friend group consists of only a handful of people and most of those are people that I have known since school and that I gained in my later years of high school. I am very much an introvert and I tend to stay home more than go out so that makes it even more difficult. I have online friends for sure but I have never met them face to face. With covid, I was very much a hermit for most of 2020 so that limited my exposure to everyone and I am still trying to get out of that mentality, like everyone else I think.
I am hoping that this post will give you some on how you can expand your friend group or even make some of those casual friends into a deeper connection.
1. Deepen your casual connections.
We all have workplace acquaintances that we know deep down could be something more. Dr. Kirmayer suggests taking the leap to growing those relationships. Find a common denominator you can bond over, like a shared hobby or interest! You don’t have to talk about work. “Making an effort to gradually open up about different parts of your life, that can help to deepen that sense of connection,” said Kirmayer. Talk about your life, what you like to do in your free time, etc. Perhaps set up a Zoom coffee chat with your fave colleague or schedule a hangout with the neighbor you always joke with in the hallway.
2. Use friendship apps. Seriously!
You already use Tinder, what’s one more app? With social-distancing and stay-at-home orders, apps are a great way to meet people. Dr. Kirmayer recommends Bumble BFF, VINA, and Peanut (specifically for new moms). There are also apps and sites where you can connect with people who share a similar hobby. Dr. Kirmayer notes her clients have seen a lot of success with Meet Up, where you can post events for people to join. Apps are a great alternative to meeting in person and more convenient since you can do it all from the comfort of your own home!
3. Leverage your current social network for introductions
Look to your current social network to see where you might be able to connect with people. Chances are, there’s a friend of a friend who is also in your exact same situation.
4. Find a way to meet people who share the same interests or hobbies.
Joining a sports team, book club, or some other hobby group might seem like cliché advice, but there’s a reason it’s so often repeated. “One big part of making friends is putting yourself out there, and the other part is finding people who are open to being your friend,” Marisa G. Franco, PhD, a psychology professor at the University of Maryland and author of Platonic: How the Science of Attachment Can Help You Make—and Keep—Friends, tells SELF. “When other people are pursuing a hobby in a group, they’re likely also doing it for social reasons, because they’re choosing not to do it alone.” In other words, joining a like-minded group allows you to surround yourself with people who are into the same thing(s) as you and are also looking for friendship, increasing your chances of making a match. Beyond having access to other people with shared interests who are likely open to striking up a conversation with a stranger, these types of groups provide another key to friendship-building: regular exposure. “If you want to make friends, don’t just go to a one-off event, but choose something that’s repeated over time because then you can capitalize on the mere exposure effect, which is our unconscious tendency to like people simply because they’re familiar to us,” Dr. Franco says. “If you sign up for something regular, it gives you an infrastructure, so you’re not having to reach out all the time, but you still have regular exposure to potential friends.”
5. Focus on Being Open
Don't overthink the process of making friends. Instead of worrying about being rejected, or dwelling on the fact that you might not be fun enough, channel your inner child. Be open to meeting new people and having new experiences. Don't assume that all your future friends have to be of the same gender, age, or ethnic background as you. Instead, be open and inviting, and see what happens when you expand your horizons.
There are many more articles out there that you can read but these 4 are where I got my information. For this reason (there are so many articles out there) I decided to do what I think are the top 5 and then let you do more reading on your own. Some articles are going to work for you and others aren't. Find what works for you.