Wellbeing

10 Ways To Make New Friends As An Adult That Aren’t Terrifying

We often find our circle of friends beginning to shrink as we transition into adulthood. Even though it’s pretty normal to go through this phase, it can still feel lonely and awkward when you have no one to hang out with on a Saturday night.

And you’re not just imagining it – making friends as an adult is a hell of a lot harder than when you were a kid. Studies show this can be broken down to a few key factors: firstly, we have less time to pursue friendships these days; secondly, it’s tougher to find people with similar interests because we no longer have places like school or university to go to to meet new people; and lastly, we’re not as outgoing as we used to be.

Think about it: most children have absolutely no trouble walking up to a classmate and asking to be friends. For adults, the crushing weight of humanity has rendered us incapable of feeling comfortable doing that to someone, say, on the morning commute.

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The struggle is real.

So how do we make friends as adults? Well try these tips on for size.

#1 Actually go

You clicked ‘attending’ so how about actually rocking up? Apparently, we’ve become a generation of flakes, and it boils down to one thing: our phones. Being able to hide behind a screen and politely send a last minute apology for not showing up – it’s all way too easy these days. But you know the best way to meet new people? It’s actually getting out there and committing to things you say you’ll be going to.

#2 Seek passions, not people

Like in romantic relationships, don’t chase someone – if you do you might be pinning them as a prize to be won, which is pretty detrimental to the whole “friendly relationship” thing you set out to do. Instead of chasing people, chase your passions and the friends will organically follow.

If you’re into board games and drinking, go to a board game cafe. If you like answering questions about the current political climate interspersed between Simpsons quotes, try trivia. If you like making things up as you go along, give improv a go. Figure out the things that you like and get out there and do them – if friendship is the ultimate end game then it’s bound to happen naturally.

#3 Ask for an intro

You shouldn’t feel shame for asking for help – it’s only natural. This tip is all about using your mutual friends to your advantage: ask a bunch of friends who they think you would get along with ask to be invited along to something they’re all at. It might sound brash, but if you’re looking to expand your social circles, what have you got to lose?

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#4 Be social

When it comes to turning online friends into IRL friends, it’s a lot easier than it sounds. Find people you wouldn’t mind hanging out with in real life and simply become more of an active presence in their online lives – like their updates, comment on their stories, chat over Messenger – of course, don’t go overboard. There’s no need to turn this into an all out stalk-fest (refer to point #2), just a friendly reminder that you exist in each other’s lives.

Once you start chatting that might inevitably lead to a face-to-face hang and maybe even blossom into a full blown friendship.

#5 Puppy dates!

If you’ve got a dog, use that bad boy. Head to the dog park and start up a conversation – at least you know you have one thing in common, right?

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Dogs, the ultimate wingmen.

#6 Participate

There’s no point complaining about not meeting new people when you’re not shaking up your regular routine. So sign up for that cooking class/dance workshop/basketball team at the local sports centre and start hanging out with like-minded individuals in your free time.

#7 Travel

Making new friends while travelling is a lot like school – you’re almost forced to interact to survive. Finding your people on the road is a real thing, and it’s often serendipitous and wonderful. And it’s true what they say about travel – it’ll definitely make you realise that it’s a small world after all (meeting another Aussie in a hostel in Croatia, only to realise they go to the same uni as you and live right down the road from you – magic like this happens everyday).

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Even if they don’t live in your home city, at least you know you’ve got somewhere to crash if you’re ever in Vancouver or Sao Paolo.

#8 Meet up

Literally, MeetUp. This online tool helps you meet people in your area with similar interests – anything from cycling enthusiasts, weekend brunch addicts, or even just people who like to kick back at the bar each weekend – whoever your people are, you’ll find them here in droves.

#9 Tinder for your #squad

Expanding your existing group of mates is a mighty big conundrum for people our age, but luckily now there’s Mashay. This social networking app helps you and your friends meet another squad; their goal is to connect likeminded mates in a close vicinity, in an effort to expand comfort zones and friendship groups. It’s about camaraderie, spontaneity and new experiences. Check out our profile on Mashay here.

#10 Work at it

Probably the most important takeaway about making new friends is to make sure you follow up. It’s all good and well that you’ve exchanged details/added each other on Facebook, but when it comes down to it, someone has to make the first move and it might as well be you.

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Send them a friendly message, follow up on that thing you were talking about (going to that art exhibition/gig/movie screening/burger marathon, whatever) and actually make plans to do it. Making friends is just as simple as keeping the communication going, really.


Rebecca Russo is a freelance writer, editor, community radio dabbler, occasional hiker and celebrity autobiography enthusiast. She has written for online publications including Junkee, AWOL, Fashion Journal and Tone Deaf. Find her online here.